x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Death fall raises suspicions

$SUBT_ON$$SUBT_OFF$ $SUBT_ON$Philippine Embassy urged to investigate case of housemaid$SUBT_OFF$

Mrs Vergara, 34, arrived in Abu Dhabi on June 8 to work as a housemaid for an Emirati family. She died on June 24.
Mrs Vergara, 34, arrived in Abu Dhabi on June 8 to work as a housemaid for an Emirati family. She died on June 24.

ABU DHABI // A migrants-rights group is urging the Philippine Embassy to investigate the death of a woman who fell from a high-rise building in Khalidiya last month. Maria Mitos Vergara, a Filipina, fell from the eighth storey of the new Standard Chartered building as visitors to the bank looked on. Nhel Morona, the secretary-general for Migrante-UAE, said the embassy should to examine the circumstances leading to Mrs Vergara's death.

The woman's husband, Vicente Barrun, refused to believe that his wife had committed suicide, he said. "If the Philippine Embassy is also in doubt [of the circumstances] of her death, why did it not conduct its own investigation and arrange to secure the post-mortem report?" Mr Morona said, adding that such evidence would enable the victim's family to file a case against the person they believed to be responsible for Mrs Vergara's death.

Noel Servigon, the consul-general at the Philippine Embassy, said the embassy was awaiting the release of the police report. It had requested assistance from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and "as soon as the police report is made available, the embassy shall consider various alternative courses of action, including possible further investigation". Mrs Vergara, 34, arrived in Abu Dhabi on June 8 to work as a housemaid for an Emirati family. She died on June 24.

Her body arrived at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Monday. The sponsor assumed the repatriation costs, said Mr Servigon. Meanwhile, the Philippine Consulate in Dubai is looking into the death of Jeffrey Alberto So, 25, a Filipino, who reportedly committed suicide by leaping from the fourth floor of a building in Dubai on June 24. The man died 11 days after his arrival in Dubai on June 13.

"His family in the Philippines has requested us to investigate," said Edwin Mendoza, the vice-consul at the consulate. "We will ask his company or those responsible in bringing him here to provide us with information." Mr Mendoza said the consulate had issued a no-objection certificate for the repatriation of the victim's body. His remains arrived in Manila on July 5. @Email:rruiz@thenational.ae