Investigation urged on OFW’s death in Bahrain

“All she wanted was to go home.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Migrante – Middle East is calling on the Philippine government to investigate the alleged suicide of a Filipino woman inside the shelter ran by the embassy in Bahrain.

“We are calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ), in coordination with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to probe the alleged suicide of OFW Ilagan. This should not easily be declared as a suicide without conducting a thorough investigation,” John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante – Middle East, said.

Migrante – Middle East, in its statement, said they have received an email about the death of a Filipino woman in the shelter. The OFW was later on identified as Kathleen Ann Ilagan, 31, who used to work as a pastry chef in a local company based there. She was deployed by HRD Employment Consultant and Multi Services Inc., a recruitment company based in Manila.

Her relatives told Migrante – Middle East that she left her job and stayed at the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain, where she requested repatriation.

But for Monterona, the mere fact that the incident happened inside the shelter makes it merit an independent probe. He added that he found the situation “puzzling.”

The initial police report said Ilagan committed suicide. But Monterona, quoting the relatives of Ilagan, said “(they ) could not believe it because they said she had no serious problem that would drive her to take her own life.”

“All she wanted was to go home,” he added, quoting Ilagan’s relative as saying.

Monterona said the Aquino administration should “ensure our OFWs protection onsite.”

Another autopsy

Meanwhile, Ilagan’s remains arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 11:00 am on April 16. Monterona said in a separate statement that it was Ilagan’s sister who confirmed the news to him.

The Ilagan family, he said, “doubted the police report” they received from the Philippine embassy in Bahrain. He added that the family finds it hard to believe that Ilagan could have “fatally hanged herself from a doorknob.”

Along with Ilagan’s remains are her death certificate, a police report and other papers related to the repatriation formalities, he said.

“Yes, we have plans to have another autopsy for her remains. We are still preparing for it,” Micheileen, Ilagan’s sister, told Monterona in a text message.

Monterona said the family is “puzzled by the swift repatriation” of Ilagan’s remains, adding that the repatriation process would usually take three to six months. But Ilagan’s remains was repatriated in a matter of two to three days.

Hacktivists deface embassy website

Hacktivists, for their part, defaced the website of the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain. GMAnews reported that the said website greeted its visitors, at around 5:00 a.m. last April 13, with a pop-up message that read “Justice for Kathleen Ann Ilagan.”

Clicking the “Ok” button, the same report read, would take its readers to another web page with a black ribbon that calls for justice for Ilagan.

“To all government authorities and all political candidates who oath to serve and protect the rights of each citizens… this is the right time to do your actions,” the hacktivists’ message read.

“The family of OFW Ilagan in Davao is seeking justice and we will join and actively campaign for it,” Monterona said. ()

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