Migrante Scores DFA for ‘Whitewash’ in Slain OFW’s Case

The overseas Filipinos’ alliance Migrante International has accused the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of favoring a “whitewash” on the case of domestic helper Ivy Collantes Bautista, who was found dead Sept. 27 in her employer’s residence in Santander, Cantabria, Spain.

BY Bulatlat.com

The overseas Filipinos’ alliance Migrante International has accused the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of favoring a “whitewash” on the case of domestic helper Ivy Collantes Bautista, who was found dead Sept. 27 in her employer’s residence in Santander, Cantabria, Spain.

Bautista’s body was found with a kitchen knifed through her neck. A slash wound was also found on her chest. Upon the repatriation of Bautista’s body Oct. 16, her relatives said they also noticed bruises on different parts of her body.

Initial communication from the Philippine embassy in Spain cited a police report indicating that Bautista may have committed suicide.

The bereaved family had doubted the Spanish police report because before her death, they had been receiving calls from Bautista expressing fear for her life, said Irineo Maranan, an uncle of hers.

“The bereaved family fears foul play because before her death, Ivy said she noticed three or four strange men lurking near her employers’ home,” Maranan said in a statement Oct. 25. “She also told us about various problems she faced at work – stories that belie statements about how she was ‘satisfied and pleased’ with her employers.”

The DFA has reportedly exerted efforts to convince Bautista’s family to “accept the Spanish police report that declared she may have committed suicide.” DFA spokesperson Gilbert Asuque has also been quoted in news reports as offering Bautista’s family a trip to Spain so that “they could speak with the police investigators.”

“This DFA action actually helps those responsible for this heinous crime to go scot-free with its acceptance – hook, line and sinker – of the Spanish authorities’ police report,” said Migrante International chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado.

An Oct. 27 autopsy on Bautista’s body by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) showed that her wounds were fatal and could only have been inflicted by other people.

“The autopsy report firms up our basis to pursue justice for Ivy’s death,” Maranan said. “The DFA has been deaf on the initial qualms of Ivy’s family. Instead of pushing for the reopening of the case in Spain and conducting more inquiries on the case, the DFA wants the family to accept the police report as factual to maintain ‘good relations’ with Spain in exchange for remittances the country receives. Our OFWs’ welfare should always come first.”

“We denounce the DFA for helping the Spanish authorities in covering up this high crime,” Maranan added.

Migrante International and Bautista’s relatives will meet with Spanish Ambassador Ignacio Sagaz to urge the Spanish government to reopen Ivy’s case, Regalado also said. They will also hold a picket-dialogue at the DFA office “to protest how amidst the initial trauma and confusion over news of Ivy’s death, DFA officials tried to get the family to simply accept her death as suicide,” the Migrante International chairperson added.

Meanwhile, an Internet petition demanding justice for Bautista has gathered signatures from the Philippines, the US, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, Macau, Switzerland and the Republic of Palau. (Bulatlat.com)

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