Fact check - private individuals

FACT CHECK: Ex-employer of abused Filipino domestic worker still in PH


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FACT CHECK: Ex-employer of abused Filipino domestic worker still in PH
France Ruiz, who is accused of maltreating her former domestic helper Elvie Vergara, is detained in the Senate along with her husband

Claim: France Ruiz, the former employer of abused domestic helper Elvie Vergara, was caught attempting to flee the country.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: This claim was made in a September 23 video uploaded by the YouTube channel Showbiz News, which has 585,000 subscribers. As of writing, the video has 4,954 views and 84 likes.

The video’s title states: “France Ruiz, TUMAKAS ng PILIPINAS lumipad papuntang ibang BANSA! Elvie Vergara umaasa sa HUSTlSYA.” (France Ruiz fled the Philippines, flew to another country! Elvie Vergara hoping for justice.)

The video’s thumbnail shows a picture of Ruiz next to an arrow pointing to an unidentified woman flanked by two people. In the video, the narrator claims Ruiz was caught attempting to fly to California. 

The facts: There are no reports of Ruiz trying to leave the Philippines. She and her husband are currently detained in the Senate after being cited in contempt due to inconsistent statements during a Senate panel’s investigation into Vergara’s case.

Unrelated picture: The thumbnail picture supposedly capturing Ruiz’s attempt to flee is from a video originally posted on Newsflare in May 2018, which showed the kidnapping of a female tourist in a Bangkok airport.

Ongoing investigation: In August, the Senate committee on justice and human rights began a probe into the Ruiz family’s alleged maltreatment of Vergara after the latter’s situation circulated online.  

Vergara accused the Ruiz family of repeatedly beating her excessively, resulting in her partial blindness. She also said that they confiscated her phone and denied her wages. In a Senate hearing, doctors presented scans of Vergara’s fractured skull.  

Senate detention: Ruiz has repeatedly denied the allegations leveled against her. At the end of the September 19 hearing, she was detained in the Senate for allegedly lying and giving inconsistent statements to the panel.

Her husband, Pablo, is also being held within the Senate premises after lawmakers cited him in contempt during the latest hearing on September 25 where he supported the testimonies made by his wife.

False claim: Rappler has debunked a false claim that the Ruiz couple were sentenced to death over their maltreatment of Vergara. – Alfhea Abrogueña/Rappler.com 

Alfhea Abrogueña is a 3rd year International Studies student at De La Salle University, who is volunteering under Rappler’s Research Unit. 

This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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