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Pinay in Aberdeen taxi crash opens eyes but still in critical state

30 May 2019

Marilou Abunda (center) with friends.



By The SUN

The Filipina domestic worker who was hit by a taxi which ran out of control in Aberdeen has opened her eyes but remains unresponsive and is not yet out of danger, a medical staff at Queen Mary Hospital in Pokfulam said on May 30.

Marilou Abunda, 46, opened her eyes the previous night after being in a coma for more than two days, according to the staff who was keeping watch on the patient at the hospital’s intensive care unit.

“She is not yet fully conscious. She is not yet responding to our commands and cannot yet communicate,” the medic said.

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Some of Abunda’s friends and townmates from Hilongos, Leyte who were visiting saw that her eyes were slightly open and her pupils, especially the left one, were moving. She could also already move her legs and bend her knees.

But the maid’s face was still swollen, and the right side of her head had been bandaged following an operation shortly after she was admitted on May 27, to drain blood from a brain injury.

The staff said the patient may need another operation to find out which part of her brain was damaged and was causing Abunda’s inability to respond or communicate.



Asked if her condition had improved, the staff replied, “No, she is not yet stable. She is still not out of danger.”

Her employer, Chris Lee, confirmed the news in a text message, saying the helper remains critical, and still needs a lot of care.

Abunda, who has been separated from her husband for years and is childless, has worked  for Lee and his family for the past 16 years.

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She had just taken her 10-year-old ward to school and was in the middle of an island waiting to cross Aberdeen Main Road at about 9am when the taxi driven by a 70-year-old local man plowed through her and other pedestrians.

The accident happened just four days after Abunda celebrated her 46th birthday.

Police told The SUN Abunda was conscious when taken to hospital, and managed to say she had hurt her head, before apparently lapsing into a coma.


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Photos from the crash scene show the steel pole with the traffic light at the pedestrian crossing had landed partly on Abunda’s body. She appeared unconscious, with her head resting atop a pool of blood.

Another woman lay unconscious beside her, while an elderly woman is on her other side, sitting up and apparently unharmed.

The police said a total of seven people were injured in the crash, including the 70-year-old taxi driver, who suffered head injuries.


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Two women, including Abunda, were admitted in critical condition.

Media reports said the taxi careened out of control on Aberdeen Main Road, and plowed into a group of people standing at a pedestrian crossing, before hitting a steel railing and coming to a halt.

However, police said no arrests have been made, and their investigation is continuing.

Among the first to visit Abunda at the hospital and extend help was welfare officer Marivic Clarin from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.


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Clarin helped alert Abunda’s family in the Philippines about her condition, and has been working with Consul Paul Saret to get the patient’s sister-in-law Jocelyn and niece Loriepel, to fly to Hong Kong as soon as possible to comfort her.

Consul Saret has advised the relatives to go to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs in Manila to apply for funding for a humanitarian visit to Hong Kong after being told the employer could not shoulder their expenses.

Once their request for funding is approved,  Consul Saret said their air tickets would be booked right away.

Clarin said Abunda’s friends had told her the victim sustained the most injuries because she had apparently tried to shield an elderly woman from the runaway taxi.

Abunda’s friends were especially disconsolate because just a day before the tragic accident, they had joined the victim in celebrating her birthday at their hangout in Central.

According to Elenita Rubello, Abunda’s friend and townmate from Hilongos, Leyte, the celebration was simple but fun, with the group sharing food they had prepared and taking photos with the celebrator before they parted ways in the evening.

Rubello said she and her friends only learned about the tragedy late last night, when she saw a message sent from Abunda’s phone saying: “This is Malou’s boss. Pls call me. Urgent.”

Rubello immediately returned the call and learned the sad news. Early the next morning,  it was passed on to Rodelia Villar, founder of the Domestic Workers Corner online group, who immediately contacted the Consulate and The SUN to get help.


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