Abella clarifies Duterte’s vow to bring home pardoned Pinoys
RIYADH — Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it would not be possible for President Duterte to appeal for clemency on behalf of Filipinos on death row here at the moment.
“The process has not yet reached the level of the king (it is still in the courts and judgments are not final yet), in which case, there is no place for us to be asking for this thing so let us wait for the process regarding death row issues,” he said.
Duterte, he said, would only be able to seek clemency if the decisions on their cases had become final already.
“Like I said, it is not the time and place to discuss the matter, only when it has reached the king,” he said.
However, Abella said in the case of Filipinos who availed themselves of the amnesty the Saudi government has offered to illegal migrants, the President would “like to bring them home.”
On March 29, the Saudi government said it will allow illegal migrants here to process their travel documents.
“He did made mention that he would like or he likes to bring home those who take advantage of the amnesty program regarding violations of immigration rules,” he said.
Abella said it was more likely that the government will spend for the airfare of those who will be flying home.
At least 5,000 Filipinos were expected to take advantage of the amnesty program, according to Philippine Embassy officials.
In Riyadh, Abella declined to confirm that the Abu Sayyaf was indeed behind the Bohol incident.
“We still have to further clarify the identity of those behind the attack. We’ll wait for Secretary (Hermogenes) Esperon and Defense Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana,” he said.
But Abella said terrorism in the Philippines, involving the Abu Sayyaf and other extremist groups, was on the President’s agenda during his meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Deputy Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman.
The Abu Sayyaf is being linked with the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiya while the Maute group and the Ansar al-Khilafa were reportedly courting the support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The meeting was to take place 1:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. Manila) at the Royal Palace here.
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