Ople Center seeks probe into the ‘suicide’ of an OFW in Saudi Arabia

June 22, 2017 - 3:58 PM
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The Department of Foreign Affairs building in Manila, in Phil. Star file photo.

MANILA – A Filipino maid who had been working in Saudi Arabia just for two weeks has died in what her employer called a suicide, but her family is not convinced, and a migrant support center has called for an investigation.

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-profit organization handling cases of distressed OFWs, urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to spearhead an investigation into the suspicious death of 35-year old Jennifer Ross Acuna-Reyes, who allegedly fell from the 7th floor of her employer’s building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia last May 28, 2017.

The OFW, known to friends and family as Jenny Ross, had been in Saudi Arabia as a domestic worker for only two weeks prior to her mysterious death. She was married to hotel worker John Paul Reyes with whom she has two children.

“Her husband was able to talk to her four days prior to her alleged ‘suicide’, and she said that everything was fine. Why would Jenny commit suicide when she had just arrived in Saudi Arabia?” the Ople Center pointed out in a press statement Thursday.

Susan Ople, head of the center, said the family sought the Ople Center’s help in seeking justice for Jenny Rose.

“We urge the Department of Foreign Affairs and our embassy in Saudi Arabia to leave no stone unturned in uncovering the truth behind Jenny’s mysterious death. The family is convinced that their daughter did not commit suicide. Her employer is claiming otherwise,” Ople said.

According to the OFW’s family, his daughter has been making her presence felt, showing up in dreams of the husband, and as a ghostly apparition to her father.

They also said that cleaners who worked in the same condominium claimed to notice a foul smell emanating from the employer’s unit prior to the recovery of Jenny’s body.

Larry Acuna, Sr., the OFW’s father, expressed doubts over the statement of the employer because of the manner in which the body was found. “According to Filipinos living near the building, there was hardly any blood found on the site where she allegedly fell from the 7thfloor and landed with her face down on the grass,” he said.

The Philippine recruitment agency that deployed Jennifer Ross Acuna Reyes was Sphinx Group Manpower Provider, Inc. In her POEA-approved contract, and the employer’s name was indicated as Mona Ali Sadek.

OFW advocate Susan Ople urged the recruitment agency to extend its full assistance to the Reyes family in the repatriation of Jenny Ross’s remains and obtaining her full benefits from the employer.

She also stressed the need for the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Philippine Embassy to blacklist the OFW’s foreign employer.

“The family is banking on our government’s help and support in their quest for the truth. They also want to be able to give Jenny Ross a decent burial. The Ople Center will continue to monitor this case until justice is served,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) has pledged to provide financial and other forms of assistance to Jenny Ross’s family.