Friday, January 22, 2010

Charges against Tanenglians continue to pile up

ANOTHER criminal case has been filed by the Department of Justice against businessman Mariano Tanenglian, his wife, and their two children based on the complaint of another former housemaid.

The DOJ Task Force on Women and Children found probable cause against Tanenglian, wife Aleta and children Fayette and Maximillian on the nine counts of child abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention charges filed by Aljane Bacanto.

State prosecutors gave weight to the direct and positive testimony of Bacanto who testified that she was only 16 when employed by the Tanenglians at their residence in Quezon City. The DOJ panel 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 treat,” the DOJ resolution said.

“Respondents who are private individuals illegally deprived complainant of her libery by not allowing her to leave their premises from the time of her employment in May 2006 up to January 2009 coupled with threat that 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,” the panel said.

The DOJ, however, dismissed the charge of frustrated homicide against the Tanenglians.

Bacanto said that during her three-year stay at the Tanenglians, she suffered extreme cruelty and physical abuse and was subjected to conditions prejudicial to her normal development as a child. She said the Tanenglians barred her from going out of the house and calling anybody of the phone. She said her letters to her family in Tacloban were dictated by Fayette who forbade her to tell her parents of her situation.

On top of that, she never received any salary or was given, along with the other housemaids, enough food.

Bacanto said she was given food when her employers were satisfied with her work. She said the refrigerators in the house house were padlocked and there were many instances when she was nothing to east for three consecutive days. At one point, shje said she was forced to eat dog food to survive, She said hunger prompted her and the other maids to try o steal food but they caught several times and mauled by their employers.

She was rescued from the Tanenglian household in January 2009 by social workers and law enforces.

Last week, the DOJ filed similar criminal charges against the Tanenglians based on the complaint of another maid, Mary Jane Sollano, who was rescued by authorities seven months after Bacanto.

Bacanto’s testimony supported that of Sollano’s. Bacanto was the one who reported their ordeal to Sollano’s family after she left Tanenglian’s house, which led to the rescue of the latter.
The DOJ is investigating a similar complaint filed by a third housemaid, Gina Renacia.

Evangeline C. de Vera
Malaya, B2
January 21, 2010


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