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MANILA, Philippines – Two Filipinos accused of abandoning a corpse in Japan are being assisted by the Philippine embassy there, a senior Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official said on Wednesday, January 24.
Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega, who handles Migrant Workers Affairs in the DFA, said the embassy was able to visit the Filipina and is set to visit the other Filipino arrested over the same case by Thursday, January 25.
De Vega said the woman is a resident of Japan while the Filipino man is an Overseas Filipino Worker.
“She assures her family that she is alright and that she already has her court-appointed lawyer whom the Embassy will coordinate with. She denies all involvement,” De Vega said.
According to Japanese media, the two were arrested nearly a week apart for supposedly abandoning the corpses of a Japanese couple who had gone missing. The corpses were found, with apparent stab wounds, inside their Tokyo home.
The Japan Times identified the Filipina as 30-year-old Hazel Ann Baguisa Morales. She was arrested on January 19. The dead couple was identified as Norihiro Takahashi, 55, and his wife Kimie, 52.
The other Filipino, a man identified by The Japan Times as Bryan Jefferson Lising Dela Cruz, 34, was arrested on January 23. Japanese police say Dela Cruz “admitted to the allegations” or abandoning the bodies, reported the Japan Times.
In a statement on Thursday, January 25, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said it would provide assistance to Dela Cruz, the OFW involved in the case.
“As we condole with the families of the deceased Japanese couple, we assure our kababayan and his family of our utmost assistance in close coordination with Ambassador Milen Garcia and the PHL Embassy in Tokyo,” said DMW Officer-in-Charge Hans Cacdac.
Cacdac directed the Migrant Workers Office in Tokyo to meet with Dela Cruz to check on his condition, and determine any of his immediate needs. The office will also cover legal assistance.
Japan’s Penal Code imposes a maximum of three years of imprisonment for people who “damages, abandons or unlawfully possesses a corpse, the ashes or hair of a dead person, or an object placed in a coffin.”
De Vega had earlier clarified that the two are, thus far, accused only of abandonment but not of killing the Japanese couple.
According to Japanese media, Morales was in a relationship with the couple’s son. Dela Cruz was arrested in relation to the case after security camera footage showed Morales with another person in the vicinity of the couple’s home. – with a report from Michelle Abad/Rappler.com