A Bacoleña is seeking the help of the Bacolod City government through its Sectoral Concerns Office for the return to Bacolod of her sister who is allegedly being maltreated by her Indonesian husband and his family.
Lilibeth Codera of Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod City, had written Congressman-elect Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia regarding the plight of her sister, Janet, the youngest of 10 children, who left the country five years ago to live with her husband, Tedy Bruntaran, an Indonesian businessman.
Codera said Janet is reportedly being physically abused and treated like a housemaid by her husband and mother-in-law.
Janet is now in the custody of the Philippine Embassy in Indonesia after she escaped from her husband and his family last week.
Codera said Janet was pursued by her Indonesian husband when she was only 21 after they got to know each other over the internet. Since her sister left, she was not able to contact her for three years since she (Janet) has been changing her cellphone numbers often, she said.
Jeff Esperanzate, senior staff of the Bacolod Overseas Filipino Worker’s Desk-Sectoral Concerns under the City Mayor’s Office, said Janet does not want to go home without their 5-year-old daughter.
However, her husband refuses to give her their child, he said.
Esperanzate said they have written Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario about Janet’s situation and they also furnished Vice President Jejomar Binay’ Migrant Workers Office and the Presidential Management Staff a copy of the letter.
Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Maria Rosario Aguinaldo has assured them that they will do their best to help Janet get her child from her husband.
Aguinaldo said the Philippines and Indonesia have similar laws concerning the custody of children seven years and below, Esperanzate said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs could not help them because, according to the OWWA, Janet is not an Overseas Filipino Worker, he said.
“Janet used to live with her husband’s family since he is a mama’s boy. However, he does not introduce her to their guests as his wife but treats her like a house helper,” he added.
Esperanzate said Janet’s Indonesian husband had a previous wife and they have children. He wants Janet to go home and leave the child behind.
Meanwhile, Esperanzate said the Office of Sectoral Concerns has assisted 223 families of OFW’s since 2006.
He said Codera could be the last client they will be serving before a new administration comes in since their office was created by Leonardia under the City Mayor’s Office.
Codero said they hope Leonardia could help her sister come home together with her daughter when he gets to Congress.*CGS