Manila, Philippines – Officials in Saudi Arabia filed a torture case against a local employer who allegedly forced an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) to drink household bleach, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday, September 20.
The OFW is Agnes Mancilla, a 35-year-old household service worker who hails from Infanta, Quezon, and now works in Saudi Arabia.
The female Saudi employer allegedly made Mancilla drink a cleaning solution because “she reportedly made a mistake in preparing tea,” said Consul General to Jeddah Edgar Badajos.
Badajos also said Mancilla’s employer made her “work for about 20 hours per day, only providing her with coffee for her meals.”
When consulate officials visited Mancilla at the hospital, “she was bone-thin,” and “her back, ears, and arms also bore extensive injuries that could not have been self-inflicted,” said Badajos.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Thursday, “We would like to thank authorities in Saudi Arabia for filing the necessary charges against the employer who abused our kababayan (countryman).”
The DFA said authorities in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, have completed their investigation into Mancilla’s case.
Her case “will now proceed to full trial,” said lawyers retained by the Philippine consulate general. If the employer is found guilty, “she will be sentenced to a prison term plus possible lashing and financial compensation,” the lawyers added.
Earlier, the DFA said concerned Filipinos rushed Mancilla to the hospital on April 2 after her employer allegedly made her swallow household bleach.
Badajos said Mancilla has worked in Saudi Arabia since 2016 “but was repeatedly physically abused by her lady employer and was not being paid her salary.”
More than 10 million Filipinos, such as Mancilla, work overseas to seek better opportunities and send back money to their families. Of this number, around 2.3 million OFWs work in the Middle East and Africa.