Kin, supporters bring coffin to POEA, DFA as symbol of elusive justice

TERRIL Atienza, an overseas Filipina worker, who died in Mongolia, was a victim of human trafficking. Circumstances leading to her death point to foul play and organ trafficking.

When Atienza’s remains were flown back to the country last December 9, 2011 her heart was missing. Her whole body was bruised, beaten and burnt. Autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Medico-Legal Division further revealed that her other internal organs were ‘sectioned with missing portions’. A rag was extracted from inside her body.

On Atienza’s first death anniversary, her family, led by 17-year-old daughter Nyrriel and husband Nilo, once again trooped to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration POEA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to demand justice.

The rallyists brought a coffin to the government agencies to symbolize the government’s continuous inaction and suspected white-wash on Atienza’s case.

With a tourist visa, Atienza left to work in Singapore in 2010. After one and a half year, under threat of imprisonment, she was sent to Mongolia by her foreign agency, purportedly to complete a two year contract. She worked as a domestic worker for Sergelen Davaakhu, Austria’s Honorary Consul to Mongolia and President of the International Federation of Business and Professional in Mongolia. In her four month service for Davaakhu, she was only able to send US$184 to her family.

On November 20, 2011, she was found dead in her room. Initial autopsy reports from the National Institute for Forensic Science of Mongolia indicated that Atienza died of “severe intoxication from an unknown source.” A conclusive autopsy report from Mongolia is still pending following results from laboratory tests conducted on her body.

However, conflicting information has raised questions about Atienza’s death and its cause.  Regent, Atienza’s foreign recruitment agency, informed the family that she committed suicide by an overdose of sleeping pills. However, soon after her remains were repatriated, an autopsy was done by the National Bureaus of Investigation (NBI) at the behest of Atienza’s family and it was discovered that her heart was missing and a rag was found inside her body.  The NBI autopsy report stated that her death was “probably secondary to hypertensive cardiovascular disease” due to a stabbing incident.

Up to now, Atienza’s family has not been given the full forensic report and police investigation results from Mongolia. Atienza’s belongings are also yet  to be delivered to them.  The family now fears a whitewash and is pressing the government to immediately release the results of the police and forensic report and conduct an independent and transparent investigation.

International Migrants’ Tribunal
Atienza’s case and her family’s plight will be one the the highlights in the witness testimonies for the upcoming International Migrants’ Tribunal.

The International Migrants’ Tribunal will be held on November 28-29 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. It is organized by the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA) and the International Women’s Alliance (IWA).

The Tribunal will put on trial the Global Forum on Migrantion and Development (GFMD) as it is being facilitated by sending and receiving countries, including the Philippines. It is expected to be attended by judges and witnesses from different parts of the world.

One of the judges will be renowned theatre actress and women’s rights advocate Monique Wilson. The head judge will be Niikura Osamu, president of the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA), a member organization of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).

Migrante International and other migrants’ groups and advocate organizations will be witnesses to talk about the intensification of labor export in migrant-sending and receiving countries and its adverse effects on migrant workers.

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