The family of Cecilia Armia Alcaraz who was sentenced to die by firing squad in Taiwan appealed for help during a press conference hosted by Migrante International October 17. In the same press conference, Ileno Terojas, uncle of Jenifer Bidoya, an OFW who was beheaded in Saudi Arabia, expressed their family’s frustration with the inaction of the government and advised relatives of OFWs in death row to bring their concerns to the public.
BY ANGIE DE LARA
Cecilia Armia-Alcaraz or Nemencia Armia, 47 years old, from Liliw Laguna, is a single parent with four children. Because her work as a merchandiser at the Robinson’s Department Store cannot provide for the needs of her family, she decided to work abroad. She left for Taiwan to work as an English teacher in 2005 .
On Sept. 15 last year, a garbage bag containing a woman’s body was found in front of a store in Taiwan. The dead woman was later identified as Chou Mei-yun, a broker who helped foreigners find work as language teachers in Taiwan’s private schools. Two days later, Alcaraz and a certain David Fillion were arrested in connection with Mei-yun’s killing. Three days after, Fillion was released.
On Nov. 19 that same year, Alcaraz was sentenced to die by firing squad by the Kaohsiung prosecutor in Taiwan.
Rosalinda Armia Pisueña, sister of Alcaraz, related that they have last spoken with her in August 2007. During their last conversation, Pisueña said, Alcaraz told her “Alagaan nyo mga bata, uuwi ako dyan”. (Take care of my children. I would go home soon.)
After several months of waiting for Alcaraz to contact them, they called the cell phone number she was using, but the phone was no longer working.
They only found out about the arrest of Alcaraz in September 2008 when a certain Pastor Marso visited them in Liliw Laguna to check on her children.
Pisueña and the two sons of Alcaraz hurriedly went to the office of Sen. Manny Villar to ask for assistance but to no avail. They also tried to seek assistance from Malacañang but they were only given a referral letter for the local government office in their municipality instructing the latter to give them assistance for groceries. They also went to the office of Vice President Noli De Castro but were told to just follow up the developments by phone.
They were shocked when they received a text message last September 30, 2008 from the Manila Economic Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan that Alcaraz was sentenced to die by firing squad by the Kaohsiung prosecutor.