OFW advocate Susan Ople urged the Department of Justice to withdraw the case filed against overseas Filipino worker Gloria Ortinez for illegal possession of ammunition.
The former labor undersecretary said the state should not be seen as inflicting its might on a hapless overseas domestic worker who had spent two nights in detention for a crime that she did not commit.
“I join the call of millions of OFWs for the full liberty of Nanay Gloria, and for the State to allow her to leave for Hong Kong where her employer of 13 years awaits,” Ople said.
Ortinez denied owning the bullet found in her bag, saying she would never bring ammunition knowing that Hong Kong has very strict security laws.
“This series of bullet-planting incidents has created a climate of fear among returning overseas workers,” Ople said.
“I am urging the DoJ to withdraw its complaint since it is quite clear that Nanay Gloria is innocent. Why would she risk the job waiting for her in Hong Kong for one bullet? As a long-time OFW, she is quite aware that carrying ammunition is prohibited under Philippine and Hong Kong laws,” she added.
The head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, who is running for a Senate seat next year, stressed that the government should be zealous in protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers.
“Otherwise, we lose the moral ascendancy to demand respect and protection from other countries in behalf of our OFWs,” she said.
The Ople Center, Ople said, is willing to assist Ortinez until she obtains justice.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. also deplored the bullet planting and vowed to help Ortinez.
“We have heard of similar incidents before on this modus operandi to extort money from hapless victims and we all thought that with the media attention and investigations conducted this won’t happen again. That is why this latest incident is disturbing to say the least,” Marcos said.
Marcos called on the strict implementation of security protocols in airports and cautioned authorities against the hasty filing of criminal charges when there are indications that the suspect may be a victim of a frame up.