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The alleged abuse and maltreatment that a Filipino domestic worker suffered from the hands of the country’s ambassador to Brazil is “deplorable and conduct unbecoming a diplomatic official,” Senator Joel Villanueva said on Tuesday.

The chair of the Senate labor committee asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to begin swiftly its investigation into Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro, who was recalled after video footage revealed she maltreated her household staff.

“Embahada po natin dapat ang nangangalaga sa mga kababayan natin sa labas ng bansa. Paano pa po magtitiwala ang mga kababayan natin kung mismong ambassador ang abusado?” Villanueva said.

“Mariin po nating kinukundena ang insidenteng ito at hinihiling natin sa pamunuan ng DFA na imbestigahan ang ating ambassador sa Brazil,” he said in a statement.

“There are only about 1,200 Filipinos in Brazil, such a small group, probably closely knit. Let us make sure this incident cannot in anyway encourage maltreatment and any feeling of insecurity among Filipinos in Brazil,” he added.

The incident should also serve notice to the diplomatic service that “as representatives of our country to a foreign land, one is expected to protect the well-being of our people starting with the ones at their own backyards,” Villanueva pointed out.

The lawmaker also urged the DFA to examine existing grievance mechanisms in our posts to ensure that Filipinos have immediate recourse to the capital (DFA Manila) when incidents such as this happen to prevent its recurrence and escalation.

“This incident must give focus on what kind of grievance procedure our Embassies provide our OFWs. The DFA should recheck if there is an active system that actually works in providing protection to OFWs and any case of abuse and maltreatment does not go unchecked,” he said.

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