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DFA assures assistance for raped OFW in jail

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DFA assures assistance for raped OFW in jail

/ 06:15 AM June 03, 2011

WE WISH to clarify some issues regarding the overseas Filipino worker named Angelica, whose plight was referred to in Rina Jimenez-David’s May 11 column (“Missing Hillary and helping Angelica”).

We certainly appreciate David’s focus on gender issues, and join her in the advocacy to provide better protection and equal opportunities for women. Thus, we here at the Department of Foreign Affairs and in our 94 embassies and consulates general around the world work hard in ensuring that the rights and welfare of Filipino nationals overseas are well protected, particularly women who are more vulnerable to abuse.

Even before Angelica’s story was reported in the media, the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai was already extending assistance to her. Consulate personnel constantly visit her in jail, follow up on her case with local authorities and continually work for her release. She is also aided by counsel and assisted by consulate representatives in her court hearings.

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As she confirmed with consulate officials, an Iranian she met at a party in December 2010 took advantage of her, and called in another Iranian posing as a police officer who also took liberties with her.

Her money, phone and camera were taken by these two malefactors, and she was told by the bogus police officer that she can claim them at a police station. What is tragic is that when she went to the police station, she was taken into custody on immorality charges, for being with adult male individual/s not her husband or relative, which is strictly prohibited under local laws.

However, the media reports that she continues to be raped while in detention is not true. Angelica herself denied that before consulate officers and family members whom she later spoke to. Consulate officials have reasons to believe her, as it is also highly unlikely that anyone will be sexually abused in that particular prison. Female detainees have separate sections from male detainees, are guarded and supervised by an all-female prison staff, and the facility itself abounds with security cameras.

Angelica’s case has progressed along. The Iranian who posed as a police officer was apprehended and is currently in jail, while authorities are hot in pursuit of the other Iranian malefactor. Angelica is facing charges, but a court verdict is expected soon. Immorality offenses usually carry a penalty of three to six months imprisonment.

Even if the expected penalty is relatively light, it is not right that she is where she is at present. Thus, our consulate in Dubai has been working double time to secure her release, and continually prod local authorities on the apprehension of the other suspect and their prosecution to answer for their dastardly crimes.

—J. EDUARDO MALAYA,

spokesperson, Department of Foreign Affairs

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TAGS: Angelica, Dubai, overseas employment, Prison, Rape
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