Bonita's wounds self-inflicted, employers say

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 12 2012 02:15 PM | Updated as of Sep 13 2012 01:17 AM

21-year-old Bonita Baran
MANILA (1st UPDATE) - In what appeared like a scene in a courtroom, a couple accused of abusing their household helper denied all allegations against them in a Senate probe attended by the victim and her family on Wednesday.

During a hearing of the Senate committee on labor, Reynold and Analiza Marzan denied maltreating 21-year-old Bonita Baran, and claimed that she hurt herself.

Mrs. Marzan said Baran was often left alone in their house as she's often out manning their business.

"Kapag umuuwi ako, nakikita ko na lang na may sugat siya," Mrs. Marzan told the committee.

Baran reportedly lost her right eyesight because Mrs. Marzan repeatedly punched her in the eyes, and sustained burns on her face after a hot iron was pressed on it on several occasions.

Baran also testified before that her female employer hit her on the head with hard objects until she bled, and twisted her ears often until they became deformed. Mrs. Marzan once forced her to eat dead cockroaches, Baran recalled.

At the hearing, forensic expert Dr. Erwin Erfe said Baran's injuries were sustained over time.

"Some of them have been inflicted more than a year earlier," he said. "Those injuries were inflicted at various stages."

Erfe added, "This is characteristic of an individual being abused or tortured."

Senate labor committee chairman Jinggoy Estrada was also not conviced that the injuries were self-inflicted.

"Who in his or her right mind would do that o himself or herself?" he asked the Marzans.

Mrs. Marzan answered that she doesn't know, adding that Baran was free to do whatever she wanted inside their house.

Baran's younger sister Olivia recalled that she was shocked to see her when she returned home to Catanduanes in May this year.

"Bakit ganyan ang hitsura mo? Ang payat payat mo! Bakit ganyan ang buhok mo. Ang dami mong sugat," Olivia recalled telling Bonita.

Olivia told Mrs. Marzan during the hearing, "Ang galing galing mong magsinungaling. Walang hiya ka!"

Mrs. Marzan earlier said in media interviews that it was Baran's father who abused her, but Baran's mother denied it.

"Hindi 'yon totoo. Sinungaling si Analiza magsalita. Hindi totoo ang sinasabi niya," said Erlinda Baran.

At one point in the hearing, Mrs. Marzan tearfully told their former helper: "Bonita, maawa ka. Maawa ka, Bonita. Paano ang mga anak ko? Sino'ng mag-aalaga sa kanila, Bonita?"

"Sa apat na taon na magkakasama tayo, maayos tayo, Bonita. Sana maisip mo ang mga araw na magkakasama tayo na maayos tayo," she added.

Baran said she is pushing through with her case against the Marzans.