“We will never believe that Mama committed suicide,” Ronel Alberto asserted as he expressed frustration on the slow pace of the ongoing investigation on the case of his mother Mary Jean Alberto. Ronel is Mary Jean’s eldest son.
Mary Jean Alberto is a 44-year old OFW working for a Moroccan employer in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Her family heard of her death after being told by Mary Jean’s female employer via phone call on 2 October.
She originally went to Abu Dhabi for a job offer as a family driver but later found herself doing household work, cleaning the house and serving as a nanny to her Moroccan employers’ 3-year old child.
Rojan Alberto, youngest child of Mary Jean said that it is impossible that their mother died of suicide. “We have always known her as a strong woman. She never failed to give us words of encouragement whenever we faced problems. Days before we found out about our mother’s death, we can no longer contact her so we were very worried knowing that she has already been being subjected to maltreatment and abuse at the hands of her employers.”
Mary Jean’s sons also recounted that their mother is always gripped by fear whenever they talk to her on the phone through video call or on social media. She also sent photos showing her bruises after being physically assaulted by her employers.
“What’s really suspicious is that our mother’s employer claims that on the day of Mama’s death, she was awoken by a loud thud on the ground so she got up from bed and saw a lot of policemen. How can she even hear that when their unit is on the 13th floor of a high rise building?” Rojan said.
Ronel also recounted the difficulties that their family experienced from following up on their mother’s case from government agencies like DFA in Manila and Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi . They were told that the only thing government agencies could do is to repatriate her remains. “Without even asking for the cause of Mama’s death, the first thing they asked me is if I brought the requirements.”
Rohjean, eldest daughter of Mary Jean, just received Mary Jean’s death certificate last October 13. However, the cause of death was not indicated on the death certificate. Her children fear that there could be whitewash on their mother’s case.
“We want justice for Mama. This is what we are asking from the government,” Ronel and Rojan concluded.
Marina Sarno, Spokesperson of SANDIGAN or Samahan ng mga DH sa Gitnang Silangan said, “We strongly stand with the Alberto family in their quest to attain justice for Mary Jean Balag-ey Alberto. Like the Alberto family, we have also experienced government inaction after suffering from the hands of our cruel employers.”
Migrante International Chairperson Joanna Concepcion said that it is important that the Duterte goverment takes the demands of the Alberto family seriously. She then urged the Philippine government to work closely with Abu Dhabi authorities to conduct an impartial investigation and facilitate the repatriation of her remains. “The Duterte government must strictly coordinate with the family and never withhold any information. As long as the perpetrator is not made liable, we will continue to seek justice for Mary Jean Alberto.”