Kuala Lumpur – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has announced that three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) have been spared the death penalty in Sabah after receiving pardons from the Malaysian government.

The Philippine embassy in Malaysia identified the three as Basir Omar, Jaliman Salleh and Aldipal Hadani.

In his talk with Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman on Tuesday, Binay, Presidential Adviser on OFW concerns, thanked the Malaysian government for granting the pardons.

“We sincerely appreciate the grant of pardon and see it as further validation of the strong ties between the Philippines and Malaysia,” he said.

In January this year, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya called on Sabah Governor and Pardons Board Chairman Tun Datuk Seri Panglima, and requested for his intervention to commute the death sentences of six Filipinos, including the three.

The Pardons Board handed down on May 22 a decision commuting the death sentence of Omar to 13 years and 7 months. The new sentence will commence its counting from the date of pardon.

Meanwhile, the death sentences for Salleh and Hadani were reduced to 15 years imprisonment in a decision rendered on May 14 in Kota Kinabalu.

The two were arrested on July 8, 2008 in Kota Kinabalu when police found 867.1 grams of cannabis in their bags, and were sentenced to death by the Sabah High Court on June 25, 2010.

The Vice President cautioned Filipinos in Malaysia not to be lured by criminal syndicates into becoming drug mules or to engage in the illegal drug trade.