(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Tuesday began its motu proprio investigation into the severe maltreatment of Elvie Vergara, a maid in Occidental Mindoro who was reportedly subjected to physical and emotional abuse by her employer since 2020.
The upper chamber’s committee on justice and human rights, presided by Senator Francis Tolentino, led the inquiry, which was prompted after reports on battered Vergara circulated online in early August.
According to the hearing brief, Vergara sustained injuries and became partially blind after her employer France Ruiz allegedly abused her for three years by repeatedly punching, kicking, and beating her with various objects.
Vergara was accused of stealing P12,000 in cash and a watch worth P15,000; however, Senator Jinggoy Estrada said in an earlier statement that her alleged tormentors must still be sanctioned for the helper’s severe battery and maltreatment.
Criminal charges of serious physical injuries, illegal detention, and violation of Republic Act (RA) 10361, or Batas Kasambahay, were filed against Vergara’s employers before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Batangas City.
Based on the Senate hearing brief, the probe will cover the abuse endured by Vergara and similar cases nationwide; the recent developments on her case; assessment of the progress in enforcing RA 10361; and possible revision of the penal provisions of RA 10361 in a bid to strengthen its legal framework to prevent abuse among domestic workers, among others.