Kin of late OFW fears foul play over Dubai’s suicide report

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How can somebody cut her wrist, stab herself several times before jumping to her death from the fifth floor of the building?

The report, submitted by the Dubai police on the death of Filipino household service worker Alona Bagayan, 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.

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In a press conference on Wednesday, the Bagayan’s sister Maricel went to Congress and accused the Dubai police of hastily concluding that the 31-year-old Alona committed suicide last February 5.

Maricel said the Dubai report was inconsistent with the National Bureau of Investigation’s autopsy report that the causes of death are traumatic head injury and a cut on the right forearm. She added that her sister had 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 gathered enough strength to jump off the building.

But even before Alona’s death, the circumstances that surrounded her trip to Dubai were suspicious at best.

Maricel recounted that pertinent and yet 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.

Alona still pushed through with her trip because she is the breadwinner for her four children.

The processes that Alona went through, Fortaleza said, violate the Philippine Migrant Workers Act.

“An OFW cannot leave the country without complete requirements, and that the family should be informed of his or 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 said.

While Alona’s remains have been repatriated, Fortaleza argued that the government should not stop 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 stressed.

Bello then 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

 

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