Senate panel seeks protection of abused maid after attack on witness | Inquirer News

Senate panel seeks protection of abused maid after attack on witness

/ 09:15 PM September 13, 2023

Senate panel seeks protection of abused maid after attack on witness

Sen. Francis “Tol” Tolentino says the employers of household helper Elvie Vergara, who suffered severe battery and maltreatment resulting in her partial blindness, committed a continuing crime when she was transferred and continued to work at the house of the employers’ daughter in Batangas City. Senate PRIB file photo / Voltaire Domingo

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino said the upper chamber is looking at putting domestic helper Elvie Vergara under the witness protection program of the Department of Justice.

This comes after “Dodong,” the main witness to the alleged maltreatment that Vergara suffered at the hands of her employers, was attacked by a gunman.


“Si Manang Elvie, hindi ko na idi-discuss ito [at] baka ma-compromise ang kanyang seguridad, [pero] sinusubukan natin ngayon na ipasok sa witness protection program. May proseso lang ‘yun,” Tolentino told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday.


(For Manang Elvie, I will not discuss this because her security might be compromised, [but] we are now trying to subject her into a witness protection program. There’s just a process to it.)

To recall, it was also Tolentino who disclosed that “Dodong” is already safe and “secure” following the shooting incident that transpired at around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

In August, the Senate committee on justice and human rights, which Tolentino chairs, commenced its motu proprio inquiry into the alleged maltreatment and severe battery of Vergara.

The helper was reportedly subjected to physical and emotional abuse by her employers from 2020 to 2023, resulting in her partial blindness and other injuries.

Meanwhile, in his manifestation delivered during a plenary session on Wednesday, Senator Jinggoy Estrada reiterated that it is necessary to also provide additional security for Dodong, his current employers, as well as aliases “JM” and “Patrick” – the two other individuals who can testify on Vergara’s case.

“Protecting the witnesses is not just a legal obligation, it is a moral imperative. By upholding this duty, we not only promote the principles of fairness and equality, ensure an environment where they can testify freely and without fear and foster a culture where the voices of those silenced but willing to stand up for the truth are heard regardless of their social standing and circumstances,” said Estrada.


“After all, it is a small matter to provide security for their safety if in exchange is the presentation of the truth against those who violate our existing laws and for the promotion of more appropriate policies,” he added in Filipino.


Witness in alleged maltreatment of maid survives shooting

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TAGS: attack, gunman, protection, Senate, Witness

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