MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 3 – 3:45 p.m.) Filipino worker Jakatia Pawa was executed for murder shortly past 3 pm [Manila time] Wednesday (Jan. 25) in Kuwait, despite last-ditch efforts by the Philippine government to save her life, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed.
Just hours before Assistant Secretary Charles Jose briefed media about the execution, her family and OFW support groups had sought to get President Rodrigo Duterte to make a last-ditch attempt to save the life of the OFW, convicted of murdering her employer’s 22-year-old daughter. She has insisted on her innocence till the end.
“Just before I went down [to the briefing room], [I was told] she was executed at 10:19 a.m. Kuwait time, or 3:19pm Manila time,” Assistant Secretary Jose told reporters.
Many were surprised by the confirmation of the execution, since earlier reports said it was scheduled for Thursday.
‘Government did everything possible’
Jose insisted that the government did everything to save Pawa, but the family of her employer had refused to grant forgiveness in exchange for payment of blood money. This, even as Jakatia had insisted on her innocence till the very end, saying she did not kill the 22-year-old daughter of her employer, as she was convicted by the Kuwaiti court of doing.
“OFW Pawa was representated by two top law firms” hired by the DFA, said Jose. Pawa’s family was able to visit Pawa thrice in Kuwait, the last being October 2016, and these were all arranged by the government, according to Jose.
Following Islamic rules, Pawa’s body will be buried in Kuwait, said Jose. This arrangement was confirmed by her elder brother PAF Lt. Col. Angaris Pawa, in an interview with CNN Philippines.
The DFA and the Philippine embassy in Kuwait “made last-ditch efforts, tried to save her,” Jose said.
The embassy, he added, made representations with the office of the Kuwaiti Amir.
Early on Wednesday morning, the DFA called the chargé d’ affaires of the Kuwait Embassy in Manila.
In all, Jose insisted, it was a “continuing effort: we exerted diplomatic (through the Philippine embassy and DFA), political (intercessions made by then President GMA); and even tried religious channels (clerics in Kuwait).”
The decision to stop the execution lay with the victim’s family, who was adamant against accepting any offer.
“We tried negotiating with family, to grant the Tanazul in exchange for payment of blood money but they were not willing to do so.”
For his part, Lt. Col. Pawa believes his sister’s profession of innocence. In an interview with CNN Philippines, he said she told him that it all began when her employers returned from a vacation in Iran, and they stumbled on their daughter in a room with her boyfriend. Pawa said she did not kill the girl; her employer did.
Earliler, Lieutenant Colonel Pawa said his sister Jakatia, who worked as a domestic helper, told him of her scheduled execution in a phone call early Wednesday. He said it was set for 8 a.m. Thursday, Kuwait time, which would be 1 p.m. here.
“Nag-usap kami kanina at nagpaalam na siya, ang sabi niya bukas bibitayin na siya, tatlo raw sila (We spoke earlier and she was saying goodbye, she said she would be executed tomorrow, there are three of them),” he told InterAksyon in a phone interview.
Pawa said his 42-year-old sister was crying on the phone.
“Ang bilin lang ng kapatid ko, ‘Alagaan niyo ang dalawa kong anak’ (All my sister asked was, ‘Take care of my two children’),” he said.
“Nagulat ako pagtawag niya ngayon nu’ng sabihin niya na bibitayin na siya bukas (I was surprised when she called up today to say she would be executed tomorrow),” he said, recalling that when he visited his sister two months ago, her lawyer spoke to him of positive developments that might pave the way for her freedom this year.
Court affirms sentence
On January 19, 2010, the Court of Cassation (Kuwait’s Supreme Court) affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals sentencing Jakatia to death for killing the 22-year-old daughter of her Kuwaiti employer in 2007.
However, Pawa maintained his sister is innocent.
“Ang apela namin ay sana makiusap naman si Pangulong Duterte sa Kuwait para maligtas ang buhay ng kapatid ko (We appeal to President Duterte to talk to Kuwait to save the life of my sister),” he said.
The Philippine government has hired lawyers to represent Jakatia and has also sought the assistance of the King of Spain, who is a friend of the Amir of Kuwait, to convince him to commute the sentence for humanitarian reasons.
Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also wrote the Amir to spare Jakatia’s life.
ACTS OFW party-list Representative John Bertiz III also urged the government to immediately phone Kuwait’s ambassador to ask that the execution be deferred “until further investigation.”
“May malasakit po ang ating Pangulo sa mga OFWs, ito na ang oras na maramdaman sana ito ng ating mga OFWs (Our President has concern for OFWs, thus is the time that the OFWs should feel it),” he said.