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Lawmaker calls for new probe on death of Filipina in Dubai

/ 04:45 PM May 29, 2013

Representative Walden Bello

MANILA, Philippines—A reinvestigation on the death of overseas Filipino worker Alona Bagayan must be conducted, after autopsy reports cast doubt on official findings from Dubai that she had committed suicide there by jumping from the fifth floor of a building, Akbayan partylist Rep. Walden Bello said on Tuesday.

Bello said that based on the forensic report from Dubai, as well as the autopsy findings of the National Bureau of Investigation, Bagayan bore other injuries such as a cut on her wrist and stab wounds on her neck and abdomen, which could have caused her death even before she had fallen from a building on February 5.

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And yet despite these facts, the official finding from Dubai was that Bagayan had committed suicide in February, when she was just on her fifth day of working in the middle eastern city as a domestic helper, Bello added.

“Let us face it.What we are looking at here strongly indicates not suicide but foul play,” Bello said in a press briefing.

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Bello proposed that the United Arab Emirates reinvestigate the death jointly with the NBI, and urged the Department f Foreign Affairs to also pursue the matter.

Bagayan’s sister Maricel, in the same briefing, also called on the government to pursue the reinvestigation, saying many questions surrounding the death of her sibling have remained unanswered.

Maricel said her elder sister, a mother of four who decided to work abroad to give her family a better life, had no reason to kill herself and was not depressed.

She also took note of her her sister’s numerous injuries that she apparently acquired before her supposedly fatal plunge.

“A person cannot kill herself several times,” she said.

Bello said the forensic report from Dubai noted that Bagayan’s right forearm had been slit, and that this was considered sufficient in itself for the loss of life. Also found were stab wounds on her abdomen, which caused intestinal injuries sufficient in itself to cause her death.

Yet despite these findings, the conclusion of Dubai officials was that Bagayan had committed suicide, Bello said.

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The same wounds were also confirmed by an NBI autopsy report, and the latter’s finding was that the cause of Bagayan’s death was “uncertain,” he noted.

“It already strikes me as scarcely credible that Alona Bagayan would decide to stab herself several times on the neck and abdomen in order to kill herself, a form of suicide that is extremely uncommon. What is even more unbelievable is the Dubai police report’s contention that the subject chose to kill herself via three methods,” he said.

These three methods were the cutting of her right forearm, stabbing herself, and then walking from the bathroom to the balcony to jump from her death.

There was also no suicide note found.

Wilson Fortaleza of the Partido Manggagawa said he was able to see Bagayan’s body before the NBI autopsy and her slashed arm and stab wounds looked severe enough to have caused her death.

Bello, citingt the contents of the police report, said a knife was found in the bathroom of the residence where Bagayan was, but it did not say whose fingerprints were found on the object. The report made no mention of investigating the whereabouts and actions of her employer Khalifa Khadim Suroor Almeasam Alfalasi.

The police did not consider the angle that Bagayan’s death could have been a homicide or murder, a standard operating procedure in criminal investigations, he said. The police report did not discuss what could have pushed Bagayan to kill herself when she was not even depressed as she had been looking forward to working in Dubai.

Maricel also said the family did not know anything about the background of Bagayan’s employer or her contract, and that this information had been hard to come by even after they had requested for a copy of the contract from the agency that recruited her.

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TAGS: Akbayan partylist, Alona Bagayan, death of an overseas Filipino worker, Domestic Helpers, Dubai, Global Nation, household service workers, Overseas Filipino workers, overseas work, police investigation, suicide, Walden Bello
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