Sunday, November 11, 2012

NGO appeals to PNoy to give green light for DFA probe into complaints vs ambassador

News Release
Blas F. Ople Policy Center
November 10, 2012

NGO appeals to PNoy to give green light for DFA probe into complaints vs ambassador

A migrant workers' advocacy group called on the Office of the President to authorize the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to hold an investigation into allegations made by a Filipino domestic worker regarding acts of sexual harassment involving Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Shulan Primavera.

Susan Ople of the  Blas F. Ople Policy Center said that presidential authority is needed for the case to be heard by the DFA since the respondent is a foreign service official. "We are appealing to the President for the grant of authority to the DFA to proceed with its investigation so that this case can be resolved with fairness, transparency, and impartiality."

Ople expressed high hopes that President Aquino will grant the authority because of his desire for reforms and clear instructions to the foreign service to treat OFWs with respect at all times. She also hoped that the DFA can invite the labor attache and welfare attache to testify once the case is underway.

"Mabel" wants to get on with her life and be reunited with her family but she is committed to finish the case, the Ople Center added. Atty. Reynaldo Robles of ChanRobles & Associates has agreed to take on the case as "Mabel's" pro bono lawyer after listening to her story. 

The OFW advocate noted that it is very rare for an OFW to lodge a formal complaint against any personnel of the embassy, much less one vested with an ambassadorial rank. "This is why this case is so unique and important. All that she is asking for is that the truth come out."

Contrary to an earlier statement of Ambassador Shulan Primavera that the case was part of a "demolition job" against him instigated by another ambassador whom he had a rift with, the Ople Center said that "Mabel" does not even know the name or face of the ambassador being referred to by Primavera.

Ople said the manner by which the DFA also conducts its inquiry shall be closely watched by OFW organizations around the world. 

"This is no longer "Mabel's" battle alone. I know that OFW groups around the world are also watching this case with keen interest," the OFW advocate added.

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