“I begged him to stop. I was terrified when he reached for a small knife that looked like a Swiss knife and stabbed me on my neck several times then kicked me hard on my back. I lost consciousness, and when I woke up I was already here at the hospital.”
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
MANILA — Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), a Filipino migrants rights group, today asked Philippine officials in Kuwait to extend all the needed assistance to an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was reportedly raped and stabbed by a law enforcer in Kuwait.
In a report filed by Michelle Fe Santiago in the local news daily Arab Times on October 8, a Filipina was said to have been raped and stabbed several times by a lance corporal at the General Traffic Department on the early morning of Oct 1. The victim who has since been named “Marissa,” was left half dead in the South Surra area. Patrol officers found her lying near the King Fahad Expressway opposite Kuwait International Fairs Ground.
Santiago quoted the Head of the Assistance to the Nationals Unit at the Philippine Embassy Dalidig Ibrahim Tanandato as saying that the embassy has already consulted Kuwaiti lawyers to assist the victim in filing cases of rape and murder against her assailant.
Tanandato in the Arab Times report said the embassy will do everything to bring the perpetrator to justice.
The Arab Times said the victim is confined at the Mubarak Al Kabeer Hospital. She was first taken to the the Intensive Care Unit because of her stabbing and rape injuries. Tanandato was said to have visited the victim four times in the hospital since she was admitted on Oct 1.
Marissa, 27, is described in the Arab Times report as a single mother and a native of T’Boli in South Cotabato. When interviewed by Santiago, the reporter said that Marisss could barely move and cried because of teh wounds on her back and neck.
Marissa first came to Kuwait on Sept 12, 2006 and worked as a household service worker until 2009 and later on worked at a Farwaniya.
“I came here to work for my son and family,” she told the Arab Times. She then said the Kuwaiti police had already brought the suspect to the hospital and presented him to her for identification.
“I’m still in trauma and I just looked at him while he was in handcuffs. I told the police who were with him that I can never forget his face. He was the one who raped me and stabbed me as I begged for my life,” she told Arab Times. She added that the suspect even managed to smile at her, sending chills down her spine.
Marissa’s account of her harrowing experience was also detailed in the report. She sad that on the late evening of Sept 30, she and a female friend left a mall. They got into a car and were on their way home to Farwaniya when they were stopped by the suspect who alighted from the police car.
Unfortunately, she told Arab News, her residence visa had expired four days earlier and it was still being renewed by her new sponsor. She said the man told her friend to leave because she still had a valid visa, but she, Marissa, was taken by the suspect and forced into the police car.
Marissa said the suspect told her that she was to be taken to the police station in South Surra but she was surprised when the man stopped somewhere dark and deserted. The suspect then forced her to perform oral sex and raped her from behind and front.
“I begged him to stop. I was terrified when he reached for a small knife that looked like a Swiss knife and stabbed me on my neck several times then kicked me hard on my back. I lost consciousness, and when I woke up I was already here at the hospital,” she told Arab News.
The OFW told Arab News that she was grateful for having survived the rape. She said one of the female relatives of the suspect visited her on on October 5 at the hospital and allegedly offered her some money.
She said the woman offered her KD 100. The woman also told her that she would fix her visa and find her a job on the condition that she drops the case.
“But I told her no way. I almost lost my life and I will fight for my case so that the rapist who did this to me will suffer all the pain that I’ve been through. I want him behind bars,” she told Arab News.
In a separate report by the Kuwait Times, it was said that the suspect in Marissa’s rape was a traffic police officer and that he had committed similar crimes previously.
The report said the suspect confessed that it was not the first crime that he committed a crime using his uniform to deceive victims. The suspect admitted that he stabbed Marissa repeatedly aiming to kill when he saw that she had read his car’s license plate even as he was trying to flee.
The Kuwait Times reported that the suspect would remain in custody pending legal action.
Migrante Middle-East said the Aquino administration should not let the incident be swept under the rug. The group’s coordinator John Leonard Monterona said that President Aquino or officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should instruct embassy officials in Kuwait to provide all the needed assistance to Marissa.
Monterona said such assistance should include the hiring of a local lawyer to help her pursue her case against the culprit. He said the Philippine embassy in Kuwait must ensure that there will be no cover up and see to it that the culprit will be sent to jail and sentenced.
“We have already sent a communication to Philippine labor attaché David Des Dicang requesting for an update and status on Marissa as per request from the her relatives in the Philippines,” he said.
Monterona said that based Migrante-ME’s monitoring, at least two to three OFWs are subjected to physical and sexual abuse in Kuwait on a daily basis. He also said they had recorded some six cases of OFWs dying under questionable and mysterious circumstance in 2011.
Kuwait is one of the notorious destinations of Filipino household service workers.
“That’s why we’re surprised why the DFA, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) certified Kuwait as a ‘safe’ destination of OFWs,” Monterona said. “So, for the nth time, we ask — ‘Where’s the protection for our OFWs especially household service workers in the Middle East as promised by Pres. Aquino?”
Earlier in March this year, Maxxy Santiago of the ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau reported that a Filipina was abducted, raped and beaten by two men who posed as members of the Criminal Investigation Directorate in Kuwait.
The woman whom Santiago referred to as “Jackie,”was about to report for work on the night of February 26. She and her husband were waiting for a taxi in Salmiya when a car, with the two men onboard, alighted. The suspects introduced themselves as policemen and asked for the couple’s civil identification cards. After producing the IDs, the suspects then asked for a copy of their marriage contract.
The report said that the Filipinos replied that their marriage contract was at home. The suspects then told them to get into the car so they could all get the document.
Jackie’s husband, accompanied by one of the suspects, went into their house to get the document. Jackie was left in the car with the remaining suspect.
When the husband turned around to hand the marriage document he saw that the man had vanished. He ran downstairs and saw that the car with his wife in it was also gone.
Jackie was brought to Jahra where she was raped inside a tent in the middle of the desert. Another man acted as lookout outside the tent, she said.
The suspects threatened to kill her with a knife but released her afterwards. She was put in a cab and returned to Salmiya on the night of February 27.
According to Santiago’s report, the Kuwait authorities launched a manhunt against the suspects based on the information, including the license plate number of the vehicle used in the crime as provided by the victim.