A migrant workers group has called on the government to investigate the death under mysterious circumstances of a Filipino domestic helper in Mongolia last year.
Migrante International said Terril Atienza, 34—believed to have been a victim of illegal recruiters—died a few days after telling her family in the Philippines she wanted to go home because she was overworked and underpaid.
Atienza’s remains arrived in the country on Dec. 9, 2011. An autopsy performed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showed bruises and burns over her entire body. Her heart and portions of other internal organs were missing. A rag had been stuffed in the body.
“We believe, based on the condition of Atienza’s body and the autopsy conducted by the NBI, that foul play was involved. We fully support Atienza’s family in calling for justice and due punishment for her murderer,” said Migrante chairman Garry Martinez in a press conference.
Atienza’s daughter Nyrrel said her mother was supposed to meet with a friend on Nov. 19, 2011, but the friend was told by her employer that Atienza was sick. On Nov. 21, the employer e-mailed Atienza’s recruitment agency in Manila informing it that her body was in a morgue.
Martinez said the autopsy report from Mongolia indicated that Atienza had died of “severe intoxication from an unknown source.” The NBI autopsy, however, showed Atienza had cardiovascular disease and had sustained a stab wound, although it was not established what actually caused her death.
According to Migrante, Atienza told her family and friends in her correspondence that she was being maltreated by her employer, Sergelen Davaakhu, said to be a diplomat and son of a former Mongolian prime minister.
Atienza told her family her employer was often drunk and held rowdy nightly parties in his home. He forbade her from using her mobile phone and laptop. She said she decided to return to the Philippines after she hadn’t been paid her wages for three months.
Migrante said Atienza was trafficked to Singapore to work as a domestic in January 2010. In June 2011, she told her family she wanted to return home but her recruiter flew her to Mongolia instead to finish her two-year contract with a new employer.