Last June, we wrote about the case of Jerlyn Montoya, an overseas worker who supposedly went missing a day after her arrival in Dubai in 2004.
According to the victim’s family, she was apparently abducted after having one too many drinks at her welcome party by another Filipino. Her family claimed she managed to call them to inform them that she was abducted by this man but the call was cut short. In the succeeding months, the story the family pieced together was that Jerlyn had become the man’s sex slave and got pregnant as a result.
When asked why it took them nine years to report the incident, the victim’s family said they simply just believed Jerlyn would suddenly come home one day.
Bantay OCW immediately contacted Consul General Frank Cimafranca of the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, who then promised to look into the reported disappearance of Jerlyn.
Upon reading about Jerlyn in the Inquirer, the victim’s agency, IPAMS, and its Employee Relations Manager Maria Isabel Domingo searched and confirmed that Montoya had been sent to Dubai, UAE last September 11, 2006 (as opposed to the family’s claim of 2004) to be employed at Maritime Mercantile International (MMI).
According to the Emirates Leisure Rental (ELR), Montoya was not “missing” but reported for work at MMI from her starting date up to her resignation on April 12, 2007.
Montoya was then reported to have flown to Bangkok on April 17, 2007.
Bantay OCW called the Philippine embassy in Thailand. Vice Consul Jay Alcantara confirmed that Montoya was recorded to have entered Bangkok on that date. When then asked if Montoya had left Bangkok, Alcantara said he had not yet received a response from the Thai Immigration. He said it would probably take time before they can locate the records of Montoya because the case happened seven years ago. Also, 2006-2008 were transition years for the Thai Immigration and Airport authorities because it was when they opened their new airport at Suvarnabhumi from Dopn Muang (old airport).
“While we are waiting for the response from the Thai immigration, we’re drafting a communication to our posts in the Asean to check if they have received a passport renewal application from Ms Montoya. We’re looking for all possible leads from all parties,” Alcantara said.
Although we cannot close this case yet, several questions have been answered already. It was confirmed that Montoya left Dubai in 2007, contrary to the knowledge of the family. It was also stated in the records that she entered Dubai in 2006 and not in 2004.
As of this writing, we are still waiting for the investigation of our Philippine embassy in Thailand if Jerlyn left Bangkok or not. Once it is confirmed that Montoya has not yet left, the search will be focused in Bangkok.
Our embassy there said they are doing everything they can to help find the missing OFW. Montoya’s family has asked for our prayers and thanked everyone for their support. They would also like to extend their gratitude to everyone who helped.
Seaman is back but…
JA is married to a seafarer and they have one child. But when his ship docked on June 29, the husband did not come home. JA was shocked to learn that her husband went straight to another home, to the arms of his mistress. It turned out that the extramarital affair bore a child.
Though she’s nursing a broken heart, she finds strength in the company of her child. If she had her way, however, she would not want her husband to work abroad again as she fears that he might stop sending her financial support.
According to lawyer Elvin Villanueva, who has written a book entitled “Guidelines on the Rights of the OFW,” a seaman is free to allot money from his salary and send it to whomever he likes. It does not necessary mean that 80 percent of his salary should be automatically allotted to the wife. The seafarer has other obligations too, Villanueva said. But part of his responsibility as the head of the family is to provide financial support for his children and to send them to school. If the wife cannot work due to disability or sickness, it’s the duty of the husband to support her as well.
Villanueva advised JA to file a case in court if the husband does not fulfill his support obligations. On her request to stop her husband from leaving and working abroad, only a court order can do that, Villanueva added.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon 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