Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Free without assistance

Press Release
25 March 2009

Staying almost a year in Saudi jail without a crime committed,
accused OFW now a freeman sans any assistance from RP post

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East today said an accused OFW who has spent 8 months in jail in Abha, Saudi Arabia for a crime he did not actually committed was freed last Sunday, March 22.

“OFW Eddie C. Javier was released from prison last Sunday, March 22 as per the information we have received from our Migrante chapter in Jeddah,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

OFW Javier was sent to jail September of last year after the family of a Saudi national who has accidentally hit the company car driven by OFW Javier that is parking at the work site when the accident happened. The driver died but his family wrongly pointed Javier as the culprit, who is just standing besides the company car he used to drive.

On the day the accident occured, OFW Javier was sent to jail for investigation. Police officers said he would stay in jail until the investigation will be completed; but month had passed he remains still in prison prompting his employer to abandon him.

Monterona said Mary Jane Javier, the wife of Eddie, who is also a former OFW working in Taiwan, had sought Migrante’s assistance.

The family of driver asked a blood money from OFW Eddie Javier amounting to SR. 97,000 (more or less equivalent to PhP 1,260,000) so that OFW Javier could be freed from prison.

“Mrs. Javier along with Migrante staff in the Philippines went to DFA’s Assistance to the Nationals section to seek for assistance but was only told it will refer the case to the attention of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,” Monterona added.

Monterona said December of last year, Migrante chapter in Jeddah has endorsed and sought the assistance of PCG to provide lawyer for OFW Javier since he is innocent of the crime charged against him; until the family of the driver had asked OFW Javier for the blood money in exchange of his release from prison.

Monterona said OFW Javier is still fortunate because there is an Islamic organization that got knowledge of his predicament and believing that he is innocent, had raise and contributed an amount of SR. 75,000 to pay for the blood money asked by the driver’s family.

“Not only that, since the amount contributed by an Islamic Organization is still short of thousands more, Saudi Police officers of the prison where OFW Javier is jailed have initiated a solicitation among themselves and raised SR. 15,000 as their kind contribution to OFW Javier for the payment of the blood money,” Monterona added.

Last January 2009, the amount collected is SR. 90,000, which is short of SR. 7,000 from the amount of the blood money asked by the family.

“But again, generous people don’t want to see OFW Javier to remain in jail for 8 months already for a crime he did not commit, an additional contribution was raised initiated again by Saudi police officers that eventually reached the required amount of SR. 97,000,” Monterona added.

“Then, last Sunday we got the information that OFW Javier was released from prison as he had already paid the required blood money asked by the family of the Saudi national whose car accidentally hit the company car usually driven by OFW Javier,” Monterona added.

Monterona said like the police in Philippine action movies that usually arrived late for a rescue, Vice Consul Leo Ausan went to the jail of OFW Javier only to be surprised that he could not find the latter because it was already released in prison.

“This would explain how illogical and neglectful the Arroyo regime is-- that instead of sending more legal attaché to provide assistance to the like of OFW Javier and many innocent OFWs who are languishing in jails, two police officers were recently deployed by the Arroyo regime, to provide assistance or rescue OFWs only after the accident or incident had just happened? I doubt if the Police attaché deployed could rescue OFWs maltreated and abused by their employer.” Monterona added.

Migrante chapters in the Kingdom would like to extend its sincerest thanks to the Islamic organization and Police officers who have contributed said amount; without their generosity OFW Eddie Javier would not be released and would still be in prison.

Migrante officers in Jeddah have set to meet OFW Eddie Javier in the coming days.

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-ME regional coordinator
Mobile Phone: 00966 564 978 012

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