JEDDAH —A Filipina domestic helper in Saudi Arabia is in detention and is facing charges of immorality and infanticide for the death of her newborn baby.
Kaagapay Ng Bawat OFW Advocates, an NGO helping distressed Filipino expatriates, told GMA News that Lorna (not her real name) got pregnant after she was raped. Out of fear, she did not inform her Saudi employers of her condition until she gave birth last month.
Gerwin Sundungan of Kaagapay Ng Bawat OFW Advocates said Lorna was raped and got pregnant but she kept the incident secret from her employers in Albaha in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia.
Sundungan sought the assistance of Philippine foreign officials.
Vice Consul Lemuel Lopez, head of the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah said that upon visiting Lorna in her detention cell she told him she was raped by a foreign expatriate, who was an on-call driver of her employers. For fear her employers will get mad at her, she kept her pregnancy a secret.
But Lorna's female employer saw her while giving birth last February. Not knowing what to do, the employer left the room to call her children. Upon her return, the baby was already wrapped in malong and placed in a plastic bag. They rushed the baby to a hospital but it died along the way.
"Nung isinusugod na ng amo ang bata sa ospital doon na binawian ng buhay, hindi na umabot ang bata sa ospital" Lopez said.
According to Lopez, Lorna has been charged for immorality and infanticide, and if proven guilty, she could face death sentence.
However, if Lorna will be proven having had post-partum depression while manhandling the baby, the infanticide charge against her would possibly be dropped, Lopez said.
"Mukhang post partum yun yung pwedeng one reason kung bakit nagawa nya yun. 'Pag na-prove na post partum depression most probably she will not be charged."
He called on OFWs with similar case (rape) to immediately inform authorities.
"Kapag pulis po ang kumuha sa inyo kung nasaan po kayong lugar ay mayroon po kayong proteksyon sa batas ng Saudi na kayo ay nag rereklamo," Lopez said. —Ronaldo Z. Concha/LBG, GMA News