DMW confirms death of OFW in Saudi; probe starts
The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is investigating the circumstances behind the death of a 32-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW), whose body was found recently in Saudi Arabia.
Marjorette Gonzales Garcia, who started working in Saudi Arabia in 2021, was the latest OFW who died in the Middle East after 35-year-old Jullebee Ranara was found dead in a desert in Kuwait on Jan. 2 this year. Forensic investigation revealed Ranara was raped, murdered and burned by her employer’s 17-year-old son.
“The DMW, through its Migrant Workers Office in Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia (MWO-Al Khobar) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa), are working in coordination with the Philippine Embassy as well as local police authorities in an ongoing investigation [of Garcia’s death],” the agency said in a statement on Monday.
It added that it was also working for the immediate return of Garcia’s remains to the Philippines.
“The DMW extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of OFW Marjorette. We assure them of our continuing support during their time of grief and in the ongoing investigation,” it said.
In a television interview, DMW officer in charge Hans Leo Cacdac said he could not confirm whether Garcia had been stabbed, saying they were still waiting for the results of the investigation by Saudi authorities.
But he assured Garcia’s family that “justice will be delivered.”
“Rest assured if the Saudi authorities find there had been wrongdoing or crime committed against Marjorette, then we will seek justice [to] the full extent of the law under Saudi law,” said Cacdac.
Garcia’s family earlier reached out to Owwa, whose officials said that they were coordinating with other agencies to help in the investigation and bring the victim’s body home.
In the case of Ranara, the Kuwaiti minor arrested for her murder had been found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced in September.
Aside from imprisonment for the killing, the 17-year-old son of Ranara’s employer was also sentenced to serve a year behind bars for driving without a license.
The DFA noted that the accused could still appeal the decision in the next 30 days, adding that “the lesser penalties meted were due to the accused being a minor.”
Ranara was reported missing on Jan. 22, and was later found dead by the roadside in the desert.
Her body was burned and her head bashed open when found. Kuwaiti media cited an autopsy report saying Ranara was also raped and was pregnant at the time she was killed.
Two days after the body was found, her employer’s son was arrested and detained by the Kuwaiti police. INQ