‘Letters from hell…” an ad for Villar


“Inquirer, being the leading news paper in the country has in its employ the best journalists and editors. I can only think of one reason for the existence of the above. This news article kuno is a paid advertisement for Manny Villar!”

At the bottom right corner of the Philippine Daily Inquirer today is the story about Jennifer Calinao-Ligaya entitled “Letters from hell saved distressed OFW”. Jennifer arrived in Bahrain in August 20 to work as a domestic helper. Through her agency, she was assigned to a job which included cleaning two houses. After a month, she refused to work because she almost collapsed (most probably of fatigue). Her employer (the agency) demanded she pays $2,000 for refusing the job, or else work for two years without pay”. Because she did not have the money, her employer locked her in a “cramped warehouse” where she was fed with a piece of bread and a glass of water everyday.

To save herself, she wrote letters asking for help on carton box torn into pieces, “using a ballpoint pen she had hidden in her shoe.”

The letter changed hands until it reached Senator Manuel Villar who sponsored Jennifer’s return ticket and reimbursed her employer the $2,117.

It is a heart-breaking story most of our fellow Filipino OFW experience with mostly Arab employers. There are however details about the story that bother me: 1. The story failed to mention anything about the administrative and/or criminal charges against the agency for locking Jennifer up; 2. The employer demanded only $2,000, why the $117 mark-up Villar had to “reimburse” the employer? And finally, 3.  Jennifer arrived in the Philippines 30 September; why is this story printed only now?

Inquirer, being the leading news paper in the country has in its employ the best journalists and editors. I can only think of one reason for the existence of the above. This news article kuno is a paid advertisement for Manny Villar!

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