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DH charges employer with repeated assault

15 April 2019

Jubie Sabarillo

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina helper who was allegedly physically assaulted 10 times by her female employer in Mid-Levels has filed a criminal complaint with the police after Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre convinced her to pursue her case.

Jubie Sabarillo, 50, dialed 999 on friends’ advice after the latest attack on Apr 4, but then told the police who came that she would rather go home soon. She said she had signed a waiver not to press charges against her employer, a Mrs Lam.

Labatt Dela Torre immediately put Lam on the Philippine Overseas Labor Office’s “eternal” watchlist and told Assistant Labor Attaché Tony Villafuerte to help the worker go for a medical check-up, then file a criminal complaint against the employer

Villafuerte later told The SUN that the Police Criminal Investigation Division was investigating.

Sabarillo kept a diary where she wrote down the date and time of each alleged assault, beginning on June 10, 2018 until Apr 4 this year, when she decided to call police.

Sabarillo said in an interview at Labatt Dela Torre’s office on Apr 5 that three officers went to Lam’s flat on Kennedy Road while a few others stayed on the ground minutes after she called the police.

Sabarillo's notes.

She said Lam was surprised when she let the officers in. The officers reportedly told Lam that they were responding to a distress call and pointed to the crying maid.

“Nagkuwento-kuwento, hindi ko alam kung anong pinag-usapan,  tapos iniinterbyu-interbyu ako, kinukuhanan ng mga picture,” the helper said.

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Afterwards, the officers reportedly asked her to decide whether she wanted them to arrest her employer, or if she’d rather go home soon.

“Kung gusto mong i-arrest namin yung amo mo, magpaduktor ka at ituloy na yung kaso, o kung gusto mo umuwi ka. Nag-decide na lang ako umuwi kasi parang physically stressed na ako eh. Hindi ko na alam, nalito na ako,” Saberilla said.

The helper said she told the police she had decided to go home. The interviewing officer took out a document and asked her to sign it. She said the document was about her decision not to press charges and to go home as soon as possible.

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Dela Torre asked the helper why she signed the waiver without a lawyer assisting her.

“Dapat may counsel ka. Uuwi ka na walang hustisya sa ginawa sa iyo?” the labor official told the helper.

Saberillo said she was confused and did not know what to say when the officers asked her to make a decision. “Kasi stressed na ako, nalito na ako at nahihilo na ako,” she said.

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She said the owner of her agency in Hong Kong promised to work out a settlement between her and her employer.

At first, the agency owner reportedly told Saberillo she would have to pay her employer one month’s wages in lieu of notice, but then took it back. He then said he would ask Lam to settle and buy her a ticket that day.

Labatt Dela Torre asked his staff to call the agency owner to a meeting and he was at POLO in half an hour.

The agency owner said it was the first time a helper had complained against Lam. He said he wouldn’t supply a maid to the employer again.

Labatt dela Torre told the agency owner Saberillo would be moved to OWWA’s shelter that day.
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