Maid who accused couple of abuse recalls ordeal on her 21st birthdayBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It was a birthday present she never forgot: Being locked for 15 hours inside a “bodega” or storage room by her employers who wanted to keep her away from the prying eyes of house guests.
Bonita Baran—the housemaid who accused Reynold Marzan and his wife, Ana Liza, of maltreating her for several years until she lost most of her sight—took the stand for the first time Monday since she filed cases of serious illegal detention, attempted homicide and serious physical injuries against them in court.
In particular, she recalled that she spent her 21st birthday on March 27 this year locked up for hours in the storage room beneath the stairs of the couple’s house in Las Villas del Cielo, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City.
Her ordeal, she added, started at 7 a.m. after the doorbell rang, signaling the arrival of guests. Baran said she was herded into the meter-wide space and told to stay there. “She said that if I went out of the ‘bodega,’ she would hurt me,” she told the court, referring to Ana Liza.
Asked by public prosecutor Irene Resureccion if she knew why she had
to be locked away, Baran replied: “I was being hidden from people because they would see my wounds.”
She told the court that she just sat quietly and waited inside the dark, musty-smelling room until Ana Liza let her out at 10 p.m. It was only then that she was able to eat, Baran added.
In reply to a question about why she didn’t try to escape every time she was locked up in a toilet or the storage room, she said, “I was very afraid. She [Ana Liza] often said that if I left, she would kill me or have me jailed.”
Based on her affidavit, Baran said she started working for the Marzans on
Feb. 21, 2007, when she was still a minor. The abuses, she claimed, started the following year with Ana Liza choking her, burning her face with a hot iron and pouring cold water or bleach on her burns and wounds.
She added that from 2009 until May this year, the couple would lock her up repeatedly in the storage room or a toilet. They finally let her go after she lost most of her sight and could no longer work.