“We want no stone left unturned. If she really fell accidentally, we are willing to accept her fate. But we cannot just concede without a fight. If there was foul play, we want justice for my sister.” – Lorena, sister of OFW Milagros Oramoto
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — The family of an overseas Filipino worker who died in Singapore is suspecting foul play because of the bruises on the victim, which are inconsistent with the reported cause of her death.
Milagros Oramoto, 28, a domestic helper for three years, fell from the fifth floor of her employer’s apartment building on Apr. 16, 2014.
“We want no stone left unturned. If she really fell accidentally, we are willing to accept her fate. But we cannot just concede without a fight. If there was foul play, we want justice for my sister,” Lorena, sister of Milagros, said.
According to reports, Oramoto was locked out of her employer’s apartment when she threw the garbage. She reportedly asked their neighbor if she could pass through their apartment and climb her way to her employer’s unit as she was anxious to get inside the apartment quickly because she left the stove on.
Her employers were reportedly not around when the incident happened.
A news report published in Singapore quoted her employers’ son Mr. Choo Y.K. saying, “We didn’t know what happened until I arrived home at around 6 p.m. I saw the police tents and later heard someone mention my parents’ unit number and realized that it was our maid.”
Mr. Choo, in the report, added, “She was so silly. She should have called one of us instead. It is such a pity.”
Oramoto’s remains was repatriated on Apr. 19, 2014.
In the death certificate issued by the Office of the Civil Registrar General, it was determined that the cause of her death is “blunt traumatic injuries to the head, thorax, left upper and left lower extremities.” The Department of Foreign Affairs, in its report of death report, said the immediate cause of death was multiple injuries.
The family, however, has requested for another autopsy and are waiting for the result as they found bruises in her inner thighs and crotch.
They are also waiting for the result of the police investigation conducted in Singapore.
Like a daughter
Lorena said her sister applied for the house help job online. All the documents needed were all sent through email sometime in December 2011. No placement fee was required, Lorena said. The expenses and fees would be deducted from her salary, which meant she would not receive any salary in her first six months of work.
Okamoto was told that she would receive a salary of $300.
Okamoto took a culinary vocation course. She was working as a guard before she left to work abroad on Feb. 2, 2012.
“My sister said her employers were good to her. They have two sons. The eldest is married and has a child. The younger son is still single. However, my sister said her employers’ daughter-in-law was rude to her ever since she arrived, and was possibly jealous of her. That was what my sister told me,” her written testimony read.
In a statement sent to the media, she added that the said daughter-in-law would unreasonably order her around and curse at her without provocation.
“Milagros has been working for her elderly employer Choo Yeow Seng and his wife for almost three years and he treated her like a daughter. When he learned of his daughter-in-law’s abusive treatment, he asked his daughter-in-law to move out of the apartment,” the statement read.
Lorena added that in two years her sister was working for her employer, she did not encounter any further problems.
Her employers, Lorena said, even paid for Okamoto’s two-week vacation, including her airfare. She arrived in the Philippines on Jan. 7, 2014 and returned to Singapore on Jan. 27, 2014.
Lorena said their family approached Migrante International hoping that the migrants’ rights group could help them fight for justice and secure the services she should get as a member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, such as burial assistance and to secure her belongings from Singapore that were repatriated with her remains.