OTTAWA – First it was two Filipina caregivers who claimed to have been mistreated by Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla.
Now an 81-year-old Filipina woman claims she has been used in the affair, causing her to become sick, stressed and a pariah in her community.
Aurora Villanueva’s name was attached to a purported statement this month from the Brampton Filipino Seniors Club.
The statement praised Dhalla’s work with the Filipino community and said the MP had been “unjustly smeared” by allegations of abuse levelled by two caregivers hired to care for her mother.
But Villanueva issued another statement Thursday, retracting her initial endorsement of Dhalla.
She now claims she was “misled by not being provided with sufficient information to make an appropriate decision” about signing the first missive.
She said the initial statement was written by Dhalla’s office and she simply agreed to sign it, without reading it thoroughly and without being aware of the seriousness of the allegations against the MP.
She also claims the statement misrepresented her as president of the senior’s club. She is no longer president and has no authority to speak for the club – a point which she said she made clear to the Dhalla aide who asked her to sign the missive.
“I hereby request that Ms. Dhalla stop claiming that she has the support of the Brampton Filipino Seniors Club and me,” she writes.
“Both claims are false and should not be used in her defence in this inquiry.”
Villanueva said the statement has caused her grief from fellow Filipinos angry that she appeared to side with Dhalla over the Filipina caregivers – and from fellow seniors club members furious that she appeared endorse Dhalla on their behalf.
“I want to clear my name because I have fallen sick already,” she said in a phone interview Thursday.
“I’m really emotionally stressed. I don’t know what to do. I was ridiculed. I was disgraced.”
Dhalla issued her own brief statement in response:
“I appreciate Ms. Villanueva’s clarification; however she is not speaking on behalf of all the Brampton Filipino Seniors Club. Many members of the Filipino Seniors Club and community have expressed their support in letters, phone calls and emails.”