Duterte OKs probe of Philippines envoy to Brazil

President Duterte has given the green light to investigate Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro for alleged maltreatment of a member of her household service staff.

Duterte also recalled Mauro to Manila, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said yesterday, adding the Chief Executive expects to personally see the diplomat by Nov. 2.

Since Mauro is a presidential appointee, Roque said it is deemed necessary that any investigation should be approved by the President.

Roque said the Department of Foreign Affairs has been allowed to proceed with its investigation on the victim’s complaint. He said it would be up to the DFA to penalize the ambassador once proven she abused her authority.

“We are leaving the matter to the DFA. Secetary Locsin has vowed to imposed the proper punishment,” Roque said in a press briefing yesterday in Panglao, Bohol.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the DFA has recalled Mauro, so the agency could investigate the case thoroughly.

Footage of a closed-circuit television camera showing the supposed abuse has been aired in Brazil by a local news firm.

Malacañang said the President does not tolerate such alleged acts of violence against Filipinos, especially when the concerned person is supposed to be the one protecting them.

Fair probe

Meanwhile, Sen. Bong Go said the investigation must also be fair in order for the truth to come out and hold the oppressor accountable.

Go said Mauro should be allowed to express her side.

“The DFA has an order to recall the ambassador and is expected to be in the country by Nov. 2 to face the investigation,” Go said.

He said the ambassador has no right to hurt a maid.

“No one has the right to hurt others. Your maid takes good care of you, you also take good care of your maid, especially when you are together in another country,” he said.

Go said the President has always been firm when he said that the protection and promotion of the rights, welfare and well-being of Filipinos overseas are a paramount responsibility of the government.

“Our ambassadors are duty-bound to carry out this mandate, no questions asked. In light of the gravity of the allegations against the ambassador, the President has given the green light to proceed with the investigation of the official concerned, as recommended by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,” Go said.

He said the impartial investigation would be carried out consistent with relevant provisions of the law, particularly the Foreign Service Act of 1991.

“President Duterte and I we will always prioritize the welfare and lives of ordinary Filipinos who work well to support their families. Especially our kababayans who are separated from their families just to provide a better life for their children,” he said.

Go reminded the ambassadors to ensure the welfare of Filipinos working abroad.

“As a senator and member of the Senate foreign relations committee as well as labor and employment committee, I remind them that the job of an ambassador is to take care of the welfare of every Filipino and be the right example for every citizen. You are mandated to protect our kababayans abroad,” Go said.

He said his office is open and ready to provide any assistance or a new job to Mauro’s former maid, a 51-year-old Filipina.

He also encouraged the public and anyone who wants to report abuse, especially house staff workers and housemates who have grievances, to call his office.

Punishment sought

Manila Rep. Benny Abante wants Mauro punished over the alleged maltreatment of her household helper.

Abante urged the DFA to speed up its investigation on the matter.

“Due process requires that the side of the accused is heard, but I cannot think of anything that would justify what we all saw in the video. I believe it speaks for itself,” Abante said.

He lamented how the ambassador committed such action when she is supposed to protect fellow Filipinos in her jurisdiction.

“Philippine diplomats abroad who are duty-bound to come to the defense of abused and mistreated overseas Filipino workers in their areas of jurisdiction should be above reproach and must treat their workers in the manner by which we want our OFWs to be treated by their own employers,” Abante said.

“Our ambassadors and members of our foreign service are expected to represent our country, represent us, in countries where they are assigned. It is my belief that the majority of our foreign service serve our country with honor, dignity, and grace – but all it takes is one bad example to alter this perception,” he said.– Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edu Punay

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