Did woman jump off ship or fall into the sea?By Norman V. Mendoza
Cebu Daily News
She was seen crying and looking depressed on an inter-island vessel bound for Surigao del Norte before she disappeared last week.
The body of 39-year-old Ma. Grethel Enas of Mandaue City was found floating yesterday in Hilongos, Leyte province.
She wore a ring that identified her as a member of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), a religious group that reveres Ruben Ecleo Jr. as their supreme master.
Nobody actually saw the woman jump off the M/V Pilipinas Maasin of Cokaliong Shipping Lines and she left no suicide note.
The boat captain initially reported to the Coast Guard that a passenger had disappeared and may have jumped overboard.
Enas’ death remains a mystery, even as family members insist that while the mother of three had personal troubles she had no reason to kill herself.
Elder sister Ma. Gladys Teves, 41, said they last talked over the phone on Monday and that there was no hint of plans to commit suicide.
Teves said her younger sister told her she was going to visit their mother in San Jose town in Dinagat province for a vacation.
When the elder sister suggested finding a companion for the trip, Enas insisted she could manage on her own.
Enas left Cebu on Tuesday night on a vessel bound for Surigao via Maasin, Leyte. She didn’t bring a cell phone.
She and her husband have three children and run a retail store and Internet shop in barangay Tingub, Mandaue City.
Teves recalled that her sister mentioned in their last conversation that she wanted to relax and take a break because some people in their business operation envied them.
Teves confirmed that her younger sister was a PBMA member but said the husband was not and neither was Teves, who is based in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental.
Teves also recalled that her sister once consulted a quack doctor about goiter-like symptoms and was told that somebody close to her had placed a curse on her, which could be bothered the woman.
A fellow passenger, Remy Bati-on, who was interviewed when the ship arrived in Cebu on Thursday, said he noticed the woman looked depressed and remained silent. They didn’t converse with each other.
Another passenger, a certain Police Insp. Almirante assigned in Badian town, Cebu, said he alerted a ship crew member to keep an eye on the woman because she was acting unusual. He said he saw her crying at one point during the trip.
The boat captain reported the woman’s disappearance to the the Philippine Coast Guard.
Teves was able to speak to both fellow passengers in her pursuit of the truth of her sister’s disappearance.
By Wednesday, when the Mandaue-based mother did not show up in Dinagat, her worried sister contacted Enas’ husband Olivo in Cebu but the man said he didn’t know where his wife was.
Teves arrived in Cebu Thursday night with their mother to look for her. They asked neighbors if they had seen Enas.
Teves said her younger sister had hinted of having a problem with her spouse during their last phone call on Monday but gave no details.
The husband denied there was any big trouble in their marriage.
A funeral house in Hilongos, Leyte province confirmed the recovery of the woman’s body in barangay Bontoc.
Today, the family will go to the Cebu City pier to meet the vessel bringing her sister’s remains home. With a report from Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus