By: Eric B. Apolonio, InterAksyon.com
June 22, 2015 7:44 PM
Marilou Ranario recounts her ordeal but expresses gratitude to the government for working to have her death sentence commuted to 10 years in prison. Photographed by Eric Apolonio
MANILA – Marilou Ranario, the overseas Filipino worker who had languished on death row for 10 years in Kuwait, returned home late Monday afternoon, arriving at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on board Kuwait airways flight KU411.
Ranario was met at the customs arrival area by her father Rosario Sr. accompanied by her brother Rosario Jr., whom she did not immediately recognize after more than 10 years of absence.
Earlier, Rosario Sr. told Interaksyon.Com that he is thankful for the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Philippine Embassy officials in Kuwait, who helped them expedite her return to the country.
He also thanked former Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Concern, Vice President Jejomar Binay for supporting them in bringing the appeal to the Kuwaiti government.
When informed of the Vice President’s resignation, the Surigao del Sur native said that he felt sad because he was expecting him to welcome her daughter at the airport, but, nevertheless, a representative from the Office of the Vice President was present to assist them.
The Filipina’s case was all over the news in 2005, when she was arrested and sentenced to death by a Kuwaiti Court for the murder of her employer.
Following her arrest, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) crafted a legal strategy to ensure the protection of her rights throughout the legal process. Her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2007, and eventually to 10 years imprisonment in 2009.
“We are very happy that she will go home and be reunited with her family. We wish she could start life anew,” Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa said.
The Embassy coordinated with the Deportation Department of Kuwait to expedite her repatriation to the Philippines.
DFA said the Embassy continues to regularly visit Filipino detainees at the Kuwait Central Prison and provide legal assistance to secure their pardon or commutation of sentence and eventual release from prison.