By Genalyn Kabiling
A total deployment ban of workers to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would have been enforced if it pushed through with the execution of Filipino worker Jennifer Dalquez, President Duterte revealed Tuesday.
In a Cabinet meeting held in Malacañang, the President admitted issuing such threat when he learned about the case of Dalquez.
Dalquez has recently been saved from the death row after being acquitted of killing her employer. She returned to the country last November 2 after spending nearly four years in prison. She had an emotional meeting with the President at the Palace last Tuesday.
“Kaka-release lang nung babae doon sa — Maguindanao ‘yun. She’s a Maguindanao lady. Before coming here, nag-usap kami kasi she was spared,” Duterte said during the cabinet assembly where he gave a lecture on illegal drugs and militarization.
“Sabi ko kasi, ‘P******* i** bitayin ninyo ‘yan,’ sabihin ko sa inyo, I will immediately order the suspension of the employment,” he added.
The President then asked Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who was present in the Cabinet meeting, to inform the public about the case of Dalquez.
Bello confirmed that the President wanted to declare a total deployment ban if Dalquez was executed. The labor chief said he and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration head Hans Leo Cacdac traveled to Abu Dhabi to relay the President’s sentiments to the concerned government officials there.
“I said, ‘the President respects your justice system but the President feels that if you hang his countrymen, then he will declare a total deployment ban for the entire United Arab Emirates,'” Bello said.
“So after that, Mr. President, two months after, we learned na kinomute (commute) ‘yung sentence niya of death to only three years. Eh hindi pa nase-serve ‘yung three years, pinalaya na siya,” he aded.
Dalquez, a household service worker, was sentenced to death for killing her employer in 2014. She claimed she acted in self-defense when her employer tried to rape her. The Court of Appeals acquitted Dalquez of murder in 2017.
When Duterte asked if the UAE was inviting him to visit, Bello acknowledged there was such an invitation. Duterte did not say if he will accept the invitation.
Duterte, who has vowed to protect Filipinos here and abroad, instead claimed that nothing would happen if he did not use profanity.
“What I’m trying to say is kung hindi ka mag-p****** i**, walang mangyari talaga sa bayan na ito. Sa totoo lang. If you cannot say f*** you g******* you better behave,” he said.