Friday, August 14, 2015

Pinoys seek justice for Filipina imprisoned in Spain


Filipinos sign the campaign to shorten the prison term of Emilia Dueñas
SPAIN – The Filipino community in Barcelona is rallying behind the family of a Filipina imprisoned for drug trafficking.
Emilia Dueñas was sentenced to three years and six months in prison in Barcelona for drug possession and trafficking.
In an interview with Balitang Global, Dueñas' husband Meynardo Ramirez said that in 2013, police searched their flat for drugs while nobody was home. The police took their jewelry, passports, bank books, cellphones, 10,000 euros that they saved, and laptops including those of their bedspacers.
"May pinapanhik pa silang aso. Wala. Wala silang nakuha. Betsin po ang kinuha nila. Tapos may aso pa nga pong pinapanhik para sila’y makasigurado, lahat, wala, yun nga po, betsin ang kanilang dinala at sabi iyun daw," said Ramirez.
Ramirez recounted that when they arrived home, he and his wife were immediately arrested. He was later on acquitted but his wife was sentenced last year.
They filed an appeal but it was denied and she was eventually sent to Wad-Ras prison in Barcelona last month.
Ramirez said he and his wife make an honest living. He works as chief cook in a restaurant while his wife works as a factory worker of a grocery chain.
He suspects that the police were wrongly informed about the address of the drug traffickers. Instead of searching a nearby building where there were alleged drug traffickers, the police raided their flat.
Their former lawyer also promised that there was an 80% chance that they would win the case but Ramirez thinks that the lawyer did not defend them well.
"Bakit siya (abogado) nagpabaya…komo kami ay extranjero (foreigner) at sila naman komo ay taga rito, bakit naman kami pinabayaan? Hindi naman ako maghahabol kung yun ay tunay. Naaawa ako sa asawa ko. Alam ng Diyos yan na wala kang kasalanan," Ramirez said.
The Filipino Personal Parish and other Filipino groups launched a signature campaign to help Emilia Dueñas' case
KABAYANS HELP
Meanwhile, Filipino associations, the Filipino Personal Parish, and companies have started to collect signatures in the hopes of shortening Dueñas' prison sentence.
Centro Filipino-Tuluyan San Benito volunteers placed a small table outside the San Agustin church in Barcelona where they explain about the campaign and ask for signatures from Filipinos who attend the Sunday Mass at the Filipino Personal Parish.
Organization coordinator Miguel Doctama said signatures from Filipinos would definitely help.
"Para mapagaan ang sentensya. Una, signature campaign, sulat ng presidente ng Centro Filipino, sulat ng pari ng parokya natin dito (at) pirma ng asawa na nagpapatunay na siya’y walang kasalanan. Marami po yun, mga anim na pamamaraan," Doctama said.
Doctama cited the case of Filipino-Spanish "Crisanto," who was accused of setting a homeless indigent on fire years ago. He said the signature campaign organized by the Filipino community contributed in his acquittal.
Relatives of Dueñas also asked for signatures in places frequented by Filipinos like remittance centers.
Metrobank Remittance Center manager Vilma Grace Miguel also supports the signature drive.
"Kawawa naman ang isang tao napapagbintangan ng isang bagay na hindi mo naman talaga ginawa. Naniniwala tayo na dito sa Barcelona, meron na talagang nangyayaring hindi kanais-nais at nai-involve talaga sa droga. Pero sa parte ko, naniniwala ako at na sana siya’y mapababaan ng kanyang sentensya kaya kami’y nakikiisa," said Miguel.
Ramirez is also asking President Benigno Aquino III or any Philippine government agency that can help them achieve justice.

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