Maltreated maid claims being locked up for 3 yearsBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The maid who has accused her employers of maltreating her until she went blind said the couple she served conspired to lock her up in their home for close to three years.
During her Monday testimony in the court of branch 77 Judge Germano Francisco Legaspi, which was hearing the petition of the accused couple for bail, Bonita Baran said that when Ana Liza Marzan locked her up inside the house at Las Villas del Cielo, Visayas Avenue, her husband, Reynold, consented to it.
When defense counsel Joel Ferrer raised more clarificatory questions, Baran told the court in Filipino, “Ana Liza locked me up. Reynold consented to it. He knew.”
She further maintained that whenever the couple left, they locked her up inside the house.
The Marzans have been accused of conspiring to unlawfully detain Baran inside their home from June 2009 to May 2012.
When the defense counsel asked Baran if she was ever able to leave the house during her employment, she said that she was able to before the maltreatment by the Marzans started. But in those instances, she said, she was in the company of Ana Liza or the entire Marzan family.
Asked to describe the locks installed at the only door of the Marzan house, Baran said that the main door had four locks, inside and out. One inside the door was a double lock, which required a key to open.
“You might be able to turn and unlock the door knob from inside and twist a lock open under it but there is a double lock on top. You would need a key to open it,” Baran explained.
When Ferrer emphasized that he had been asking about being inside the door going out, a seemingly exasperated Baran said, “You twist the door knob from inside, it is unlocked but it still will not open because there are still other locks. There is a lock you twist at the bottom, it gets unlocked but there is still the double lock on the upper part (of the door). You cannot get out without a key. You need a key. It will not open without the key. It is like that.”
Both the defense and the prosecution asked that the continuation of the cross-examination be deferred until Wednesday afternoon after Baran displayed signs of nausea right after she recounted the mechanism of the door locks.
Legaspi set the continuation on Wednesday and said that the petition for bail would be resolved by November 20.
Meanwhile, Judge Legaspi denied a request of Ana Liza Marzan to seek medical treatment outside of the Quezon City Jail Female Dormitory. He also turned down a motion filed by the defendant’s lawyer to allow them to inspect the house where the maid said she was locked up and subjected to abuse by the suspect and her husband.
In both resolutions dated October 12, Legaspi cited the lack of testimonial or documentary proof presented to support couple Ana Liza and Reynold Marzan’s requests.
In denying the defense motion for ocular inspection of the house at 75 Las Villas del Cielo along Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, the judge said that the request was premature since the prosecution had not ended its presentation of evidence in the hearings for the bail petition.
“If the defense wants to use the physical appearance and location of the rooms inside the house as their evidence in contradicting the testimony of the complainant (Bonita Baran), the proper time to ask for an ocular inspection would be during the presentation of its evidence,” the judge said.
He said that during the defense presentation of evidence, they could have a witness testify on the condition of the house and its rooms during Baran’s alleged detention.
Legaspi pointed out that neither an assurance by the Marzan couple’s lawyers that nothing was altered inside the house nor an ocular inspection without a witness testimony would suffice.
Judge Legaspi turned down Ana Liza Marzan’s request for medical treatment outside the Quezon City Jail after she failed to cite a compelling reason for it.
Legaspi said that while Marzan was able to present the results of a laboratory examination and a doctor’s certification of her kidney ailment, the doctor did not recommend medical examination or treatment.
“No explanation was made in the motion as to the nature of accused’s disease and its effect on her physical condition. Accused did not even correlate the results of her laboratory examination to her disease,” the judge said.
He further explained, “Accused failed to give the reason why the medical examination and attention she seeks should be done in a hospital of her own choice. She did not identify in her motion the medical procedure and facilities which she needs and which the Quezon City Jail lacks or cannot extend to her.”