Filipino on Malaysia death row for drugs may get pardon or commutation
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—A Filipino on Malaysian death row for drug trafficking in 2008 could get another shot at life with a commuted sentence, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said Monday.
Salazar said the renewed hope that Jerry Quijano, a native of Barangay Tetuan, would be spared the gallows came after Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Jesus Yabes of the Migrant Workers Affairs Office has informed the city government that the convict’s case “has been brought to the Sabah State Pardon Board for possible commutation of his death sentence or grant of pardon.”
“According to the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the Sabah State Pardon Board is set to convene this month and may take up the appeal of Quijano for clemency,” Salazar said.
Quijano, currently detained at the Penjara Kapayan Jail in Kota Kinabalu, was sentenced to death by hanging on September 3, 2010 after he was found guilty of trying to smuggle into Kota Kinabalu nearly a kilo of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in 2008.
Quijano’s 78-year old mother had urged President Aquino in May to also come to the rescue of her son as he did to Mary Jane Veloso, who was convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia.
Veloso’s death by firing squad had been put on hold pending the resolution of the charges against her recruiters.
Teresita said like Veloso, her son was not aware that the package he was asked to deliver to Sabah contained illegal substance.
“He was just told to deliver a package, if he knew it contained drugs, he would never bring it,” she said.
Salazar said hopes were also high for two other Zamboangueños, who have been sentenced to death in Malaysia.
She said as in the case of Quijano, the city government has been following up the case of couple Timhar and Nurie Ong.
The couple was arrested in a Kota Kinabalu hotel on August 11, 2005, for possession of some 336 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride. They were sentenced to death in September 2006 and were awaiting execution.
“We hope to make follow-up so that the governor (of Sabah) will also consider the case of the Ongs in the spirit of Ramadan,” Salazar said.
Chazee Ong, the 21-year-old daughter of the couple, said she was appealing to the national government to also make the case of her parents a priority.
“Please help us Mr. President, even if their sentence will only be commuted,” she said.
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