Family of dead OFW asks PNoy to order probe on her death

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/01 June)–The family here of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who died in Bahrain about two months ago asked President Benigno Aquino III to order a deeper investigation into the cause of her death.

According to the Philippine embassy in Bahrain, Kathleen Ann Viray-Ilagan, 31, a pastry chef, was found dead inside the embassy premises last April 8 at around 3 a.m. The report, issued the day after her death and with the attached report of the Bahrain police, claimed she died of suicide “by hanging herself at a door knob at the back of the embassy shelter.”

Helena Virginia Viray recently wrote a letter to the President urging him to order an investigation into her daughter’s death.

“The written reports we got from the embassy, together with the other documents they gave us, created more doubts than answers. Only a formal investigation would give us the answers we need and we hope that our request for justice into my daughter’s death would not fall on deaf ears,” Viray said.

Viray doubted her daughter committed a suicide.

“There was no formal investigation. The embassy quickly facilitated the return of my daughter’s body even before an autopsy can be made. How can they have concluded her cause of death with just a shallow preliminary investigation? There was no motive behind her so-called suicide. In fact she was very eager to come back home and be with us and her three children,” she said.

Viray said her daughter had wanted to leave her work place and abruptly end her contract.

“Kathleen told me in our conversation that there was a tension building up between her and the other Filipino domestic helpers. She feared that if she won’t leave right away, things would escalate. I’ve talked with her boss on the phone and we even agreed to the fees she had to pay for the abrupt termination of the contract,” Viray said.

Viray said she believes that there was a “big cover-up” in her daughter’s death, so she requested the government to conduct an investigation.

“I hope the President would look into this to give justice to my daughter and also to other OFWs who would fall victim to such situation. She went to the embassy believing they would shelter her from harm, yet they were powerless in protecting her. They (embassy) did not even bother to contact us after or even shared more valuable information to alleviate our concerns and questions,” she said.

The family has tried several times to communicate with the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain through email and telephone calls, but their queries and request for further proof, such as photos of the crime scene, were unanswered.

MindaNews also emailed the Philippine embassy in Bahrain for comments but got no reply as of late Saturday afternoon. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)