SINGAPORE: A domestic worker who used her employer’s facial products and filled the family’s water jug with toilet water was sentenced to four weeks in prison on Monday (September 27), according to a TODAY report.
Guzar Rose Magtanong, who claimed she was mistreated by her employer, pleaded guilty to one count each of mischief and dishonest misappropriation of property.
Today reported that the 32-year-old Filipino was working for a permanent resident in Singapore, her husband and their two-year-old son in a condominium around Marine Parade.
CCTV maid caught using facial products 28 times
In June of last year, Jozar’s business owner noticed that her beauty creams in the master bedroom were draining faster than usual.
She also noticed finger impressions in the creams when she herself was softly swiping the product, according to TODAY.
The business owner proceeded to install CCTV cameras overlooking her kitchen and bedroom wardrobe.
CCTV footage showed Gozar applying the creams on 28 occasions from July 29 to September 8 last year, TODAY reported.
The products affected were: Revive Facial Serum, Etude House Face Cream and La Prairie Anti-Wrinkle Cream for a total value of S$797.
Then Gozar’s employers took her to a maid agency – JPB Employment Agency – on September 10 with the intent to terminate her employment.
During an interview with the agency’s customer service official, TODAY reported that Gozar admitted to spitting her saliva into a jug the family drank water from.
She also admitted that she filled the jug with water from the toilet on numerous occasions.
Guzar said she would do this by dipping a rag, which she used to wipe the TV and tables, into the toilet bowl. TODAY said she then wrapped the cloth in a pail, before transferring the water to the jug.
A few days after the interview, Gozar’s employer reviewed footage from CCTV and saw that Gozar had spat into the jug of water on August 31.
According to TODAY, the business owner, her husband, and her son inadvertently drank from it afterwards.
Deputy Attorney General Grace Teo told the court that Guzar started all this in September 2019, with no reason to do so.
Alleged abuse at work
In the mitigation, Gozar’s attorney Kevin Liu said she was placed under an “unfavorable environment”.
“This does not absolve herself of her fault, but she is urging the court to pay attention to the stressors she was facing,” said Mr. Liu.
“These things were not actively provided by Gozar but were revealed when we asked her why she did it.”
Detailing some of the alleged abuse Jozar experienced while working, Mr. Liu said Jozar would sleep in the middle of the night and wake up at dawn.
Her employer also allegedly kept her cell phone so Gozar could not call her family, TODAY reported.
Regarding Gozar’s diet, Mr. Liu said that what you eat would be considered “poor” by a sane person. This included bread and coffee in the morning, porridge in the afternoon and leftovers in the evening.
“She was scolded because she ate eggs in the dorm. She weighed about 40 kg when she worked there. When she makes mistakes, she will be scolded with language like stupid.”
The worker also claimed that she owed her two months and 10 days’ salary. The Public Prosecutor stated that the Ministry of Manpower is investigating the matter.
Mr. Liu said Gozar has on several occasions requested a transfer. The report said she also told the servants’ agency that she wanted to escape, but was convinced to stay to support her three children back home in the Philippines.
The attorney general said that these complaints should not have a diluted weight on the punishment to be imposed as they have not been proven by the current investigations, adding that Gozar does not need to commit the crimes.
According to TODAY, District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed and said it was “something that cannot be condoned.”
“If you have any complaints, there are legitimate channels for you (broadcast them) but it’s not right for you to do it the way you did,” he added.
For both the offenses of mischief and embezzlement, Gozar could have been imprisoned for up to two years or fined, or both.