Filipina maid convicted of killing employer has death sentence reduced by Al Ain court
AL AIN // A Filipina maid who was handed the death penalty after being convicted of killing her Emirati employer in December 2014 has had her sentence reduced to five years in prison by an Al Ain court.
Jennifer Dalquez, 30, from General Santos City in the southern Philippines, was sentenced to death in May 2015 for stabbing her employer. The woman claimed she was acting in self-defence after the man tried to rape her on December 7, 2014.
On Monday, the Al Ain Appeals Court acquitted her of murder. However, she was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing her employer’s mobile phone. She is expected to be released after 15 months due to time already served.
“This is good news, especially for her family, who were able to visit her twice,” Constancio Vingno Jr, Philippine ambassador to the UAE, said Tuesday.
Dalquez’ parents were not present when the verdict was issued. However, they were informed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.
“Justice has been served,” said Mr Vingno, who met the mother-of-two in prison on February 8. “We have abided by the rule of law of the UAE. We followed all the procedures, in the same way that we expect how our judicial system should work. And in this particular case, the system works.”
In January 2015, the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi provided Dalquez with a defence lawyer to appeal against her sentence. Overseas Filipino workers who find themselves on the wrong side of the law are helped through their government’s legal assistance fund.
The maid has been behind bars while her case was being heard. She had worked in the UAE since 2011 and was due to return home in January 2015.
“Migrante UAE joins the Filipino community around the world in rejoicing following Jennifer Dalquez’s aquittal,” said Nhel Morona, country coordinator of Migrante Middle East, an international migrant rights group. “We would like to thank the UAE Government, through its judiciary, for sparing her the death penalty.
“Her victory is the victory of all Filipino migrants and their families. We hope Mary Jane Veloso, who is also facing the death row in Indonesia, will share the same fate.”
Veloso is a Filipina drug convict facing execution in Indonesia. Her case sparked international attention towards Indonesia’s capital punishment and drug prohibition laws.
In April 2015, she was granted a last-minute reprieve after her alleged recruiters surrendered.
Updated: June 20, 2017 04:00 AM