RIYADH – A Filipino worker never thought that his desire to earn extra money for his family would send him to jail and present the possibility of him and his family being deported to the Philippines.
"David", not his real name, worked as a draftsman in Saudi Arabia.
However, he had skills in body inking so he decided to pursue an illegal career as a tattoo artist to make more money in the Kingdom.
Some of his clients were women who wanted to get permanent eyebrow tattoos.
He was about to meet a prospective client when policemen who tailed his car, arrested him in 2012.
"Sinabi lang na nasaan ka na? Nag-flasher ako, kasi may sasakyan ako, so nag-flasher ako di ko alam na may nakabuntot na pala doon sa likod," he said.
After a week in jail, he was released on bail. But the Pinoy was sentenced to three months imprisonment and 70 lashes.
"Dahil siguro sa hindi pa na-experience yong mahuli, masita, kaya medyo malakas pa yong loob ko noon," he admitted.
Saudi Arabia does not apprehend those who already have tattoos on their body as long as the design is not offensive to the host country's religion. But those engaged in the tattoo practice are not allowed.
David is ready to face the consequences of his actions but fears for the future of his family. He is worried that once he finished serving his sentence, he would be eventually deported with his wife and four children.
"Hindi lahat ng kasiyahan makukuha lang sa pera which is kung ano na lang yong maisip na paraan, gagawin," he painfully learned.
David sought the help of the advocacy group Patnubay in requesting the Court of Appeals to forgive him. He said he is willing to have the lashes increased so long as he does not have to be jailed and deported. Report from Roland Blanco, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau