Filipina maid tied to tree as punishment by Saudi royal safely home

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Photographs of the woman’s punishment shared on Facebook by a woman who claimed to a coworker at the home of a member of the Saudi royal family.

A Filipina maid who was tied to a tree as a punishment by her employer — said to be a member of the Saudi royal family — is safely home.

Her return from the Middle Eastern kingdom was confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) today (Friday, May 10).

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She has been identified as Lovely Acosta Baruelo who arrived last night on a flight from Riyadh.

In a statement, the DFA admitted that Ms Baruelo’s case had only been referred to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh on the same day that she was repatriated.

The statement said: “The Department of Foreign Affairs reports that OFW [Overseas Filipino Worker] Lovely Acosta Baruelo from Saudi Arabia arrived in Manila at 8.55pm on 9 May 2019. The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh reported that the case of OFW Baruelo was referred to them on 9 May, and she was repatriated on the same day. OFW Baruelo was allegedly punished by her employer by being tied to a tree.”

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Saudi royal punished small mistakes

Yesterday, Facebook user Kristina Cabrera Sononir posted images purportedly showing Ms Baruelo tied to a tree, as she asked Philippine authorities for help. Within hours, the post had been shared more than 90,000 times. 

One person commenting on the post claimed to be Ms Baruelo’s co-worker. She said their employer got angry after Ms Baruelo left a piece of household furniture outside in the sun. She also claimed that the employer was a member of the Saudi royal family, who would physically punish them for the smallest of mistakes.

Ms Baruelo is by no means the first Filipina maid to be mistreated by her Saudi Arabian employer. 

Last September we reported that the kingdom’s authorities had filed a torture case against a woman who forced her maid to drink household bleach.

Agnes Mancilla, aged 35, from Infanta, Quezon, was made to drink the substance after she made a mistake in preparing tea.

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