MANILA - A new witness has emerged to corroborate the testimony of abused maid Bonita Baran.
Baran's legal counsel, Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, said Eric Balkin was the bus driver who brought the house helper from Manila to her hometown in Virac, Catanduanes last May.
The driver positively identified Analiza and Reynold Marzan as the "Chinese-looking" couple who brought Baran to the bus terminal in Cubao.
"May isang lalaki at babae na lumapit sa akin. Hinabilin si Madam Bonita na nakaupo na sa bag. Sinabi sa akin ng lalaki na paki-alalayan pagdating sa Tabaco Pier dahil hindi na gaanong nakakakita," he told radio dzMM.
"Noong unang pagkakakita ko sa kanya, naka-shades siyang malaki, na halos 'di makita ang mata. Natatakpan ang kilay niya, yung ilong at labi ang kita, at iyung buhok niya medyo maayos naman. Naka white siyang long sleeve polo at black pants," he added.
According to Acosta, the driver is set to file his testimony to help Baran in his lawsuit against the Marzan couple.
Baran, during her first radio interview, said the Marzan couple made her wear a diaper so she would not have a hard time finding a comfort room during her trip.
Baran went blind after allegedly being punched repeatedly by Analiza on the face. She also recalled being scorched with a hot iron, force-fed with cockroaches and spoiled food, choked and stabbed with scissors in the arm.
Acosta believes Eric's testimony will give more weight to the prosecution's case against the couple.
"Mabigat ito dahil sabi rin niya (Eric), ay nang makita niya si Bonita, ang nakita niya maga yung bibig. Pero yung mata, nagtataka nga siya, bakit hindi halos tinatanggal ang itim na sunglass kahit madilim na, gabi na. Hindi nag-CR, hindi kumain o bumaba [ng bus] bagamat dalawang beses silang nagstop-over," Acosta said.
The trial against the Marzan couple is ongoing before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court where they are facing illegal detention charges.
Analiza, meanwhile, is facing attempted homicide and serious physical injury charges before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court.
The couple pleaded not guilty to all the charges.