Tagged in 'sex-for-flight' scheme: Who is Antonio Villafuerte?

Camille Diola - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Assistant Labor Attaché Antonio Villafuerte is among the names that surfaced in connection with the sex-for-flight scheme based in the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Female overseas Filipino workers alleged in radio interviews on Monday that Villafuerte used his position in the Middle East to provide air tickets and documents to distressed overseas workers in
exchange for sexual favors.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) lawyer Lea Fortuna ordered Villafuerte's recall and return to the Philippines on Monday to answer allegations following sworn accusations by the three overseas Filipino workers.

Related story: DOLE recalls official tagged in 'sex-for-flight' scheme in Riyadh

Akbayan Rep. Waldon Bello, who exposed the scheme earlier this month, recounted in a radio interview last June 20 how Villafuerte allegedly took advantage of a distressed OFW he identified as a certain "Michelle."

"Si Michelle ay distressed OFW, nagpunta siya sa shelter waiting for her ticket. According to her the Assistant Attaché Tony Villafuerte told her na ang Egyptian ang magbabayad ng kanyang ticket in return of a sex act ... Pero si Tony mismo started to take advantage on her. Pero hindi pumayag si Michelle, at naawa din 'yong Egyptian sa kanya," Bello said.

According to his profile under the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, the 49-year-old Villafuerte hails from Tabuk,  Kalinga Province, married and has three children residing in Sampaloc, Manila.

Before being sent to Riyadh, Villafuerte held posts in DOLE-National Conciliation and Mediation Board and was an administrative assistant at POLO in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

He finished his law degree from the University of the East and took up masters in government management at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2009.

A certain "Angel," married with two children back in the Philippines, recounted that a POLO official in Riyadh particularly asked her to work "part time" as his sexual partner before she can finally return home.

"Kung gusto ko daw pong makauwi ng maaga mag-part time daw po ako," the victim said in a radio interview on Monday.

She added that she approached the official for help after being employed in Saudi. She said she felt that the POLO official's questions were obscene and abusive.

"Yung tanong niya sa akin, sinagot ko po siya ng maayos kahit po sobrang bastos talaga, hindi ko po masikmura," Angel said.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario has announced that some "sex-for-fly" scheme allegations have been "confirmed." He said that a labor official from the Middle East has been recalled and will be questioned once he arrives in Manila.

Related story: DFA: Sex-for-fly allegation vs DOLE official confirmed

"Certain allegations were confirmed and this was accomplished by the three witnesses from Riyadh (in Saudi Arabia) coming forward and providing us their testimony," Del Rosario.









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