Update on the case of OFW Jovelyn Tang Andres

Mr President, this is just a brief manifestation in response to the request of our colleague, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, for assistance for the family of our Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), Jovelyn Andres, of Sarangani province.

You will recall, I delivered a privilege speech on the PPEs. But Sen. Risa brought to our attention a matter, which was very painful to hear. And we committed, along with the Majority Floor Leader, that we would look into it immediately. So, that same day, your honor, we got in touch with the relatives of Jovelyn Tang Andres, and we were informed that they found out that Jovelyn died through a Facebook post on March 27 pa, your honor, like 6 months ago.

And then they went to DFA GenSan on March 29, so a day and a half perhaps, after they found out, to inquire about this because they just saw it on Facebook, and then they were informed that they could have an autopsy done but it would take 6 months for the body to return.

They opted to have the autopsy done in Saudi Arabia. They were told that if there was no autopsy to be done, the body could be brought back to the Philippines within 2 days, but they opted for an autopsy to be done.

However, they never got the autopsy report. So eventually, they decided to bring the body of Jovelyn – the remains of Jovelyn – home and she was transported back home on September 18, which was soon after the delivery of the information by our colleague, Sen. Risa, to us.

They called OWWA on Sept. 18 to ask for help, OWWA provided P125,000 as insurance, that Jovelyn is entitled to, and OWWA would shoulder the cost of repatriation. They have shouldered.

We then intervened and called the Sarangani Provincial Police asking for an autopsy to be conducted. We were informed that there is only one medico legal per province, who was on study leave. But we were able to connect with Police Major Norman Castro, OIC RFU-12 Sarangani Provincial Forensic Unit and he was the one who arranged for the autopsy and provided the necessary assistance.

So on Friday, the family confirmed that they will push through with this autopsy initiated by Police Major Castro. I am not sure if I mentioned that OWWA would shoulder the cost of the autopsy.

I want to take this opportunity, your honor, to thank, on behalf of the Senate, Mayor Salway Sumbo, who provided the car and gasoline for the travel of the doctor who conducted the autopsy, Police Major Norman Castro, OIC RFU-12 Sarangani Provincial Forensic Unit, Police Major Sergeant Richard Tindaan, Police Staff Sergeant Abdul Ampac, Police Corporal Jai Candelon, Patrol Jona Liedo, and Patrol Ramil Gomez. Sila po ang mga tumulong, and Police Lieutenant Colonel Maria Analiza Dela Cruz, the medico legal officer of regional forensic unit of Region 11.

Thank you, Sen Risa for bringing this matter to our attention. I felt it… The Senate, and there were quite a few senators who were very concerned about this. I am happy to report that kahit paano, in our own small way, nakatulong po tayo. I’ve also brought this to the attention of Sec. Ople and actually, she had coordinated earlier with OWWA so I suppose some of this information had already been shared by the government offices.

Yun lang po, Mr. President, maraming salamat. #

In a manifestation, Senator Pia Cayetano gave an update on the autopsy done last Friday (September 23) on the remains of OFW Jovelyn Tang Andres, a victim of abuse in Saudi Arabia.

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