Duterte to seek pardon for OFWs in meeting with Qatar’s Emir

April 16, 2017 - 7:17 AM
The Filipino community in Qatar gathers at a stadium for an audience with President Duterte in this April 2017 file photo by JV Arcena, News5.
DOHA – President Rodrigo Duterte will seek pardon for three convicted Filipinos when he meets the Emir of Qatar later on Sunday, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Bello, who is traveling with the President on a three-country Middle East swing that ends in Qatar, said the three Filipinos were earlier convicted of espionage and sentenced to die. 
The judgment on one of them was later commuted by a Doha court to life imprisonment; and to 15 years’ imprisonment for the other two.
Bello said he learned that pardon was likely to be given only to two of the three convicts.
Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Alan Timbayan earlier said the appeal for a pardon by the Emir will be made even after the reduction of the court sentences handed to the three Filipinos. 
He identified the three convicted Filipinos as a certain Chua Tan, a certain “Ulep” and a certain “Alamarez”. 
Chua Tan was sentenced to death for espionage, but the Qatari court lowered his sentence to life imprisonment. 
The three Filipinos were reportedly convicted of passing Qatar military and economic secrets back to the Philippine government.  The three men have been detained since 2010 and were convicted in 2014.
“We are hopeful that during the visit of the President, we will also request the (pardon),” Timbayan said in an earlier media interview at the Philippine embassy here. 
The President is already aware of the cases as the Department of Foreign Affairs has already informed the President about the cases of the three Filipinos in jail.
Timbayan noted that the embassy has already requested for the pardon by the Emir through a note verbale to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“We hope, we are looking forward that they will consider our appeal for pardon for these persons,” Timbayan added.
Emir eager to meet Duterte
Timbayan said the Emir Sheik Tamim al-Thani had earlier expressed enthusiasm for his scheduled bilateral meeting with President Duterte. 
The President was also set to meet separately Sunday with businessmen and OFWs in Qatar.
Meanwhile, the labor ministry of Qatar has given clearance to 86 undocumented and abused OFWs in Qatar to fly home, Bello said.
Before Qatar, Duterte and his party had gone to Saudi Arabia, which hosts a million Filipinos, and to Bahrain. There are an estimated 200,000 Filipinos in Qatar.