Press Release
November 14, 2011

Villar asks DFA to hasten report on repatriated slain OFW
with missing body parts

OFW's sis makes a courtesy call at the Senate

Senator Manny Villar renews his call on the Department of Foreign Affairs for an explanation/report on why the repatriated remains of OFW murder victim Romilyn Ibanez had incomplete body parts.

Cotabato-based Mira Ibanez, the sister of the deceased OFW, personally sought the help of Villar as she visited the senator's office. She expressed her family's continued agony over the death of her sister, aggravated by the inaction of concerned government agencies regarding the matter.

"Marami pang katanungan sa isip namin at patuloy itong bumabagabag sa amin. Kailangan namin ng closure at hustisya para sa kapatid ko (There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered and these continue to bother us. We need closure and justice for my sister)," said Ibanez, who is an OFW herself.

For his part, Villar said he would do everything in his power to continue to help the Ibanez family. He earlier urged the DFA to disclose the forensic and police reports surrounding Romilyn's gruesome death.

"Romilyn's family really needs to know the details and circumstances surrounding her death. Her death also calls our attention to inadequate policies to protect our OFWs and the need for a better repatriation procedure. I would again communicate with the DFA regarding this matter," said Villar.

Villar also earlier filed Senate Resolution 604 "urging the Committees on Foreign Relations, Justice and Human Rights, and Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the increasing incidents of OFW murders and those killed with ignominy with the end in view of formulating policies to protect OFW's as well as formulating better repatriation procedure and a relevant system of giving assistance to them"

The slain OFW was found dead in September 2010 on the kitchen floor of her employer's house in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Based on medical records, she died due to acid ingestion and multiple stab wounds. A bottle of sulfuric acid was found near her body. Ibanez's repatriated body was missing a tongue and an eye. It took a year for the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia to work for the repatriation of Romilyn's remains.

Last year, Ambassador Antonio Villamor discussed Ibanez's case with Prince Mohammad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz al Saud, emir of the Eastern province who assured him that the case would be resolved. Last February, the Philippine Embassy allegedly received copies of the police and forensic reports from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs but no further details have been disclosed since then.

Villar also questioned the use of the DFA's legal assistance fund and would like DFA Undersecretary Esteban Conejos to explain before the Senate how much of it was spent to ensure that justice was served in the Romilyn Ibanez's case.

He also stressed the need for the DFA and POEA to explain whether charges were filed against the recruitment agencies in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia that conspired to bring Ibanez to Saudi Arabia.

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