Abella: Duterte offered to charter a plane to bring home Filipinos on amnesty

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President Rodrigo Duterte in Saudi Arabia (File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12) — Keeping his promise to bring back overseas Filipino workers on death row in Saudi Arabia might be impossible for now, but President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to  book a plane for those on amnesty.

"Sa pagkakaalam ko po (As far as I know) the President has offered to charter a plane to bring home some (Filipinos)," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing Tuesday.

But the spokesperson said this is still subject for verification.

Duterte said in his pre-departure speech in Davao City Monday he will bring around 5,000 OFWs who are cleared to go back to the Philippines.

"I will fly them home. Pagdating ko dito dala ko na 'yung iba [When I arrive, I will have some of them with me]," Duterte said.

Read: Duterte to bring home jailed OFWs granted clemency in Middle East

But Abella said the government cannot ask for clemency at this stage yet for those on death row.

"The process has not yet reached the level of the King, in which case there is no place for us to be asking for clemency at this stage. So let us wait for the process regarding death row issues," Abella said.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are 760,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia. The country is also considered the most preferred destination of OFWs in 2015.

Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana of the Office of Middle East and African Affairs (OMEAA) said there are 31 Filipinos on death row  in Saudi Arabia as of March 2017.

Duterte met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Tuesday, during his two-day state visit in Saudi.

His delegation will proceed to Bahrain on April 12, and to Qatar on April 14, before returning to the Philippines on April 16.