Family of deceased OFW in Saudi Arabia seeks justice, autopsy of remains

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — The family of Marjorette Garcia, the overseas Filipino worker who died in Saudi Arabia, wants her remains to be autopsied and be brought back to the Philippines as soon as possible.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Rits Parungao, shared how they lost communication with Garcia last month.

Last ko pong nakausap kapatid ko September 14 po. Pagdating ng 15 po wala na kaming contact,” said Parungao.

[Translation: I last spoke with her on September 14. We lost communication the following day, September 15]

After three days of having no communication with the OFW, the family then started asking her friends on social media even those who are working near her area.

September 24 nagpunta po kami sa agency sabi ko pakihanap ang kapatid ko kasi mag two-weeks na wala kaming balita. Pagdating ng September 27, ang sabi sa amin, tinawagan kami nasa morgue na kapatid ko,” she recalled.

[Translation: We went to her agency on September 24 and reported that we've not heard from her for two weeks. We received a call on September 27 and they told us that my sister was already in the morgue]

Na-shock po ako, hindi po ako makapaniwala kasi noong nag-usap kami wala kaming problema, masaya po siya. Iyak na ko ng iyak,” added Parungao.

[Translation: I was shocked and couldn't believe that she had died because during our last conversation, she seemed happy and didn't seem to have a problem. I have been crying and crying.]

The agency told the family of Garcia that she was “accidentally stabbed”.

Nag-ask po ako ng report sa POLO (Philippine Overseas Labour Office) sa Saudi. Ang sabi nasaksak daw pero wala na silang sinabi pang iba,” she added.

[Translation: I asked the POLO in Saudi Arabia and they said my sister was stabbed but did not give other information]

CNN Philippines is reaching out to authorities to confirm if Garcia was stabbed.

The family now seeks justice and wants more answers surrounding the death of their relative.

Gusto ko po paimbestigahan ang nangyari sa kapatid ko kasi di ko masabi kung ano talagang nangyari sa kanya, gusto ko rin po ma-autopsy ang bangkay niya,” she said.

[Translation: I want a thorough investigation of what happened to my sister. We want an autopsy of her remains]

Marjorie was the third among seven siblings according to Parungao. She went to Saudi Arabia in 2021 as an OFW to provide for her two children.

The OFW was supposed to go back to the Philippines by the end of October after her contract ends.

“We are working in coordination with the Philippine Embassy as well as local police authorities in an ongoing investigation into the circumstances behind OFW Marjorette’s death,” the Department of Migrant Workers said in a statement.

The DMW confirmed Garcia’s death on Monday. The agency added that it is working with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in repatriating her remains.

Garcia was deployed in 2021 and worked as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia.