Foreign Affairs spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said Violeta Cortez was found lying unconscious on a bridge in Damascus on January 5. She died in a hospital 3 days after the accident.
"Nakikiramay po tayo sa pamilya ni Violeta kasi pumanaw na si Violeta... Ang hinala ay biktima siya ng hit-and-run. Kaaagad dinala siya ng isang good samaritan sa hospital [We sympathize with the family of Violeta because Violeta passed away... We suspect that she was a victim of a hit-and-run. She was brought to a hospital by a good samaritan]," said Hernandez in an interview with Noli de Castro on dzMM, Tuesday morning.
According to Hernandez, the Syrian employer said Cortez left their home and only found out about the accident when police summoned them.
Last January 3, de Castro was able to talk to Cortez on his radio program.
During that phone interview, Cortez said she really wanted to go home but her employer did not want to release her even if the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) was willing to pay the deployment cost.
However, Hernandez said the embassy was able to negotiate with her employer and finally agreed on paying $2,000 as deployment cost.
"Handa na silang pumunta sa embahada para sa repatriation. Nagkasundo na yung embassy na i-repatriate at dadalhin si Violeta sa embahada for repatriation sana this week. Ang pinagkasunduan ay $2,000. Last January 8, dapat dadalhin na doon sa embassy si Violeta kasama na yung exit visa para for repatriation [They were ready to proceed to the embassy for repatriation. The embassy had made an agreement to repatriate and bring Violeta to the embassy for repatriation suppose to be this week. The settlement was $2,000. Last January 8, Violeta was to be brought to the embassy along with her exit visa for repatriation]," he added.
The DFA spokesperson said it may take a month before Cortez' remains are repatriated since the case is still under investigation.
"This is still under investigation pero ang ginawa po ng embahada ay ini-relay sa Ministry of Foreign Affairs para tingnan at gawin yung kumpleto at mabilis na imbistigasyon para malaman natin yung katotohanan sa kanyang pagkamatay at masiguro nating walang foul play [This is still under investigation but what the embassy did was relay it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to look and make a complete and quick investigation to determine the truth behind her death and to make sure there is no foul play]," said Hernandez.
"Gusto din natin na ang magbabayad ng repatriation cost ay yung employer at kung halimbawa may mga compensation na kailangang bayaran nila [We also want the employer to pay for the repatriation cost and for example there are compensation they need to pay], we will also demand that."
Hernandez said he got in touch with Cortez's family in San Pedro, Laguna, as well as with her sister, Emma, who is also working in Syria.
"Mukhang gusto nang sumabay ni Emma na kasama yung labi ni Violeta sa repatriation [It seems Emma also wanted to be repatriated along with the remains of Violeta]," he said.
It was also known that Violeta was sent to work abroad by an illegal recruiter. The government also plans to penalize the person responsible for her illegal departure for Syria.