By Ferdinand Patinio

PROVIDING HOPE. Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac (seated, left) visits overseas Filipino worker Cyrile Tagapan at the Maraburong Prison Facility in Brunei Darussalam on May 29, 2024. Tagapan has been in prison since 2016 for the murder of a Bruneian national, arson and theft and is facing the death penalty. (Photo courtesy of Jaymark Dagala/Radyo Pilipinas)

MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) assured two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row in Brunei of the government’s continuing support.

DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac visited OFWs Edgar Puzon and Cyrile Tagapan at the Maraburong Prison Facility 1 in Keriam, Tutong District, Brunei Darussalam last Wednesday.

“I conveyed the message of the President to our two kababayans (compatriots) of his support and continuing prayers for them. Both expressed their deepest thanks to the President,” he said in a statement.

Puzon was convicted for the murder of a fellow OFW in 2005, while Tagapan has been serving his sentence since 2016 for the murder of a Bruneian national, arson and theft. However, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Puzon has expressed hope to be granted early release as he turns 70 next year, according to Cacdac.

The DMW provided financial assistance to the agency’s Agarang Kalinga at Saklolo para sa mga OFW na Nangangailangan, (AKSYON) Fund for legal expenses.

Lawyer Czar Calabazaron, who accompanied Cacdac, said the pleas for clemency have been filed before the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Privy Council of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The DMW likewise helped fund Puzon’s daughter’s compassionate visit in February and assured to support future visits.

DMW is already facilitating a similar compassionate visit anytime this month for Tagapan’s sister and two minor children.

At the same time, Cacdac has instructed the Migrant Workers Office and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to continue assisting the two OFWs, including regular visits.

“This is the time when they need us most, when we should be by their side,” he added.

The DMW Secretary also expressed his gratitude to the Brunei Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Acting Director of Brunei Prisons, Prime Minister’s Office, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Security and Welfare, and the Management of Maraburong Prison Facility for making his visit possible despite short notice.

Cacdac was part of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s official delegation during a state visit to the sultanate on May 28 and 29. (PNA)