Arrest warrant sought vs couple accused of abusing house helper
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday sought the issuance of a warrant of arrest against a Filipino couple accused of abusing their house helper.
"[I] would like to instruct the committee secretary to cause the preparation of the order of arrest against Ms. Analiza Marzan and spouse Reynold Marzan," Estrada, chair of the Senate committee on labor, said at the end of the day's hearing on the case of 21-year-old house helper Bonita Baran.
Estrada said he will circulate the order among the senators for signature after it has been drafted.
In a previous privilege speech, Estrada said Mrs. Marzan supposedly maltreated Baran by punching her in the eyes and hitting her with vases, plates, figurines, and even a broomstick.
When Baran began to move slowly because of her injuries, Mrs. Marzan reportedly ironed her nose and forehead. The injuries have made her almost completely blind.
The Marzans were then invited to the Senate to appear before the labor committee but they were not present during Tuesday's inquiry.
"I’ve already cancelled the hearing last week because I was informed that [they] will not be able to attend last week’s hearing, so I was rescheduled it for this afternoon’s hearing, but unfortunately again, they failed to attend. The committee has no choice but to issue an order of arrest against them," Estrada said.
Rushed to the hospital?
In an exclusive interview with GMA News reporter John Consulta on August 17, the Marzan couple denied Baran’s allegations.
“Wala pong [katotohanan]… May times na napagsasabihan… ‘pag hindi maayos ‘yung gawa. Hanggang dun lang po,” Mrs. Marzan said.
Asked on how Bonita could have suffered blindness, Mr. Marzan said: “Mahilig siya kumusot nang kumusot sa mata niya. Nagkakasore-eyes pa nga ‘yan mata niya… Kung naging masama ang trato mo sa mga katulong, sa tingin mo ba hindi niya babalikan ‘yung mga anak mo?
Nonetheless, the report said the Marzan couple are willing to talk and compromise with Baran’s demands.
In defending the absence of his clients, Jess Fernandez, lawyer of the Marzan couple, said the couple could not come to the Senate because Mrs. Marzan was rushed to the hospital.
"I was advised by the sister of Analiza that she fainted or lost consciousness when she learned that a warrant of arrest had been issued [against her]," he said, referring to a separate warrant of arrest issued by a local court.
Earlier, Persida Acosta, chief of the Public Attorneys Office, said they have filed kidnapping, serious illegal detention, attempted murder, and multiple counts of serious physical injury against Baran's employers.
Quezon City prosecutor Irene Resurreccion said their processor had gone to the house of the Marzans but were informed that they were no longer living there.
On Tuesday, Fernandez said he was also not aware where the Marzans are staying.
"I do not know really, the last thing that I have learned, they are on their way to the doctor," he said, adding that doesn't know which hospital Mrs. Marzan was brought to because he could not contact them anymore.
"I have no knowledge. I was inquisitive but there was no reply to my question," he added.
Estrada, however, was unconvinced.
"You're giving this committee, myself, a runaround. You gave an assurance that they will be here. I was focred to issue a subpoena and then you assured us again through committee secretary that they will be present in today's hearing but...you gave flimsy reasons," he said.
"Kung magbibigay ka ng storya [sa amin] yung kapani-paniwala [sana]...ni hindi mo alam saang ospital siya andun," he added.
'Why would I hurt myself?'
'Why would I hurt myself?'
But Fernandez said he believes his clients would not leave the country as believed by Estrada because they were innocent.
"Pare-pareho po tayo wala dun...even the Constitution presumes us to be innocent until proven [otherwise]," he said, saying he believes that Baran ironed herself and caused her teeth to fall out by chewing on hard stuff.
Baran, who was also present during the same hearing, asked why she would do that to herself.
"Magagawa ko ba to sa sarili ko? Tanga ba ako para plantsahin mukha ko?" she said.
Estrada has set the next hearing to Tuesday next week and said he hopes the Marzan couple would finally show up.
But if authorities get hold of them first, he said he will be leaving matters to the jurisdiction of the court.
Fernandez said he would try to convince them to come. "I would try to get in touch with them immediately after the hearing," he said. — with Rouchelle Dinglasan/RSJ, GMA News
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