Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Case dismissed vs. KGS

Press Release
24 August 2009

Saudi police dropped case against detained KGS members
“Case dismissed.”

“This is the information we have received from Eric Jocson, Chairperson of the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (Brotherhood in the Middle East), the local chapter of Migrante in Riyadh,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said Jocson informed him yesterday that the “prostitution” case that is supposed to be filed by the Saudi police to 18 KGS members and run away distress OFWs arrested when the Saudi cultural police raided the KGS safe house last August 14during the group’s welfare case assistance meeting has not been filed and is now dropped by the Saudi police.

“The dropping of the case has also been confirmed to me by Vice Consul Roussel Reyes, saying that their case officers were able to convince the Police that there is no “prostitution” as those apprehended are members of legitimate OFW organization providing assistance to distress and run away OFWs,” Monterona added.

Monterona said Vice Consul Reyes told him that the timely intervention of case officers Mr. Frias, Akrahman, and Harris resulted positively as they managed to convinced the Saudi police that nothing illegal happened or there is no commission of “prostitution” as alleged by the apprehending cultural police, locally called Muttawa.

“We commend embassy’s case officers Mr. Frias, Akrahman, and Harris under the direct guidance of Vice Consul Roussel Reyes for their timely intervention that lead to the dropping of the case against our members. We will not hesitate to laud the good job done by embassy’s case officers and officials for that matter so long as they will provide same assistance to all distress and run away OFWs not only to KGS and Migrante members,” Monterona added.

“Technically, there is no case filed yet against our KGS members; then came the information that Saudi police dropped the case against them. With this development, we are hoping that KGS Secretary-General Mike Garlan and member Rustico Marcos will be released any time from today who have been in jail for 11 days now,” Monterona added.

Monterona said Vice Consul Reyes told him that while those with Iqama (working permit) will be released immediately after the police received the noticed from the Prosecutor, those who have expired Iqama or run away will be deported.

According to Monterona, 2 of the 5 detained OFW women namely Sarah Gumansing and Elvira De Guzman have already been released in the custody of their respective employers; while run away OFWs Clemia Corpuz, Rosa Salazar, and Amauri Meriz will be deported.

Run away Reynaldo Balagtas who is only working for 2 months in Saudi had filed a labor case against his employer at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh assisted by KGS a day prior to the said raid, however his employer also filled a case against him at the Saudi labor office. Accordingly, he will be deported too.

“We are yet to see the release of still detained KGS official Mike Garlan and member Rustico Marcos, in which embassy’s case officers should closely follow as they are being told by the head prison guard that if they will not be taken into the custody of their sponsor, then they’ll be sent to deportation center too,” Monterona averred.

The OFW leader said the next most important task the RP Embassies in the Middle East should be doing is to work for the legalization of all undocumented and run away OFWs mostly victims of abuses and maltreatment.

“To our conservative estimate there are about nearly 26,000 undocumented and run away OFWs in the Middle East mostly in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon,” Monterona ended. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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