x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Embassy: rape e-mail a hoax

Officials have dismissed a mail alleging two Filipinas were gang-raped by Pakistanis behind the Marina Mall area in the capital.

ABU DHABI // An e-mail claiming that two Filipinas were gang-raped by Pakistanis behind Marina Mall is a hoax, Philippine Embassy officials say. The e-mail, which was written mostly in Tagalog, one of the native languages of the Philippines, and made the rounds of the Filipino community, said one of the women had died and the other was being treated at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

"We had this investigated and there's no such incident," said Adelio Angelito Cruz, the embassy's consul general. "There's no one at Sheikh Khalifa or in the morgue." The e-mail said the incident happened on February 20. It said the information came from a female staff member at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. The writer urged the new Philippine ambassador to the UAE, Grace Princesa, and Father Troy de los Santos, the Filipino priest at St Joseph's Cathedral, to emphasise awareness and vigilance among overseas Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi.

The e-mail also claimed that two other Filipinas were raped in Musaffah last January. "The intention of warning our women to be careful is clear and good," Mr Cruz said. "But one should not send a report if it is unverified." Ms Princesa said she was dismayed by the hoax. "Nasser Munder, our labour attaché who's a lawyer and a former judge, says these are based on hearsay," she told community leaders at a monthly meeting at the embassy on Friday.

"But I want to know the origin of this e-mail and I'd like to speak to this person." Nhel Morona, the secretary general of the UAE branch of Migrante, an organisation set up to protect Filipino workers overseas, said he received the e-mail on February 22 and replied to the sender who identified himself only as "Edgar". "I told him that our group would like to help our two compatriots and their families," Mr Morona said.

"He told me that it was a police case and that it would be difficult to get information due to security reasons. But he promised to forward more information to me." Mr Morona said the writer of the e-mail did not respond when he asked for the name and contact details of the nurse at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. "We wanted to conduct our own investigation," he said. "Since I've not received a reply from 'Edgar', we consider this a hoax e-mail." @Email:rruiz@thenational.ae