Senate detains ex-employer of abused housemaid

(MALAYA) THE Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights yesterday ordered the detention of the former female employer of an alleged battered housemaid after she was cited in contempt for “continuously evading the questions propounded” by members of the committee.

Sen. Francis Tolentino, panel chairman, said France Garcia Ruiz will be detained at the Senate until the motion of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada for her detention is withdrawn.

Ruiz earned the ire of the committee members after she kept on “falsely testifying under direct examination of committee members” and denied that she inflicted physical and emotional harm on Elvie Vergara during the time when the housemaid was employed by her family from August 2019 to May 2023.

Three new witnesses, who were former employees of the Ruiz family, were presented by the committee to corroborate the testimony of Vergara that Ruiz was the one who kept on maltreating her.

Alias Dodong, one the three new witnesses, said he saw Ruiz kick, punch, and slam Vergara’s face on a toilet bowl each time she is mad at the housemaid. Dodong was the person who was reportedly harassed by two armed men while in his new employer’s farmhouse also in Occidental Mindoro.

Ruiz denied the allegations and said Vergara got her bruises from her previous fights with her co-workers in the Ruiz family.

Another witness, alias JM, said he was “forced” by Ruiz to execute an affidavit that Vergara, on several occasions, put pubic hair on their food, and put nails on their water heater.

Ruiz denied this too, saying she did not convince or forced JM to falsely testify as he is old enough to decide on his own.

Ruiz said that JM, at one time, punched Vergara on her face after he learned that the latter took his clothes and used them as rags.

JM admitted punching Vergara but said the physical injury were not very serious to cause injuries on Vergara’s two eyes.

Doctors said Vergara is now partially blind due to traumas she received on her head. Sen. Ronald dela Rosa asked Ruiz and her husband Pablo why they treated Vergara inhumanely, to which Pablo denied that they maltreated their former housemaid.

“Hindi naman po kami nagsisinungaling. Sinasabi namin ang totoo (We are not telling a lie. We are telling the truth),” Pablo said.

France Ruiz alleged Vergara and their former workers were making up stories against them so that the injuries she got will be blamed on them.

“Totoo na wala kami ginagawa masama, sabi ng mga kasamahan niya na sila rin nanuntok kay Elvie, sila Patrick at JM (We did not do anything bad against Vergara. Her former co-workers have admitted to hurting her, Patrick and JM),” France Ruiz said.

JM and Patrick, the third new witness, denied the allegations.

To settle the “he said, she said” issue, Sen. Raffy Tulfo asked if the Ruiz couple were willing to undergo a lie detector test.

After consulting with their legal counsel, the Ruiz couple agreed.

Despite their voluntary submission to a polygraph test, Estrada continued to question France Ruiz and found inconsistencies in her responses, which prompted him to ask the panel to cite her in contempt and detain her at the Pasay City Jail.

Estrada later withdrew his proposal to detain France Ruiz at the Pasay City Jail “and instead commit her here in the Senate.”

Physicians from the Philippine General Hospital who examined Vergara feared the former housemaid will remain partially blind even if they perform an operation on her eyes.