DUBAI: The sister of a Filipino jailed in a car mishap that killed his wife in Dubai expressed "extreme gratitude" for the Dubai Police chief's order to his department to pay blood money that would free her brother, Joseph Abutan, 37.
Abutan was supposed to be released on December 28, 2009, but continued to languish in jail as he was unable to pay the blood money demanded by his wife Imelda's family. Marivic Abutan-Almojera, the elder sister of Joseph, 37, said: "I can't thank him [Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief] enough for this life-changing move that he made for my brother."
"This totally unexpected gesture from the [Dubai] authorities is very heart-warming," said Marivic. "It will also be a great birthday gift for me," Marivic, who turns 40 on Thursday, told XPRESS by phone from Manila.
On May 10, the Dubai Police chief ordered his department to pay Dh200,000 blood money for the release of Abutan on humanitarian grounds. "When my brother was gainfully employed, he was generous with us," said Marivic, a small-time retail store trader in Manila. She said it was "impossible" for her family to raise the Dh200,000 blood money.
Abutan, who worked for a private company in Dubai, was the fourth child in a brood of seven. "Until now, we did not know what to do. My brother was alone in Dubai with no one to help him."
Marivic said her brother's children, all high school students living with Imelda's parents in the Balagtas town of Batangas province, were left emotionally scarred after the tragedy. However, now they are trying to move on with their lives.
"When I visited them in January, they told me that they wanted to talk to their daddy but not immediately as they are yet to recover from the mishap," said Marivic.
Abutan has expressed remorse. He is now known as Abdullah after he embraced Islam while in jail. "Pinagdusahan ko na sa kulungan ang nangyari (I already served time in jail for what happened). I've learnt my lesson and am willing to make up for it to my children," he told XPRESS via phone from jail last month.
Abutan also lamented not being able to talk to his three children. "I don't blame my in-laws if they are upset about what happened. I didn't want it to happen. It was an accident."