MANILA, March 10, 2015— The Catholic bishops said they are concerned and saddened by the beheading of an overseas Filipino worker convicted of killing his boss in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) an estimated 382,553 OFWs work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Photo: CBCPNews)

However unfortunate, Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, said the execution of Joven Esteva is a reminder “for us of the extreme difficulties of our OFWs go through and experience.”

“We in the Church are challenged even more to widen and strengthen our ministry and apostolate to our OFWs so that we can bring them pastoral, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs, especially in times of trials and tests in their lives. Let us continue to help them through our prayers and constant concern,” Santos said.

The Filipino driver was executed yesterday after Philippine government’s appeals to get forgiveness from the victim’s family had failed.

Esteva, who was employed as family driver since 2006, was convicted for stabbing his employer the following year and injuring the victim’s son.

Despite an appeal by Filipino authorities that Esteva was not in his right state of mind during the incident, the Court of Cassation reaffirmed the death sentence.

“We are saddened by the death of our kababayan in Saudi who was executed for a crime he committed there. Every life is important and we pray for him that his soul may rest in peace through the mercy of God,” Santos said.

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Charles Jose said Esteva’s body was subsequently buried in Saudi Arabia in accordance with their law. (CBCPNews)