Migrante International slammed the Philippine government for its continued anemic reactions to the latest developments in the death of Finardo Cabilao, a social worker attaché assigned at the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia.
After more than a month since the death of Finardo Cabilao, Malaysian police is now saying Cabilao was gay and is attributing his death to a crime of passion. This rules out the initial speculation that he was murdered by a syndicate involved in human trafficking.
"This is a most unacceptable and bizarre twist to this story, and one most disrespectful to Mr. Cabilao, to his wife and family!" Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International said. "This looks more like a cover-up as a crime of passion cannot explain many particularities in Cabilao's death."
Cabilao was found dead in his apartment in Malaysia last August 5. Family and friends of Cabilao believed he was tortured because the autopsy report showed his dead body was severely mutilated. According to a source, all his files in his computer were gone. Colleagues also conveyed that he has been receiving death threats.
"We find it very curious as to why the Philippine government is exceptionally quiet. One of their own has been brutally murdered and nary a complaint was heard, not even a squeak! Are they afraid of the truth?" stated Martinez. "Cabilao was known for being a staunch defender of Filipino sex trafficking victims and at the time of his death, was believed to have been working on a case that would reveal the conditions of human and sex trafficking of Filipino migrants in Malaysia.We believe there is more to this than meets the eye."
The group believes that Cabilao's murder is merely the tip of the ice berg and a thorough and independent investigation of his death will open up a Pandora's box of the real and abject plight of our OFWs in Malaysia. Its recent fact-finding mission to Sabah revealed stories of Filipinos working under slave-like conditions in plantation farms. There are also accounts of how sex trafficking is so prevalent, not only in Sabah but in other parts of Malaysia, indicating a more widespread and sinister system in place and the possible involvement of government officials.
"Testament to the shocking conditions of the Filipinos in Malaysia are the stories of 17 recent deportees from Sabah who arrived in Iloilo last Thursday. The plantation workers, who were victims of illegal human trafficking, were subjected to debt-bondage and inhumane working conditions," added Martinez.
"We demand that the Philippine government initiate an independent and more thorough investigation to ferret out the truth about Cabilao's death and its link to the prevalence of human and sex trafficking in Malaysia." Martinez concluded. "Justice must be served to Cabilao's murderers and this can only be done if the authorities turn their sights on the existence of human trafficking inMalaysia!".