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Litigants no-show in compensation claim over Filipina who fell from employer's flat

09 November 2018

Neither party was in District Court for the hearing
By Vir B. Lumicao

The hearing of a compensation claim by the family of a Filipina who fell to her death in Mid-Levels four years ago faces a further delay as both parties failed to show up in a hearing at the District Court on Nov 9.

Judge Katina Levy adjourned the case for another six months after claimant Virginio Jose or his representative, and defendant Cheung Yeuk Lee, both failed to appear at the hearing.

Jose, common-law husband of deceased domestic helper Ruby Ann Diola, was to have been represented by Mission for Migrants director Edwina Antonio, who filed the claim on his and his son Vivejo’s behalf.
Mission’s general manager Cynthia Abdon-Tellez rushed to the District Court after being informed by this reporter about the hearing, and apologized for the absence of Santoyo, who she said was in Mexico.

Tellez asked if she could take directions from the judge regarding the case, but was told she could not as she was not the representative on record.
“I cannot give directions now because you cannot represent the claimant and, also, because the respondent is not in court,” the judge said.

But Levy told Tellez the claimant should apply for legal aid so a lawyer can be appointed to represent him, and also to find out the present address of the respondent where summonses can be served.
The judge noted that all the notices sent to the last known address of Cheung on Robinson’s Road, Mid-Levels had not been received.  She said the case could not move forward without Cheung getting the notices and appearing in court.

The judge suggested adjourning the hearing for nine months, but Tellez said six months would do. So, Levy adjourned the hearing to Apr 12, 2019.
Diola, then 27, fell to her death from the 32nd floor flat of Cheung, and her body was found on the podium next to a swimming pool in the morning of Oct 23, 2014. Police classified the case as “death by falling.”

At an earlier hearing, Levy took note that Cheung had been fined $5,000 by a court for failing to take out life insurance for the maid.

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