‘Foul play’ suspected in OFW’s death in Saudi

OFW suicide Saudia ARabia
Rochelle Masubay (Photo courtesy of Migrante Internaional)

“They are obviously hiding something. The family has strong reason to believe that Masubay did not commit suicide.”


The OFW group Migrante International is calling on government to investigate the alleged suicide of a Filipina domestic worker in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The remains of Rochelle Lechido Masubay, 34, was repatriated on Feb. 14, seven months after she allegedly locked herself up in her room, and was found dead with a knife to her chest.

Masubay’s family condemned the government for “covering up” a possible foul play in her death, Migrante International said in a statement.

Masubay, 34, a native of Tacloban, Leyte and a mother of two, was deployed as a domestic worker in Taif, Saudi Arabia by the Forst Recruitment Agency on May 25, 2014. Her common-law husband Rodolfo Malinao last talked to her on June 26, 2014, after which, all his efforts to contact her failed.

This January, Malinao went to the Fors Recruitment agency and reported her missing. It was then that the agency told him that she had been dead since October 16, 2014 because she committed suicide. Her death certificate, however, put her date of death on July 1, 2014.

The Fors staff told Malinao that his wife allegedly locked herself up in her room, and after two days, her employer called the police. “When the police forcibly opened her door, she was found dead with a knife stuck to her heart,” said the Migrante statement.

“We demand to know the real circumstances of Masubay’s death. Why did it take too long, half a year, for the family to be informed of her death?”said Sol Pillas, Migrante International secretary-general.

“Worse, the family was duped into signing a compromise agreement ensuring that they would not file any charges, under the pretext that such a document is a requirement for the repatriation of her remains,” Pillas said.

On February 3, when Malinao went to the Philippine Overseas EmploymentAgency (POEA) to arrange for the repatriation of her remains, Migrante said, he was asked to sign “a quitclaim in exchange for Php 119,240 from a certain Pioneer Insurance Agency.”

In the document, Malinao agrees that he would not file any criminal or civil complaint against Fors Recruitment Agency, the POEA or “any administrative agency.” Malinao signed the document because the POEA “told him that it was the only way to expedite the repatriation of his wife’s remains,” Migrante said.

“Nowhere in the repatriation process does it state a compromise agreement as a requirement for repatriation. What reasons does the POEA have to white-wash or cover-up Masubay’s mysterious death?” Pillas said.

Migrante called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to investigate Masubay’s death and the reasons for the “compromise agreement.”

“They are obviously hiding something. The family has strong reason to believe that Masubay did not commit suicide,” said Pillas.

Pillas said they “join the quest for justice” of Masubay’s family, as they kick off the “Remember Flor@20 Campaign” on March 17, the 20th year of the execution of OFW Flor Contemplacion, who was hanged to death in Singapore after being falsely convicted of killing fellow OFW Delia Maga.(https://www.bulatlat.com)

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