Are Philippine officials in Saudi Arabia reluctant to address the alleged kidnapping and mysterious death of domestic helper Marilyn Restor because the case involves a royal Saudi family?
Restor's sister, Lani Dizon, thinks so, as she accuses Philippine embassy officials and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of inaction toward her sister's case.
In an interview with GMA News Online on Friday, Dizon said during a long-distance phone conversation with an embassy official last March 27, several months after Restor was reportedly abducted by a certain "Jada," she was told that they are up against an "influential foe."
"Nung March 27 po, pumunta po ako ng DFA, tapos pinakausap po sa akin yung embassy ng Riyadh na ang sinasabi nila ay ginagawa po nila ang lahat kaso ma-[impluwensiya] talaga po 'yung magiging kalaban. Mahirap daw, mahirap," Dizon said.
"Ginagawa daw po nila ang lahat kaso wala po talaga silang magagawa dahil dun," she added.
"Jada" is reportedly related to a Saudi princess, who is the employer of Restor and her husband Arnulfo.
DFA denies 'inaction'
Sought for comment, DFA spokesman Charles Jose denied there was inaction on the part of Philippine embassy officials, saying investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of Restor's death.
"[The embassy is] assisting the husband in his request for an autopsy to determine the cause of death," he said via text message.
Jose also refuted the claim of Restor's camp, citing embassy officials, that she died after being pushed from a rooftop.
"The embassy will never say that because we don't know what the actual cause of death is yet," he said.
According to Dizon's account, the kidnapping was a result of an apparent tug-of-war between Jada and the victim's employer, the Saudi princess.
Dizon said Jada forcibly took Restor as Jada and her husband were blacklisted by employment agencies due to their alleged abusive behavior toward household helpers.
"Kasi bawal na silang kumuha ng katulong mula sa mga agency. Ngayon po, ayaw po siyang bigyan ng katulong, ang ginawa niya po, nag-abang po siya ng katulong sa labas. Kung sino po huminto, 'yun po dinampot niya. Na-tiyempohan, kapatid ko po ang nag-tapon ng basura," Dizon said
Restor's body was found in a morgue last June, a year after was abducted.
Dizon said Jada is currently in the middle of a legal battle against the Saudi princess and Restor's husband regarding the kidnapping. —KBK, GMA News