Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another case lodged vs Tanenglian

The Department of Justice approved the other day another criminal case against Mariano Tanenglian, brother of business tycoon Lucio Tan, and his wife and two children in connection with the complaint of another housemaid for alleged abuse and illegal detention.

In a 10-page resolution approved by chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuno, the DOJ said it has found probable cause in the complaint of 19-year-old Aljane Bacanto against Tanenglian, his wife Aleta and children Maximillian and Fayette and approved the filing in court of charges of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, violation of (R.A 9201) Anti-Trafficking in Persons Acts and nine counts of child abuse or violation of R.A 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse Exploitation and Discrimination Act) against them.

Preliminary investigation of the department’s Task Force on Women and Children Protection gave weight to the testimony of complainant Bacanto in approving the child abuse charges against the Tanenglians.

The DOJ has found that Bacanto was only 16 years old when employed by the Tanenglians and then suffered “cruelty, physical abuse from the hands of respondents and had been subjected to conditions prejudicial to her normal development as a child” during her employment from May 2006 up to Jan. last year.

In her complaint filed at the DOJ on Sept. 8 last year, Bacanto recounted her ordeal at the residence of the Tanenglians in Barangay Siena in Quezon City. She said she was not allowed to go out- not even once- during her stay in the house of respondents. Bacanto alleged that she was not allowed to call anybody outside the house. She said she was only allowed to write letters to her family in Tacloban, but upon dictation of Fayette who told her never to tell her parents of her never to tell her parents of her situation. She said her former employers made her” a slave without salary and enough food”.

She revealed that she was only given food whenever her employers were satisfied with her job. She said the refrigerators in the house were padlocked and that there were many instances when she was not able to eat for three consecutive days.


This deprivation of food prompted the maids to try to steal food. But she said they were caught stealing several times and were harshly punished by their bosses. She said she was mauled several times by Aleta, Fayette and Maximillian. She said she was even forced to eat dog food just to survive.

Submitted with the complaint were affidavits of representatives of police, Commission on Human Rights and Department Social Welfare and Development and other persons present during the rescue of the housemaid. The DOJ said it has also found merit in the human trafficking charges, citing the existence of an important aspect of the crime slavery.

“(Bacanto’s) employment was with the intention to enslave and to extract force labor service from the complainant. These intentions are inferred from the acts of respondents when they, in fact, detained complainant from the time she was employed and subjected her to incredibly long hours of work for two years and seven months without salary and under constant conditions of cruelty, maltreatment and threat,” the resolution stated.

Kidnapping, serious illegal detention

The DOJ added that all elements of kidnapping and serious illegal detention especially illegal deprivation of liberty by private individual for over five days- are present in the case of Bacanto.

“Respondents who are private individuals illegally deprived complainant of her liberty by not allowing her to leave their premises from the time of her employment on May 2006 p to January 2009 coupled with threat that if she made an attempt to leave, something of great harm will happen to her. This detention, needless to state, is a deprivation of complainant’s liberty” it explained.

However, the DOJ junked he charges of frustrated homicide against the Tanenglians. The camp of Tanenglian has already downplayed the allegations of the housemaid as “part of a bigger picture.”

Tanenglian’s lawyer, Raymund Quiroz has questioned Bacanto’s testimony: “If the maid (Bacanto) was able to go home to her province last February (last year) then how can she claim that she was being detained? And how come this story is only surfacing now?”

“As we all know somebody is trying to stop our client from testifying at the Sandiganbayan,” he added, apparently referring to the case against Tan where Tanenglian is reported planning to testify for the prosecution.

Still, Quiroz said they would answer all the charges once they receive a copy of the complaint.

The Philippine Star (Page 18)
January 22, 2010


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