An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was imprisoned for 20 years in Kuwait for a crime he did not commit is finally home.
Joseph Yosuf Urbiztondo, 45, arrived on Tuesday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) via Philippine Airlines.
He was escorted back to Manila by Philippine Consul General to Kuwait Raul Hora Dado.
Urbiztondo, a tennis instructor when he was 25, was put behind bars in Kuwait for allegedly murdering a Bangladeshi hotel driver.
He said he was victim of a frame-up.
“I am innocent. Why will I kill a person in a foreign land?” he told reporters at the airport, saying he languished in jail for almost 20 years suffering for a crime that he did not commit.
“I missed my parents who both died when I was in jail,” Urbiztondo said.
According to the OFW, the first thing he would do is to visit his parents in the cemetery.
As a tennis instructor, he taught young and old Kuwaitis.
But on July 8, 1996 while at work, Kuwaiti police arrived and arrested him for murder.
He said the police immediately put him behind bars and was tortured.
“I was electrocuted, kicked and hit by a piece of wood while I was blindfolded,” Urbiztondo added.
He said he was forced to admit the crime because of the severe beating.
The only thing he did during the years in jail, according to the OFW, is to pray hard to keep himself sane.
“I can’t believe when a jail guard called me and said, ‘You are now a free man.’”
Urbiztondo thanked the Filipino Association in Kuwait and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs for their contribution in producing “blood money” amounting to $26,000 for his release.