An appeals court in the United Arab Emirates has overturned the conviction of a Filipina maid on death row for the murder of her Arab employer in 2014, the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.
The Court of Appeals in Al Ain acquitted Wednesday Jennifer Dalquez, 30, on the charge of murder for the killing her employer identified only as Mr. Alaryani by the department.
“Ms. Dalquez was declared innocent without diyyah or payment of blood money,” the department said. Despite her acquittal, Dalquez will continue to serve her five-year sentence less time served for the theft of a mobile phone.
The ruling overturned the Court of First Instance of Al Ain verdict against Dalquez.
The major breadwinner for her family in southern General Santos City, Dalquez left to work in the UAE in December 2012 and has not returned to the Philippines, leaving her two young children, now ages 8 and 5, to the care of her parents. Her father and husband work as rickshaw drivers to support the family.
Dalquez is one of an estimated 885,000 Filipino workers in the Middle East, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Many are employed as laborers or maids and are often mistreated.
Since taking office last year, President Rodrigo Duterte has made it a point to bring home abused workers. About 20,000 have been repatriated from the Middle East since July 2016.