MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino said the Upper House is considering placing domestic help Elvie Vergara under the Department of Justice’s witness protection program.
This comes after “Dodong”, the main witness to Vergara’s alleged mistreatment at the hands of her employers, was attacked by a gunman.
“If Manang Elvie, I will discuss it with you (at) baka ma-compromise ang kanyang seguridad, (but) sinusubukan natin nain na ipasok with the witness protection program. May proseso lang ‘yun,” Tolentino told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.
(For Manang Elvie, I won’t talk about it because her safety could be compromised, (but) we are now trying to put her under a witness protection program. There is only one process to follow.)
As a reminder, it was also Tolentino who revealed that “Dodong” was already safe after the shooting that occurred Tuesday around 8:30 p.m.
In August, the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Tolentino, launched its motu proprio investigation into allegations of mistreatment and serious battery inflicted on Vergara.
The assistant was allegedly subjected to physical and emotional abuse by her employers from 2020 to 2023, resulting in partial blindness and other injuries.
Furthermore, in his demonstration delivered Wednesday in plenary session, Senator Jinggoy Estrada reiterated that it is necessary to also provide additional security to Dodong, to his current employers, as well as to the pseudonyms “JM” and “Patrick”. – the two other individuals who can testify on Vergara’s case.
“Witness protection is not just a legal obligation, it is a moral imperative. In upholding this duty, we not only promote the principles of fairness and equality, ensure an environment in which they can testify freely and without fear, and foster a culture where the voices of those who are silenced but prepared to speak up for truth are heard, whatever their status. social status and circumstances,” Estrada said.
“After all, ensuring their safety is a small matter if in exchange there is the presentation of the truth against those who violate our existing laws and the promotion of more appropriate policies,” he added in Filipino.
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