Bantay OCW rejoiced when OFW Family Club (OFWFC) party-list got two seats in Congress.
Former Ambassador Roy Señeres, who chairs the OFW Family Club, worked as a labor attaché of the Philippine Embassy in the United Arab Emirates during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino. He was ambassador in Washington D.C. during the Ramos administration and chair of the National Labor Relations Commission during the Estrada term.
Based on his experience and credentials as a lawyer, Señeres Sr. we believe he is well qualified to represent OFWs.
But who are behind this party-list group?
The OFWFC had cited five nominees: Señeres Sr., followed by Juan “Johnny” Revilla, Roy Señeres Jr., Hannah Señeres Francisco and Melchor Rosales.
Señeres Sr. told us he was rushing to file the list of nominees as required by the Comelec and he could not immediately think of other names so he simply listed his children who are OFWFC officials themselves. He said he has planned to change the nominees at another time.
Revilla said that when their group won two seats in the House, Roy Jr., Hannah and Rosales were asked to resign. The Señeres children then nominated Jo Christine Napoles, the daughter of Janet Lim Napoles of JLN Trading who is implicated in a P10-billion pork barrel scam. Jo Christine’s name cropped up before the alleged scam hogged the headlines, Señeres Sr. said.
According to Señeres Sr., his children and the young Napoles have been friends since college days.
Revilla was ousted from the group due to a citizenship issue. Revilla claims he renounced his American citizenship even before the OFWFC submitted his name to the Comelec. Señeres, however, says Revilla has not shown him proof of this citizenship change.
When Bantay OCW also asked Revilla to show proof that he indeed renounced his citizenship, he asked us to just wait for the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal decision.
But the question is, are Revilla and Napoles legitimate OFWs? According to Señeres, Revilla used to be an engineer in the United States while Jo Christine came from The Hague, Netherlands.
Revilla it turns out is a consultant of Placewell Agency. According to Migrante International, Placewell Agency has been implicated in illegal recruitment, contract substitution and other contract violations against OFWs.
On March 2013, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration cancelled the license of Placewell Agency but then lifted the ban this July, giving them another three years to operate.
OFWs around the world are hoping that whoever sits as OFWFC representative should prove that he or she is qualified to defend and protect the rights of the OFWs and will not just defend or protect his or her personal interest.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 11 a.m.-12 noon & 12:30-2 p.m. with live streaming: www.dziq.am Helpline: 0927- 6499870/ 0920-968.4700. E-mail: [email protected]/ [email protected]