07292014Breaking News:

Dead Butuanon OFW’s relatives suspect foul play

By Ben Serrano, Correspondent

BUTUAN City––The mother and sisters of a 31-year old Filipina pastry chef found dead at the Philippine Embassy’s shelter in Bahrain this month are crying for justice even as they said they suspected it was a case of foul play.

Thirty-one-year old Kathleen Ann Viray Ilagan, who hailed from this city, was found dead between a kitchen and a bathroom of the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain which also served as shelter.

A single mother of three and the youngest of four siblings, Ilagan had gone to the embasssy to seek refuge.

Members of her family ruled out initial reports that Ilagan committed suicide.

Ilagan’s mother Helena Viray and sisters Auleen Mitch and Gwendolyn appealed to President Aquino and Butuan Mayor Ferdinand Amante to help them get justice, saying they were convinced that the overseas Filipino worker was murdered.

At her home in Balbarino Subdivision in Barangay Holy Redeemer here, Ilagan’s mother said the employment agency responsible in bringing her daughter to Bahrain did not inform her family about the death.

“My daughter was found dead in the morning of April 8… and we have not received any call from her employment agency,” said Mrs. Viray.

She identified the firm as HRD Employment Consultant and Multi-Services Inc.

“Isn’t is their duty to inform us? What are they doing now my daughter is dead?” said Mrs. Viray who was crying.

She said the last time she and Ilagan talked was around 5 pm (Philippine time) this April 7. Ilagan, according to her, told her about a conflict she had with a Filipina nanny and about how the “situation had worsened.”

Ilagan and the nanny worked for the same employer.

Viray said her daughter also complained about other Filipino workers who sided with the nanny.

“Parang pinagtutulungan nila anak ko. Wala naman silang awa, kababayan nila, inaapi nila,” Viray said.

Mrs. Viray said Ilagan told her that the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain had no guard.

“There is possibility that the suspects entered the Embassy premises. We want a thorough investigation,” she said.

Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (Owwa) director for Region 13 Ron Lionel Bartolome confirmed that Ilagan’s body was found between a kitchen and a bathroom of the embassy.

Bartolome said the Bahrain police have yet to release an investigation report which is needed before Ilagan’s remains could be flown back the the Philippines.

The body was in a morgue in Bahrain, Bartolome said.

Labor Attache Felixberta Romero of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office of the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain said Ilagan had requested admission into the Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos Resource Center on April 7 in view of a conflict with a Filipina nanny.

Mrs. Viray said she there was a time when she and Ilagan’s employer talked on the phone. She said the employer told her that since Ilagan had to end her two-year contract with her, she had to pay for the early termination of contract fees and penalties.

Ilagan went to Bahrain last Dec. 25  with an employment contract as pastry chef with Divinable Trading Co..

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