How can somebody cut her wrist, stab herself multiple times and jump out from the fifth floor of the building where she worked before dying?
Those were is stated in the report made by the Dubai police on the death of Filipino household service worker Alona Bagayan—an account that has raised fears of foul play from the victim’s family, Rep. Walden Bello of Akbayan party-list, Partido ng Manggagawa and Center for Migrant Advocacy.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the victim’s sister Maricel asked Congress to seek justice as she accused the Dubai police of hastily concluding that the 31-year-old Alona committed suicide last February 5.
Maricel cited that the Dubai report was spotty compared with the National Bureau of Investigation autopsy report showing that the causes of death are traumatic head injury and an incised wound from the right forearm. Moreover, her sister suffered four stab wounds in scalp, face, right forearm and neck.
“We seek justice for my sister. How can that be a suicide? If that is what really happened, that she cut her wrist and stabbed herself, how can she jump off the building in that state? How can she kill herself repeatedly?” Maricel pointed out.
Wilson Fortaleza of Partido ng Manggagawa also found the Dubai police report ridiculous, citing that the victim’s body was so damaged she could not have had enough strength to jump off the building.
“Her right hand was almost cut from her body, and her stab wounds were really bad. How can she jump off the building in that situation?” Fortaleza asked.
But even before Alona’s death, the circumstances that surrounded her trip to Dubai were deemed suspicious at best.
Her sister recounted that pertinent and incomplete documents for Alona’s employment were only handed to her at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and that the family was never informed of the whereabouts of Alona’s employer.
Maricel said Alona still pushed through with her trip because she is the breadwinner for her four children. The processes that Alona went through, Fortaleza said, violates the Philippine Migrant Workers Act.
“An OFW cannot leave the country without complete requirements, and that the family should be informed of his/her whereabouts, as well as the profile and address of the employer. The government should do something to stop the practice experienced by Alona,” Fortaleza explained.
While Alona has been repatriated, Fortaleza argued that the government should not stop from there and pursue justice for a citizen who suffered in foreign shores.
“Usually, the talk stops once the body has been repatriated. It should not be the case. How can out government just accept the Dubai police report hook line and sinker? We call our OFWs heroes, but we can’t hear anything if they come back dead,” Fortaleza said.
Bello urged on the government of the United Arab Emirates to reinvestigate Alona’s case.
“I am not aware of any precedent that the foreign government agreed to a reinvestigation, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t pursue justice anymore. We have strong evidence that the Dubai findings are flawed, so this should compel them to reinvestigate,” Bello said.
“The physical injuries that that the victim suffered show that so much is unclear about their suicide claim,” Bello added in closing.
Llanesca T. Panti