Star witness in alleged abuse of helper unharmed in attempted shooting

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — The primary witness in the alleged maltreatment of helper Elvie Vergara narrowly escaped being shot and killed in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro, the provincial police said on Wednesday.

Occidental Mindoro Provincial Director PCol. Dexter Danao said alias "Dodong" was watching television in his temporary shelter around 9 p.m. on Monday, when two unidentified armed men barged in.

He said Dodong managed to dodge the bullets and seek refuge in a neighbor's house.

"Tinitingnan na isang anggulo kasi baka gusto takutin ang witness para hindi siya makapag-testify sa kaso ni Elvie," Danao explained.

[Translation: An angle being considered is they may want to intimidate the witness so that he cannot testify in Elvie's case.]

The police official also pointed out that there was no CCTV footage available as the incident happened in a rural area.

Senator Francis Tolentino, who is currently investigating Vergara's case, condemned the attempted murder of Dodong.

"Nakipag-coordinate ako kay General Joel Doria, PNP Regional Director 4B, 9pm kagabi at secured na si Dodong," he said.

[Translation: I coordinated with General Joel Doria, PNP Regional Director 4B, 9pm last night and Dodong is secured.

The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which Tolentino chairs, last month began the investigation into the alleged abusive treatment of Vergara by her former employers in Occidental Mindoro from 2020 to 2023.

According to reports, Vergara was subjected to severe physical, mental, and emotional abuses that caused serious injuries including blindness.

CNN Philippines' digital producer Syrah Vivien Inocencio contributed to this story.