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Ople asks DoJ to withdraw complaint against OFW; says “tanim-bala” incidents have created climate of fear among OFWs

tanimbalaatetootsA Call for the Government to Withdraw the Criminal Charges against Nanay Gloria Ortinez, to Release her from Jail, to let her Leave and Work Abroad for her Family!

Ople asks DoJ to withdraw complaint against OFW;
says “tanim-bala” incidents have created climate of fear among OFWs

27 OCTOBER 2015 – OFW advocate Susan Ople urged the Department of Justice to immediately withdraw the case filed against overseas Filipino worker Gloria Ortinez for the illegal possession of ammunition that could lead to a twelve-year jail term for the 56-year old migrant worker.

Ople, a former labor undersecretary, said that the State should not be seen as inflicting its might and resources on a hapless overseas domestic worker who already spent two nights under detention for a crime that she did not commit.

“I join the call of millions of OFWs for the full liberty of Nanay Gloria, and for the State to allow her to leave for Hong Kong where her employer of 13 years awaits,” the labor advocate said.

This series of “tanim-bala” incidents has created a climate of fear among returning overseas workers. “Yung tanim-bala naging tanim-takot na,” Ople said, adding that the OFW sector is
appealing to President Aquino to personally look into this matter.

Ortinez has denied ownership of the carbine bullet wrapped in red cloth, and said that she would never bring in such ammunition knowing that Hong Kong has very strict security laws.

Ople said she spoke with Atty. Spocky Farolan, the OFW’s counsel, who confirmed that the bullet shown as evidence was not the same as the carbine bullet said to be have been discovered in Ortinez’s bag.

“Nanawagan ako sa Department of Justice na iurong na lang ang demanda dahil malinaw naman na inosente si Nanay Gloria. Bakit naman niya ilalagay sa alanganin ang kanyang trabaho sa Hong Kong para sa isang bala? Sa tagal na niya bilang isang OFW, alam na alam niya na bawal ito hindi lang sa ating batas kung hindi pati na sa batas ng Hong Kong,” Ople added.

(I am urging the DoJ to withdraw its complaint since it is quite clear that Nanay Gloria is innocent. Why would she risk the job waiting for her in Hong Kong for one bullet? As a long-time OFW, she is quite aware that carrying ammunition is prohibited under Philippine and Hong Kong laws.”)

The head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center who has declared her intention to run for a senatorial seat next year stressed that the Philippine government should be zealous in protecting the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers both here at home and abroad. “Otherwise, we lose the moral ascendancy to demand respect and protection from other countries in behalf of our OFWs.”

The Ople Center has conveyed through Atty. Farolan its willingness to help Nanay Gloria and her family throughout this ordeal. “We are prepared to assist her until she obtains justice and is able to move on with her life as an OFW,” Susan Ople said.

The OFW advocate also called for reforms in airport and security management as she pointed out that the airport has become a hotbed of unprecedented cruelty directed against OFWs.

“From the illegal exaction of terminal fees, to the opening of balikbayan boxes, and continuous attempts to extort money from OFWs, the current NAIA and DOTC management have consistently displayed insensitivity and lack of respect for the rights of OFWs,” Ople said.

The OFW advocate called on Congress to investigate the pattern of deliberate actions undertaken by the DOTC and MIAA that have chipped away at the hard-fought rights and benefits of OFWs.