MANILA, Philippines – The family of a Pinay domestic worker in Saudi Arabia has vowed to get to the bottom of how and why their kin died in the Kingdom.
“Talagang lalaban kami as long as malaman namin kung bakit siya namatay o kung bakit siya nagpakamatay,” said Mira Ibanez.
Ibanez’s sister, 22-year-old Romelyn, died after allegedly committing suicide on September 8, 2010 in Al Khobar.
But her family believes otherwise.
What further bolstered the family’s doubts about her death was when her body was repatriated to Cotabato a year after the incident. They claimed that Romelyn’s tongue, eyes and internal organs were already missing. Her body also bore several marks of cigarette burns and bruises and had a stab wound on the back.
“Ine-experiment talaga yung katawan ng sister ko kasi nga duktor yung employer ng sister ko di ba? Noong dumating siya sa ospital nandito pa yung knife sa balikat niya. Kung magpapakamatay ka, kaya mo bang saksakin ang likod mo? Kaya mo bang sugatan katawan mo,?” Mira asked.
Romelyn worked as a household service worker for three months in Saudi Arabia before allegedly committing suicide by stabbing herself and by drinking muriatic acid.
The family said Romelyn’s employer also did not pay her wages. Under her contract, Romelyn was supposed to work as a nursing aide, but she ended up as a domestic helper instead.
The Ibanez family has filed a complaint before the Department of Foreign Affairs. They also want the case reopened.
Ambassador Ezzedin Tago said the embassy has coordinated with Saudi authorities asking for an explanation regarding the issue. However, the embassy has yet to receive a reply. - Florante Catanus, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau