Amir Of Kuwait Pardons OFW From Death Row

An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Kuwait, who was sentenced to death in 2008 for killing his Filipina partner, is now a free man and has returned home after receiving clemency from the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Bienvenido Espino left Kuwait on Aug. 30 for the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

He was sent off by Philippine Embassy in Kuwait Chargé d’Affaires and Consul General Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot. Espino was detained for 13 years at the Sulaibiya Central Jail. He was granted pardon 12 years after the Philippine government first sought the Amiri pardon.

He received the Amiri pardon during the recently concluded Eid season, along with other Filipino detainees at the Sulaibiya Central Jail. “On behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, my deepest and most profound gratitude goes to His Highness the Amir for granting clemency to OFW Bienvenido Espino, and for giving our ‘kababayan’ a chance to start a new life in the Philippines,” Lomondot said.

“The Philippine government, through the Embassy, had been asking the Kuwaiti government to pardon OFW Espino. No less than then-Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno S. Aquino III personally appealed to His Highness the Amir to grant clemency to OFW Espino. Even after his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2013, the Philippine government remained persistent in appealing for the Amir’s pardon, through our letters to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Lomondot said.

The Kuwaiti Court of First Instance in May 2008 found Espino guilty of the murder of his Filipina partner in October 2007 and sentenced him to death by hanging. The decision was upheld by the Kuwaiti Court of Appeals in January 2009 and by the Kuwait Court of Cassation in November 2009.

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Espino, however, received a “tanazul” or letter of forgiveness from the family of his late Filipina partner after paying blood money for the crime. The issuance of a tanazul led to the commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment in 2013.

“I hope that OFW Espino will carry with him the experiences and lessons of the past as he starts new life in the Philippines. I wish him well in his future endeavors,” Lomondot said.