The Philippine consul general in Dubai, Frank Cimafranca, responded to our earlier story about an overseas Filipino worker who was kidnapped nine years ago and is still missing.
“Thanks for your e-mail bringing to our attention the case of OFW Jerlyn Montoya. However, I must say that the case appears to be that of a missing person whose whereabouts the next-of-kin are trying to locate. Kidnapping is a serious crime in any jurisdiction involving the abduction and illegal detention of a person against his or her will.
“If Jerlyn was indeed kidnapped, the incident should have been reported immediately to the police or to the Philippine embassy or consulate for assistance and not wait for nine years to bring the matter to the attention of the authorities. Be that as it may, we will try to locate the whereabouts of Jerlyn with the scant information that we have at the moment, i.e. her former place of work (Costa Café) and her agency in the Philippines.”
Congen Cimafranca advised the family of Montoya to report the incident to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ office for migrant worker affairs for additional information that could serve as a leads to her whereabouts.
Bantay OCW would like to thank Congen Cimafranca for his commitment to still try to locate Jerlyn despite the long delay in reporting her abduction.
Cimafranca was absolutely right to express dismay that the incident was reported only now. We raised the same question to the family.
A few years back, a Malacañang official requested Bantay OCW to locate a missing OFW, also in Dubai, which was reported to him by the family of the girl. We immediately contacted the Philippine Consulate and reported the case to then Labor Attaché (Labatt) Ching Ardevilla. The next day, Labatt Ching informed Bantay OCW that they found the OFW, but made an appeal to our program not to divulge to her family that they were able to locate her.
According to the missing OFW, she had deliberately disregarded all calls and text messages from her relatives because she was tired of their endless requests to her to send them money—the “unli-remit” (unlimited remittance) syndrome. The OFW complained that all her relatives needed was money and she felt that there was no genuine concern about her hardships working overseas.
We reported the truth to the Malacañang official who had asked for assistance.
Reader talks back
From pepito gwaps: I found Dubai an open city but they are still following their “Koran” as the basis of legislation. Any man and woman walking and talking together are under scrutiny of the Muslim Police roaming around. Actually, the law enforcer would ask them to show their marriage contract and if they fail to produce it they are arrested and put under investigation for committing the crime of adultery. Authorities know if the couple are guilty because the police are using DNA testing to determine if they had sexual intercourse in the recent past. And according to this column, Jerlyn gave birth to a child and for that I’m very sure that there is no need for DNA testing. The Dubai government could arrest them for being in that situation… Her story of being locked up maybe true but once they are discovered by any local, for sure they would be reported to the police and they could be apprehended for no matter what their reasons, being together outside marriage is already an offense in Shariah law. It is common there that a woman giving birth and buying medicine needs a doctor’s supervision and prescriptions so from there she could be discovered by law enforcers already. I, therefore conclude that Jerlyn might be languishing inside the Dubai jail or being restricted to a house where she and the child cannot go out anymore to hide the crime of that man alone or both of them together. Every person in Dubai has an ID and proper document to stay and even a prisoner is given the right to call their relatives. For her not to call her family is very disturbing and something fishy is going on… Whether Jerlyn is inside the Dubai jail or not, I firmly suggest to the Philippine embassy to ask the Dubai authorities to give them full access to Filipino prisoners. They should give the prisoners some cash and ensure all of them call their relatives in the Philippines. My friend has told me there are a lot of Pinoy’s out there waiting for friends to visit them and offer any assistance.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon & 12:30-2:00 p.m. with audio/video live streaming: www.dziq.am Studio: 2/F MRP Bldg., Mola St., cor. Pasong Tirad St., Makati City. Helpline: 0927-6499870/ 0920-9684700/E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com