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Pinay wins $6k settlement from employer despite theft conviction

06 September 2019


By Vir B. Lumicao
 
Berbana was convicted of stealing Rmb1,700 from her employer
A Filipina domestic worker who is appealing a theft conviction has agreed to settle her labour claim against her former employer for $5,951 on Sept 5.

Ana Liezel Berbana agreed to settle with Wong Ma-nger, who had accused her of stealing RMB1,700.

But Labour Tribunal Presiding Officer David Chum rejected Berbana’s attempt to also claim damages, saying she would only be entitled to this if she won her appeal against her conviction.
Berbana, 33, was arrested on Dec 21 last year after Wong accused her of stealing 17 pieces of Rmb100 banknotes from the employer’s money box. Berbana pleaded not guilty, but was convicted and sentenced to six weeks in prison on May 16.

Berbana claimed during the trial that Wong had made up the theft charge after she complained that she was using her own money to buy food for the employer’s household.
Despite her conviction, Berbana was able to pursue her claim for one month’s wage in lieu of notice, unpaid salary, annual leave, air ticket, and food and travel allowance.

She also tried to ask for damages for what she claimed was wrongful prosecution, but Chum told her to wait for the High Court ruling in her appeal.

“If your appeal is not allowed, you can’t claim damage in this case,” Chum told Berbana.
Since the helper and the employer could not agree initially on the labour claim, Chum warned that he would have to set down the case for trial if they did not settle within the day.

Wong eventually said she would agree to settle but asked the presiding officer to deduct from the settlement a certain amount for Berbana’s alleged unpaid debt. But Chum said he couldn’t do that if the amount was disputed.

The court went for a short break during which both parties agreed to settle their dispute.

Chum approved a request by Wong to make the settlement payment through the Tribunal no later than Sept 11.

     

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