Pardon possible for 2 of 3 jailed OFWs in Qatar, says Bello
Pardon may be possible for only two of the three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) serving prison sentences in Qatar, Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III said Sunday.
President Rodrigo Duterte will be appealing for the pardon and release of all three of these OFWs when he meets with Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the country's highest official, on Sunday afternoon, Bello said.
But, he added: "Pero depende kasi sa nature nu'ng offense for which they were convicted. Ang tingin namin, ang posible, 'yung dalawa lang ang mabibigyan ng pardon."
The OFWs were earlier identified as Chua Tan, an employee of a Qatari state-owned company, and "Ulep" and "Almarez," who were technicians in the Qatari Air Force.
The three of them have been detained since 2010.
Bello refused to identify which among them will likely be granted pardon, but he noted: "The pardon is more probable doon sa dalawang convicted with a lighter offense."
The said OFWs were convicted of espionage and economic sabotage, after being accused of "taking pictures" of Qatar's military installations and passing on the country's military and economic secrets to the Philippine government.
They were originally sentenced to death, but this was reduced to imprisonment, after an appeal from the Aquino administration.
Chua's sentence was downgraded to life imprisonment, while the other two are now facing 15 years in jail.
Manila has already denied spying on Qatar. — BM, GMA News