At least 15 OFW ‘mysterious deaths’ since 2002 remain unsolved – Migrante

Migrante International said Nov. 10 there have been at least 15 cases of “mysterious deaths” of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) since 2002, all of which remain unsolved.

Ivy Bautista, a 27-year-old domestic helper, was slain Sept. 27 in Santander, Spain. Her body was discovered on the third floor of her employer’s home with a kitchen knife penetrating her neck. The report of the Spanish police concluded that she committed suicide.

Migrante identified the other OFWs whose deaths remained unresolved as Magdalena Martinez, Grace Aguilar, Juanita Lajot, Maricon Gatapia, Catherine Bautista, Louella Montenegro, Divina Beth Urbi, Veneranda Pana, Janet Paradillo, Nelsa Villarta, Racquel Pascual, Alfrand Magcanan, Isla Gwen, and Nimia Pintor and her two children.

Since OFWs leave the country for their family’s survival, “stories of suicide or even accidental deaths are dubious,” said Migrante International secretary-general Maita Santiago. Santiago said in most cases, “the OFWs repeatedly complained about maltreatment or held fears about their safety before they died.”

She also said, “The DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and the Arroyo government tried to bury the quest for justice even before these OFWs were buried.” Migrante accused Philippine government officials of criminal neglect when it comes to addressing cases of abuse and foul play committed against Filipino migrant workers. (

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