MANILA -- After serving four years in jail, Jennifer Dalquez, who was sentenced to death for murder but was acquitted in 2017, finally arrived home Friday morning after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government released her from prison.
The emotional Dalquez faced the media after being reunited with her parents in Manila.
She expressed her gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine Embassy in UAE for their untiring effort for her to be released from jail.
Dalguez also thanked her family and her friends for the prayers for her life to be spared.
Accompanied by officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Dalquez arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 at about 8:15 a.m. She was welcomed by her mother, Alicia, and father, Abdul Hamid.
"Ilang taon din naming hinintay ito at ngayon nandito na siya. Salamat, maraming salamat sa inyong nagbigay ng suporta at dasal (We waited for years for this [for her to be freed] and now she is here. Thank you so much to all those who supported and prayed for her), Alicia told the media.
She and her parents will soon go back to their hometown in General Santos.
In a briefing shortly after Dalquez's plane landed in NAIA, Migrant Workers Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said PHP100,000 cash will be given to the OFW's family under the DFA's assistance to nationals fund.
She added that her release "is a victory not only for Jennifer but also for the Philippines."
Arriola said Dalquez's acquittal underscores how serious the Duterte Administration is in promoting the rights and protecting the welfare of Filipinos abroad.
"We thank the government of UAE for giving justice to Jennifer Dalquez. We have been following her case since 2015 and we are very thankful that she was eventually acquitted and now she is back in the Philippines," she said.
"The DFA, together with the DOLE and OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) will coordinate to assist Jennifer to have a fresh start in the country," she added.
OWWA Deputy Administrator for Operations Brigido Dulay, meanwhile, said Dalquez will receive a livelihood and educational assistance.
Dalquez returned home after she was found guilty and sentenced to death by an Abu Dhabi court for the fatal stabbing of her employer in 2014 after he threatened to kill her for refusing to have sex with him.
The Embassy, through its lawyers, immediately appealed the conviction and had it overturned by a local court in 2017.
Dalquez was released from Al Ain Central Jail on November 1 and reportedly taken immediately to the airport. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency