An Overseas Filipino Worker in Kuwait who was sentenced to death in 2008 for killing his Filipina partner is now a free man, following the clemency recently granted by His Highness The Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Philippine Embassy in Kuwait Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. and Consul General Mohd. Noordin Pendosina N. Lomondot sent off OFW Bienvenido Espino at the Kuwait International Airport on 30 August 2020—13 years since he was detained at the Sulaibiya Central Jail, and 12 years since the Philippine government first sought the Amiri pardon for the convicted Filipino. The Embassy facilitated Espino’s repatriation back to the Philippines.
“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,” Chargé d’Affaires 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,” Chargé d’Affaires Lomondot further said.
In May 2008, the Kuwaiti Court of First Instance found Espino guilty of the murder of his Filipina partner in October 2007, and sentenced him to death by hanging. The said decision was upheld by the Kuwaiti Court of Appeals in January 2009, and by the Kuwait Court of Cassation in November 2009.
However, Espino received a tanazul or letter of forgiveness from the family of his late Filipina partner after settling the blood money for the crime. The issuance of a tanazul led to the commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment in 2013. He received the Amiri pardon during the recent-concluded Eid season, along with other Filipino detainees at Sulaibiya Central Jail.
In his message to Espino, Chargé d’Affaires Lomondot said, “I hope that OFW Espino will carry with him the experiences and lessons of the past as he starts a new life in the Philippines. I wish him well in his future endeavors.”