August 13, 2008 – 6:19 p.m.
Families of victims of mysterious deaths and members of Migrante International trooped to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) this morning to demand justice and a more thorough investigation on the death of Eugenia Baja, a Filipina domestic worker who allegedly committed suicide in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last February 24.
Elizabeth Garcia, elder sister of Eugenia, said pictures of her sister’s body tell another story. “May mga bugbog at galos ang iba’t ibang parte ng katawan ng kapatid ko. May saksak pa ng kutsilyo sa may tagiliran,” (My sister’s body bore signs of beating. She had a stab wound on her side.) Garcia said.
“How can this be suicide?” asked Connie Bragas-Regalado, chairperson of Migrante International.
Regalado said the autopsy report from KSA revealed that Baja was starved for 28-35 days. “The wounds and marks indicate that she had been severely maltreated. Why didn’t DFA officials investigate at all?” said Regalado.
Baja’s alleged suicide happened days after she sent text messages to her family asking for help.
Migrante noted the conflicting reports about the cause of Baja’s death. “The DFA informed the family that Baja killed herself by banging her head in the toilet tiles after three days of locking herself up in her room. Meanwhile, documents from KSA authorities which arrived with the body states that Baja died in a hospital due to ulcer.
Migrante said that Baja’s body was repatriated to the Philippines three months after, with the support of Senate President Manny Villar.
Regalado hit the DFA officials for being ‘callous and useless in protecting Filipino citizens.’
Migrante has documented 23 cases of OFW “mysterious deaths” under the Arroyo administration.
Regalado also cited the recent “alleged suicides” of Maria Mitos Vergara and Jefrey Alberto So in Dubai last June 24 and Gilbert Angeles, who was found dead in his apartment in Singapore on June 30.
Regalado said these deaths show the real face of migration contrary to what the government is promoting. (Bulatlat.com)