Press Release
January 21, 2010

Villar helps jailed OFW reunite with family

Sen. Manny Villar has again helped an overseas Filipino worker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia reunite with her family here in the Philippines after being imprisoned for over two years for an offense she claims she did not commit.

Joan de Gula, 32, married with one child, personally thanked Sen. Villar at the Laurel House in Mandaluyong City yesterday for the aid she and her family received from the senator's OFW Helpline.

De Gula, who is from Marikina City, left for Riyadh in April 2006 to work as a caregiver in the kingdom. She used to work as a call center agent before she, like millions of Filipinos abroad, decided to seek greener pastures in the Middle East.

At the time, her husband has no stable source of income and her mother is suffering from Stage 3 breast cancer.

When she started working in Riyadh, she impressed her employers by performing her job well, which unfortunately made her the subject of her co-workers' envy.

Just barely a year after she left, her family here lost contact with De Gula. It was at this point that they sought the assistance of Sen. Villar.

The senator's office took prompt action on the concerns of her family and immediately endorsed her case to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) several times.

It was later found out that De Gula was jailed after her employer accused her of theft when they allegedly found stolen money in her belongings.

While in detention, she was not informed of the charges being leveled against her as she was made to suffer 300 lashes as part of her punishment. She was later granted a pardon and was required to pay for the damages.

She arrived in the country last Jan. 17 after languishing in prison for more than a year.

Villar said De Gula's case is only one of thousands of its kind that affects millions of OFWs around the world today.

"Nakakalungkot isipin na ang ilan sa ating mga kababayan sa ibang bansa ay impiyerno ang dinanas sa halip na kaginhawaan. Isa na dito si De Gula na walang hinangad kung hindi mabuting buhay para sa kanyang pamilya dito ngunit naging biktima makaraang tumuntong sa ibang bansa," said Villar.

"We closely monitored her case without let-up until she arrived home this weekend. I am relieved that another one of our kababayans who are in distress abroad is now home and now free from her ordeal."

For her misfortunes while in Riyadh, the office Sen. Villar is set to extend financial assistance to De Gula and her family.

News Latest News Feed