(POLITIKO) Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Monday vowed justice for 44-year-old househeld Elvie Vergara, who lost her teeth and was blinded after allegedly being beaten up by her employers in Occidental Mindoro.
“Walang puwang sa lipunan ang mga taong pinagsilbihan ni Elvie ng anim na taon,” said Estrada of Vergara’s employers, Jerry and France Ruiz.
Estrada, who authored the Republic Act 10361 or the Kasambahay Law, interviewed Vergara on Aug. 18 in his online show and promised to provide medical assistance.
Estrada condemned the actions by Vergara’s employers, who accused the househelp of stealing P12,000 cash and a P15,000-worth watch from them.
The employers should not have retaliated by abusing their househelp, Estrada said.
“Sakali man na mayroong nagawang pagnanakaw ang pinagbibintangang kasambahay, legal na aksyon o karampatang hustisya ang dapat manaig. Hindi dapat natin inilalagay ang batas sa ating mga kamay,” the senator said.
Estrada recalled the case of househelp Bonita Baran, who went blind after being maltreated by her employers Reynold Marzan and Anna Liza Catahan from 2009 to 2012.
The Supreme Court in 2021 affirmed their guilty verdict for serious illegal detention. Marzan was sentenced with up to 40 years in prison. His wife Catahan was cleared of charges after her death in 2020.
The Senate hearing into Baran’s case expedited the passage of the Kasambahay law in 2012.
In Vergara’s case, Estrada said formal charges have not yet been filed against the employers.
The couple were slapped with a complaint before the Batangas city Prosecutor’s Office for serious illegal detention, human trafficking, serious physical injuries, and violation of the Kasambahay Law, according to reports. They denied the accusations.
“Ako mismo ang magpa-follow up sa mga awtoridad para mahuli itong mga employers ni Elvie,” Estrada said.
The office of Senator Francis Tolentino first offered legal assistance to the family of Vergara.
The Kasambahay Law, which provides protection for domestic workers, imposes a penalty of P10,000 to P40,000 for any violation of the provisions in the law, without prejudice to the filing of appropriate civil or criminal action by the abused househelp.