Brazilian whacks

LOOKING ASKANCE - Atty. Joseph Gonzales - The Freeman

The irony. The very woman given the mission to protect Filipino workers marooned abroad is the same person who abuses her domestic helper there.

Marichu Mauro. That is the name of our ambassador to Brazil. Appointed to the highest post in that territory (and more!) in order to be the voice of the voiceless, the enforcer of rights, and the protector of their dignity.

Well, our high expectations were quite dashed with the scandal now engulfing the ambassadress plenipotentiary. Caught on video assaulting her maid, not just once but several times over the course of the year, her excellency was quite excellent at whacking away at the insect-like critter bugging her existence.

If the video had not been leaked, if an enterprising employee in the workplace had not dared to smuggle out that video, if the local Brazilian news station had not decided to splash the scoop all over local media we would not have known that a countrywoman of ours was suffering direly within Madame Marichu’s lair.

We become so indignant when we see countrymen being abused by foreign employers. It happens in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Merciless and inhuman treatment from non-Filipinos. We gnash our teeth and shake our fists. All the more, then, that we should not hesitate to voice out our indignation when a fellow countryman is the abuser. And worse, when the very purpose of that countryman is to shield our hapless co-citizens from exactly that kind of treatment. When she’s being paid a salary with our very own taxes.

Last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs chose the maleficent Mauro to be featured during Women’s Month. In her publicized statement, mauler Marichu proclaimed that she made “it a point therefore to guide and inspire my Embassy personnel into becoming leaders who stand up and make our government stand out”. (Well, stand out she certainly did.)

What did she mean by that, exactly? That if embassy personnel (like her hapless maid) don’t follow her, and aren’t inspired by her, they might get slapped and shaken as an extra incentive, just so they get the point?

She also says “I motivate my Embassy personnel to not wait for others to create the next great project and come up with the next great motivation.” Should we surmise that fear and pain are great motivators that she has in her toolbox as well?

Truly an inspiration to other women who want to climb the diplomatic ladder, she ends by loftily reminding us non-believers that “joining the DFA is not just a job, but a commitment to the Filipino people”. I missed the fine print where it defines who the “Filipino people” are. Must be limited to the bigwigs, the powerful and the wealthy, that she would normally kowtow to. No mention of maids, seamen, construction workers, or her own domestic staff.

The DFA has released a statement that they will investigate her (but, it has not taken down its Facebook post where she is nominated as Women’s Month model). I’m eagerly awaiting the results of that investigation. There should not be any difficulty in finding guilt - perhaps what will be more difficult is determining the commensurate penalty.

Does she get axed? Does she face criminal charges? Does she pay damages to her maid? Does she have to kneel and traverse a kilometer of glass shards while wailing and begging for forgiveness? (I dream big.)

Our senators and other officials have already expressed shock at model Marichu’s behavior. Hopefully, then, the investigation will not be a whitewash where we end up hearing weak excuses proffered to shield Marichu, much like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shielding those who ordered P389 million pesos worth of dolomite to be dumped in Manila Bay, there to pose as a white sand beach for the next couple of months.

But that’s another story of abuse of the Filipino people.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with