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Kuwaiti supreme court confirms Filipina's death sentence

KUWAIT CITY -- (UPDATE 3) Kuwait's supreme court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentence handed down on a Filipina maid convicted of murdering her employer.

“Sad news,” was how Vice President Noli de Castro prefaced his announcement at a press conference in Manila of the decision by the Cassation Court to uphold the ruling against Marilou Ranario.

“It appears that the 11-member Court of Cassation did not accept the doubtful aspects of the case as presented by Ranario's panel of five lawyers,” he said in Filipino.

The court ruling is final and cannot be appealed. Her fate is now in the hands of the ruler of the oil-rich emirate, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who will decide whether or not to sign the order for Ranario to be hanged.

Ranario was sentenced to death in September 2005 for killing her 46-year-old female employer, Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak, over salary disputes and maltreatment.

De Castro said he would go to Kuwait shortly to deliver President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s personal appeal to the Kuwaiti ruler.

“If we need to kneel before the emir, we will do so in exchange for Ranario's life,” said De Castro, who described the emir as someone who is “close to Filipinos.”

Manila would seek "a full pardon, or if that is not possible, a commutation of the sentence," De Castro said.

At the same time, he said four of the five relatives of the victim have given their forgiveness (tanazul) and accepted the “blood money” (dia). Under Islamic law, a killer can pay “blood money” to the victim’s family to avoid execution.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said the “blood money” already given to the victim's relatives were donated by “kind-hearted” Filipinos. He refused to divulge the amount.

If the Philippine appeal fails, Ranario will be executed within four to five months, De Castro said, quoting Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya.

Ranario, a teacher who left her two children (ages 11 and 13) in Surigao Del Norte in December 2003 to work as a domestic helper in Kuwait, alleged that her boss insulted her and people from the Philippines.

Some 73,000 Filipinos, mainly 60,000 women employed mostly as maids, work in the Gulf state.



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