MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) response to the case of Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who was caught on CCTV maltreating her service staff would be “severe to the fullest extent of the law”, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. 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 said in a statement.
Locsin said the recall of Mauro would allow the agency to thoroughly probe the incidents of physical abuse she committed against her household staff.
The DFA is in the process of forming a fact-finding team, but before an official investigation, Locsin said the agency will first get authority from the Office of the President to proceed “or it will be an exercise in futility”.
The Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991 states that “chiefs of mission who are commissioned by the President as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary shall not be investigated by the Board or separated from the Service unless there is an express written directive from the President.”
Locsin added that the DFA would be firm in meeting out the appropriate sanctions and administrative or criminal charges on Mauro if the results of its fact-finding will demand as such.
“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,” he said. “President Duterte has been clear from the beginning of his term that his administration will do everything to protect the rights of every single Filipino worker abroad.”
Locsin said the DFA is reviewing the policy of allowing Filipino diplomats to take Filipino domestic helpers from the Philippines rather than hiring them locally in their foreign posts. (PNA)