“Bound by the Republic Act No. 10022, I am claiming for my right for adequate legal assistance the soonest possible time.” — Prisoner No. 182830 – Central Jail, Al Aweer Central Prison/General Department of Punitive Establishment, Dubai”
I received this from a friend in another newspaper where it could not be used. (His section does not treat of such matters).
The item is entitled: “Letter to the Editor: An open letter to Vice President Jejomar C. Binay from Prisoner X.” Sadly, because the letter-writer does not provide enough information about himself, it may be very difficult for anyone to be able to help him. Anyway, this is his letter that seeks government help:
“Section 1(e) Rule I of Republic Act No. 10022, or the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, states that ‘free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty. In this regard, it is imperative that an effective mechanism be instituted to ensure that the rights and interest of distressed overseas Filipinos, in general, and Filipino migrant workers, in particular, whether regular/documented or irregular/undocumented, are adequately protected and safeguarded.’
“Likewise, Section 3 Rule IX states that ‘the Legal Assistance Fund created under the Act shall be used exclusively to provide legal services for Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos in distress. It shall be used for payment of attorney’s fees to foreign lawyers for their services in representing migrant workers facing criminal cases abroad, bail bonds to secure the temporary release of workers under detention, court fees and charges and other litigation expenses.’
“I am Prisoner No. 182830, currently incarcerated at Al Aweer Central Prison in Dubai for drug trafficking charges. I was arrested on May 2010 for allegedly possessing 0.45 grams of methamphetamine and marked money worth AED 3,000 (~35,000 pesos), while my urine test for narcotics proved negative (ref. Gulf News: Issue of 29th July 2010), On March 2011, I was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined AED 50,000 (~600,000 pesos) to be followed by deportation (ref. The Gulf Today: Issue of 17th March 2011). I was charged and convicted without proper representation, investigation, inquisition and defense.
“The truth is ‘I was framed up’ due to finger-pointing by drug users who have cut deals and turned police assets. Is it a dead end when one is accused of a crime in a foreign land? There was NO legal assistance from the Philippine Embassy and consulate neither any ‘issue to escalate attempt’ from sought government offices, institutions and even media. I was neglected and deprived of my rights.
“This is the reality. The Philippine Embassy and consulate are unable to provide legal assistance, and by the time they do so, it’s already late. I thought the above law could protect me from being unjustly jailed, but I was wrong.
“Bound by the Republic Act No. 10022, I am claiming for my right for adequate legal assistance the soonest possible time.” — Prisoner No. 182830 – Central Jail, Al Aweer Central Prison/General Department of Punitive Establishment, Dubai
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And, here is another letter on Cebu Pacific: “My work takes me to many places, and I used to travel monthly to places like Cebu, Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod. I too have fallen victim of Cebu Pacific and their anti-customer ‘company policies.’
“I first tasted this sometime in December 2008. A civil unrest in Thailand and the subsequent take over of the airport caused the cancellation of my flight. I asked for a refund and they said it was not possible due to my ‘book and buy’ ticket, which by the way was not even a promo fare. Anyway that was P15,000 charged to my credit card–never used. They never informed me they will put it into a travel fund or anything–something I just found out later. By the time I found out the supposed travel fund was already “forfeited.”
“Then I asked to investigate it. Cebu Pacific said it was up to me to prove that the flight was cancelled and that I held all of the documents, etc. But do you not think that is stupid? They wrote me a letter here is a copy:
“‘Dear Mr. Tribdino: We regret to inform you that we cannot accommodate your request to waive the rebooking charges for your flight to and from Bangkok. Since the reason of the flight cancellation was force majeure, rebooking charges can only be waived if the new travel date is rebooked within 15 days. — Guest Services, Cebu Pacific Air’
” I then gave them a call to tell them that I did will not have any business anymore in Thailand and they should return my money. From then on they did not contact me already. Later I was told that there was a travel fund to which they can put the money in for future bookings. Later they tell me my booking was forfeited already.
“The customer service is so lousy that even for such a tiny request as a free USB supposedly given in an international flight for buying sunglasses which was ‘good until supply lasts,’ I complained that it is DTI policy — that this line is not acceptable. To that question they answered me:
“‘Thank you for your feedback. Your Reference Number for this transaction is GSAS0000668996-11. This will automatically be sent to our system. Please allow us seven (7) days to investigate your concern. Rest assured that our representative will get back to you. Thank you.
“.Note: This is an auto-generated response Please do not reply.’
“But I did call them and in the end gave up because they told me that it was ‘company policy’ to follow the contents of such a promotion.
“The same owners of Cebu Pacific are also the owners of Robinson’s Hotels— the Go Hotel! Chain — where the same lousy customer service is shown. And the same ‘company policy’ I have experienced. My family and I booked at that hotel specifically for a get together with my mother who was leaving for the U.S. I call them 7 days before arriving at the hotel to request and ensure that I can get my two rooms beside each other. When we arrive at the hotel the rooms we got were not only separate, they were on different floors!
“Well the pretty receptionist told me ‘company policy’ was to give the rooms available at the time of arrival.” –Raymundo B. Tribdino, San Pablo City, Laguna
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hvp 06.05.12Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at email@example.com