MANILA – The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights is set to conduct another round of investigation after the primary witness to the alleged maltreatment of helper Elvie Vergara in Oriental Mindoro has survived a reported gun attack.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada delivered on Wednesday his privilege speech to the plenary about the slay tray and sought to provide more security for Vergara and the witness only identified as "Dodong".
"Mr. (Senate) President, I don’t want to point an accusing finger at anyone at this point but one cannot help but wonder about these bold and brazen acts against these defenseless individuals," Estrada said.
"I believe it is necessary to provide additional security for "Dodong", 'Dodong’s' employers and even to aliases JM and Patrick if they ultimately agree to testify before the Committee on Justice and Human Rights," he added.
In a press briefing earlier, Senator Francis Tolentino, who chairs the panel, said alias "Dodong" was reportedly attacked by two unidentified gunmen, wearing bonnets who forcibly entered his house in Paluan around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Based on the police report, the unidentified suspects fired shots at Dodong's house but he was luckily left unharmed.
Tolentino also revealed that armed men allegedly visited Vergara’s residence in Batangas City early on Wednesday.
The lawmaker already coordinated with Police Regional Director Gen. Joel Doria to secure the safety of Vergara and the witness.
"Hindi po tayo titigil dito hangga't hindi pa po ito natutuldukan at naniniwala po kami na kahit lima o anim yung abogado na dinadala nung Ruiz couple, eh merong pupuntahan po ito (We will not stop until this is unsolved and we believe that even the Ruiz couple have five or six lawyers, this will result to something)," Tolentino vowed to the plenary.
"Rest assured Mr. President that we will still conduct another hearing and with the assistance of Senators (Ronald) Dela Rosa, (Robin) Padilla, (Jinggoy) Estrada, and (Raffy) Tulfo, I think this will not just be highlighted but justice will be served," he added.
Last month, Tolentino's panel began an investigation on the alleged severe maltreatment of Vergara by her former employers in Occidental Mindoro from 2020 to 2023.
Vergara reportedly experienced physical, verbal, and emotional abuse that also led to her blindness as a result of heavy injuries. (PNA)