DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/22 September)—After three months, the body of Marianne Aguilar Jimenez, 34, arrived here Friday from Qatar, where she worked as a household helper.
She was reported to have died of severe burns last June 17, a month after her deployment there.
According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Doha, Jimenez, a resident of this city, was found inside the maid’s room, rushed to the hospital but passed away the next day
The body of the victim arrived with her travel documents, passport and plane ticket. But strangely, there were no accompanying reports of the police investigation or the autopsy.
Her husband, Jason Jimenez, 34, told reporters at the Cosmopolitan funeral house here that the OWWA Region 11 informed them that the Philippine embassy in Qatar has the reports.
Gil Lebria of Migrante International, which helped facilitate the return of the body and is assisting the Jimenez case, said the Philippine embassy in Qatar told them that the repatriation of Jimenez was delayed due to Ramadan.
Ramadan this year was mainly observed from July 20 to August 18.
“It is a common reason of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine embassy,” he said, but noted that even during Ramadan, people in Qatar still work six hours a day.
Authorities intended “to let the issue cool down by delaying the repatriation,” but they cannot keep it discreet because “this is a big case,” Lebria claimed.
Jimenez said his wife was murdered, as it is “impossible” that she died due to accident, let alone suicide.
He pointed out that last June 18, Marianne’s employer talked to him over the phone informing him about her death. The employer told him the cause of her death was electrocution, Jimenez said.
But based on the statement of the Qatari government, which Jimenez learned from OWWA-11, Marianne’s room was being treated for termites and repainted so it was locked for about four days with the chemicals and paints inside.
On the day she supposedly got burned, Jimenez continued, she asked for the key to her room from a male co-worker to get something. A few minutes later, the people outside heard an explosion, then saw fire and smoke coming from the room.
Before the termite treatment and repainting, Marianne’s things were removed, the husband said, so “there was no reason for her to get something inside.”
Jimenez, after seeing the body, said Marianne did not shrink like that of a severely burned person and that her face is still recognizable.
He said Marianne called home a day before she died and asked for the conditions of her children—two girls and a boy at 13, 9 and 6 years old, respectively.
Jimenez recalled that his wife had mentioned that the daughter of her employer allegedly has a bad attitude. He advised her to come home immediately if her employers would even just attempt to hurt her.
The wife did not tell him she had any problem with her employer at the time, perhaps because she does not want the family to be worried, Jimenez said.
Migrante’s Lebria said the DFA should have filed a case against the Qatari government so that a thorough investigation would be conducted.
He also urged the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to file cases against the Experts Placement Agency and the Al Sadaf Manpower Recruitment, the local and foreign employment agencies, respectively, of the dead OFW.
Their licenses can be revoked if found erring, Lebria said. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)