Have mercy, Surigao gov asks

SURIGAO del Norte Gov. Ace Barbers yesterday wrote and appealed to the Emir of Kuwait to spare the life of Filipino overseas worker Marilou Ranario who was sentenced to death by the Court of Appeals of Kuwait last February for allegedly killing her employer in January 2005.

Barbers, a former congressman of Surigao del Norte, sent a personal letter of appeal to the Emir of Kuwait to pardon Ranario, a native of Tubod, Surigao del Norte, on humanitarian grounds.

He said Ranario is a school teacher in the Philippines but was forced to work as a domestic helper in Kuwait because of poverty.

Ranario, 35, has two very young children while her husband is a jeepney driver with no regular income. Ranario is the only hope of her family, Barbers said in his letter.

Earlier, Barbers wrote to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo asking for all possible assistance for Ranario, including legal, to ensure a strong representation for her appeal in the Supreme Court of Kuwait.

Different religious denominations in Surigao, led by Catholic Bishop Antonieto Cabajog, Aglipayan Bishop Rhee Timbang, Protestant Minister Jovenal Bagdol and Abdulmalik Sultan of the Surigao Muslim Association have made an ecumenical call to the government to save the lives of Ranario and other OFWs in death row in several countries.

The family of Ranario and her employer, including Barbers, hoped that their “letter of forgiveness” would help in overturning the Kuwait Appeals Court decision and the granting of pardon by the emir.

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