The migrant rights group Migrante-Middle East has lambasted Philippine embassy and labor officials in Saudi Arabia for failure to provide prompt assistance to Filipino domestic worker who claimed she was abused and scalded by the mother of her Yemeni male employer, and for mishandling the case filed by the OFW against the culprit.

The group is referring to the case of household service worker Fahima Palacasi Alagasi, 23, a native of Pikit, North Cotabato.

Yesterday, M-ME Saudi-based regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona confirmed that he was able to talk with Ms. Alagasi in detail about her ordeal and other relevant information on the filing of case and what went through her case.

Below were the relevant information shared by Ms. Alagasi to M-ME’s Monterona:

March 3, 2014: Ms. Alagasi was deployed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as household domestic worker
May 4, 2014: Ms. Alagasi claimed that she was subjected to an excruciating ordeal by the mother of her Yemeni male employer who poured boiling water on her after she had dropped the water heater while making coffee.
Days after, her employer was obliged to rush her to a clinic after the scalding incident. At the clinic, a Filipina nurse contacted her sister while a cousin who was based in Riyadh helped her escaped and was brought to Bahay Kalinga, a half way shelter for abused women OFWs managed by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh.
May 29, 2015: Filing of maltreatment case by Ms. Alagasi against the mother of her male employer
January 5, 2015: 1st hearing of the case she filed against the mother of her male employer
January 19, 2015: 2nd hearing
March 19, 2015: 3rd hearing
August 16, 2015: 4th hearing

Except the 4th hearing wherein Ms. Alagasi was advised by Philippine Embassy official not to attend the hearing, she claimed she was not given a briefing during court hearings and was not properly informed of what was going on about her case.

Monterona said it took 25 days for the Philippine embassy and labor officials to assist Ms. Alagasi in filing a case against the culprit.

“From the filing of the case on May 29, 2014, it took 7 months after the 1st hearing was conducted on January 5, 2015,” Monterona observed.

Monterona confirmed that last week he was able to talk to the embassy-hired lawyer providing legal services to Ms. Alagasi.

Monterona said he had learned that there were 2 counter-cases filed by the defendant against Ms. Alagasi: 1) the labor case that was dismissed because of ‘court jurisdiction’ issue and 2) the false accusation that was being heard along the case filed by Ms. Alagasi.

“What is quite alarming is the assertion of Ms. Alagasi that she was not given proper briefing before, during, and after court hearing and update on the status of her case,” Monterona averred.

“We won’t be surprised if Ms. Alagasi’s case filed against the culprit will be dismissed and she, as a victim of maltreatment, will be sent to jail mainly because her case was messed up by inept embassy and labor officials headed by Ambassador Ezzadin Tago,” Monterona pointed out.

M-ME called on the officers and members of the House of Representatives Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA) specifically Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquioa to look into Ms. Alagasi’s case and other OFWs with pending cases in foreign courts.

The group throws support on the call made by Rep. Pacquiao for the Philippine government to have an inventory of OFWs with pending cases so that it will be properly attended.

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