A battered Filipino maid in the United Arab Emirates is getting another shot at justice after officials in Sharjah emirate decided to reopen her case.
UAE-based news site Khaleej Times reported the Sharjah Immigration is looking into the reasons why Marialyn Vinluan has not received compensation for torture she endured from her employer.
Vinluan had escaped from her Lebanese lady employer in Ajman on August 9 last year after she was beaten up, but it was not until May this year that the unpaid compensation came to light. (See: UAE-based Pinoy workers rally around battered colleague)
Maritess Bautista, a coordinator of the consulate, said immigration authorities learned that Vinluan is being forced to go home without compensation for physical and mental torture.
Bautista is assisting distressed Filipino workers in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
Major Ibrahim Hamdan, assistant investigation officer at the Sharjah Immigration, meanwhile said the papers for Vinluan’s case are now with the Chief Dispute Officer of the Immigration’s Follow-up Section.
“Hopefully, the case will be closed soon," Ibrahim said.
Vinluan and her former employer were supposed to meet on September 19 at the Follow-up Section but the meeting was rescheduled.
“Vinluan is asking for damages of Dh50,000 (P599,185). But her employer wants to pay only Dh20,000 (P239,674)," Bautista said.
Vinluan said she does not want to lower the demand as she needs to undergo further medical treatment in the Philippines.
“I still have pain in the area where my rib was broken and I get black spots around my eyes every now and then," she was quoted in the report as saying.
Last May, a court in Ajman ordered the employer and her sister to settle the unpaid salary of Vinluan, who had also worked for a month without pay under her employer’s sister.
Vinluan had said her employer kept promising to pay her unpaid salary for one year and seven months when she was working as a domestic helper for the family.
But she also said she was regularly beaten up by her lady employer for the slightest reason.
From August 9 to 24 last year, Vinluan was hospitalized at Shaikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman for a broken rib, blurred vision and severe injuries in various parts of her body.
The injuries stemmed from brutal beatings allegedly by her employer using iron cords and electrical extension wires until bits of them were embedded in her body.
“I know promises are endless. Finally, I informed Philippine Consul-General Benito B. Valeriano about my decision to go home. Maritess Bautista brought me to the Sharjah Immigration Department to get my work permit cancelled so that I could leave the UAE," Vinluan said.
“To my surprise, immigration officials wanted to arrest me for absconding. My employer in Ajman had reported me to the Sharjah Immigration, which issued my work permit, as an absconder on the same day my agency brought me to Shaikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman where I had been admitted for 12 days," she added.
Vinluan’s employer and the employer’s sister were arrested on the same day Vinluan reported to the Sharjah Immigration.
They are temporarily released pending hearing after they deposited their passports with the Sharjah Immigration.
Vinluan has been under the care of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of the Philippine Consulate since August 24, 2009.
The battered Filipina said she finally received her long-overdue salary of Dh11,800 on May 2. “They gave me a cheque of Dh8,800 (P105,456) and Dh3,000 (P35,951) in cash," Vinluan said.—Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV