Senator Christopher “Bong” Go welcomed the results of the investigation and recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs on the reported maltreatment and abuse of a Filipino embassy household staff member committed by then Philippine ambassador to Brazil, Marichu Mauro.
The decision, which was signed and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte as he announced last night, metes out the penalty of dismissal from the service, with the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office, among others.
“I hope that this serves as a lesson to all public officials that we will not tolerate any form of abuse of power. As the President always emphasized, our duty is always to protect the lives and welfare of our people,” Go emphasized.
The DFA’s fact-finding team concluded Mauro had inflicted physical harm on her household staff inside the official residence on several occasions. The former ambassador will be administratively charged for gross violation of the Philippine Foreign Service Act, grave misconduct, grave offense of oppression, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. .
The Senator also reminded concerned authorities to make sure that justice is served and the accused is made to face the consequences of her actions to the fullest extent of the law.
“Lalo na’t mataas ang katungkulan nito, lalong dapat ito mapanagot. We have to hold public servants accountable at all times,” he added.
In an earlier statement, Senator Go slammed Mauro’s conduct and expressed support for domestic helpers and other overseas Filipinos, especially those who are victims of violence and cruelty abroad.
Go reiterated his push for the passage of his bill which seeks to establish the Department of Overseas Filipinos. Senate Bill 1949 is currently being deliberated in the Senate after having been identified as one of the priority legislations of the 18th Congress.
Go emphasized the country must ramp up its mechanisms to protect Filipinos from any form of abuse especially those abroad who need immediate support and guidance from government.
“Kung in distress ang isang Pilipino abroad, kadalasan, hindi alam kung saan lalapit para humingi ng tulong. Itinuturing natin silang mga bagong bayani kung kaya’t dapat lang na maibigay sa kanila ang mabilis, maayos, at maaasahang serbisyo na dapat nila matanggap mula sa ating gobyerno. Tungkulin nating proteksyunan ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino nasaan man sila sa mundo,” he said.
Under the proposed measure, the department shall subsume and streamline all responsibilities pertaining to overseas employment and migration that are presently scattered among various departments and agencies. It will be primarily responsible for protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of overseas Filipinos, as well as managing and monitoring their employment abroad and reintegration once they return.
Notably, SBN 1949 also directs the implementation of a one country-team approach which shall require all officials in Philippine diplomatic posts to act together as one team, per country of assignment.
The proposed department will also be responsible for providing social and welfare services, including legal assistance and insurance, to overseas Filipinos. It shall likewise administer reintegration programs and provide Assistance to Nationals (ATN) services, especially during national emergencies.