Locsin promises 'severe' response to recalled envoy's alleged maltreatment of staff
File photo shows Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
The STAR/File
Locsin promises 'severe' response to recalled envoy's alleged maltreatment of staff
Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - October 28, 2020 - 10:06am

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said his department would conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the alleged incidents of physical abuse of her household staff by the recently-recalled Philippine ambassador to Brazil.

"The DFA will be firm in meting out the appropriate sanctions and administrative or criminal charges on Ambassador Mauro if the results of the DFA's investigation will demand as such," Locsin said on Twitter

However, he said he would seek permission from the Office of the President before proceeding with the probe. 

On Monday, the top diplomat disclosed that Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro was instructed to go home immediately "to explain the maltreatment of her service staff." DFA later the same day confirmed that the ambassador was recalled after the release of video footage showing her "berating and mistreating her household staff."

A report from Brazil's GloboNews identifies the victim as a 51-year-old Filipino who worked in the ambassador's official residence behind the embassy's main building. The CCTV footage recorded from the diplomatic residence was used as evidence in a complaint against Mauro in late August, the report said.

"Rest assured, the DFA's response on this matter will be severe to the fullest extent of the law especially when it involves a high-ranking DFA official setting an example to ensure that matters like these will never be tolerated," Locsin said Wednesday. 

He added that the foreign affairs department is reviewing its current policy which allows Filipino diplomats to take Filipino domestic helpers from the Philippines instead of hiring them locally in their respective posts. 

Locsin: Diplomats held to an even higher standard

"Under my leadership, the DFA will not tolerate in any way whatsoever actions by any of its ranking officers or staff that go against our primary mandate, which is the promotion and protection of the welfare of all overseas Filipinos," Locsin said Wednesday. 

"Let me reiterate the Department of Foreign Affairs is giving this matter its utmost attention, true to its core mission of protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers. All our diplomats are held to an even higher standard by virtue of their profession's mandate, not least to be the face of our compassionate country, and sworn commitment to public service," he added. 

DFA earlier revealed that Mauro's household staff left Brazil on October 21 and is back in the country. As of Tuesday afternoon, the agency said Mauro herself is not yet back in the Philippines. 

According to the official website of Philippine Embassy in Brazil, Mauro presented her credentials to Brazilian President Michel Temer on Apr. 28, 2018. The Philippine Embassy in Brazil also has jurisdiction over Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. 

In July, the DFA confirmed that a former Philippine ambassador to South Korea was facing a sexual harassment complaint that was received in February by the Philippine embassy in Seoul.

The ambassador resigned from the DFA on March 16.

"The Department is committed to ensuring that justice is rendered in this case. It also remains committed to cultivating and preserving a work environment where all personnel are treated with respect and dignity, and free from harassment of any kind," the DFA said in a media statement then. — with a report from Patricia Viray

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