Pay after the pain: P800 a month
‘Tortured DH ready to fight’By Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Even the so-called minimum wage hell is heaven compared to what she got.
On top of the torments that left her bruised and blind allegedly at the hands of her former employers, the 21-year-old woman who last week filed criminal charges against a Quezon City couple had received a mere salary of P800 a month.
Still, Bonita Baran never failed to send the money to her mother, according to Persida Rueda-Acosta, head of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) which helped the Catanduanes native press charges in the city prosecutor’s office.
“Animals are better off because there’s the Animal Welfare Act. How about our househelp who are paid low wages, without benefits, and are even beaten up by their employers?” Acosta told the Inquirer in an interview Friday.
In the case of Baran, she was paid only P800 a month even though the going rate for maids in Metro Manila is around P3,500, the PAO chief said.
Almost completely blind after years of abuse, Baran on Thursday sued Reynold and Analiza Marzan of Las Villas del Cielo, Visayas Avenue, for attempted murder, physical injuries and serious illegal detention.
Baran can no longer work on account of her injuries and now stays at an undisclosed location somewhere in Bulacan with her sister and mother, Acosta said.
“She’s blind in the right eye from repeated punches and the left eye is 10-percent working. She can no longer work, not in that condition.”
The Quezon City prosecutors office set the first hearing for the preliminary investigation of the case on Aug. 9. Assistant City Prosecutor Ronaldo Torrijos has issued a subpoena for the Marzan couple.
“We hope they will show up to answer the charges,” Acosta said, adding that Baran’s case should serve as a warning to other abusive employers.
Baran alleged that Analiza Marzan repeatedly punched her in the eyes, burned her face with a flat iron, wounded her with a knife or a pair of scissors, and once even tried to make her swallow cockroaches.
Reynold, the husband, was included in the complaints as an accessory for purportedly tolerating his wife’s cruelty on Baran, who started working for the couple in February 2007.
Acosta expressed confidence that the cases will reach the courts, saying Baran was a very credible person who could recount the details her ordeal from memory.
As a test, the lawyer said, Baran was asked by PAO lawyers if she could still identify her former employers despite her blindness. The woman replied: “If I hear their voice, I will know it’s them.”
“She is very brave. She said she will now fight to right the wrongs and stop the abuses against domestic helpers like her who are suffering the same fate,” Acosta said.