By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has vowed to further enhance the country’s cooperation with Bahrain on protecting the welfare of Filipino workers following the recent royal pardon granted by Bahrain’s ruler to two Filipinos.
The President has relayed his gratitude to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for granting pardon to two overseas Filipino workers who have since returned to the country.
“The President extends his deepest gratitude and appreciation to his Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain for pardoning Roderick Aguinaldo and Edward Benjamin Garcia,” the Palace said in a statement.
The Palace said the President considers the royal pardon “a testament to the deep ties between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Bahrain and to the strong friendship” with the King.
“The President remains committed to further strengthen Philippines-Bahrain bilateral ties across all areas of mutual interest, including in cooperation for the protection and promotion of the welfare of Filipinos in the Kingdom,” it said.
The two Filipino workers were serving a sentence in Bahrain for the death of a foreign national when the royal pardon was issued on the recent occasion of Eid’l Fitr. The King of Bahrain earlier ordered a stay of execution of Aguinaldo on June 12, 2018, upon the Philippine leader’s appeal for commutation of sentence.
Aguinaldo and Garcia are back in the country and can now have a fresh start with their families, according to the Palace.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomes the release and return to the Philippines of two overseas Filipino workers granted Royal Pardon in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” the Palace said.
The President has also commended the Department of Foreign Affairs and other concerned government agencies for exerting efforts that led to the release and repatriation of the Filipino workers.
Last May 31, the Palace announced that the King of Bahrain granted pardon to 16 Filipinos, including the two who were pardoned during Eid’l Fitr. The President extended his deepest gratitude to the King’s forgiveness towards the OFWs, calling his gesture an “act of humanity.”
Back in March, the King of Bahrain issued a decree pardoning 901 prisoners for humanitarian reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. Another 585 inmates were expected to be allowed to serve their sentences in rehabilitation and training.