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SENATE HEARING

Labor attaché under fire for coddling accused rapist

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Labor Attache Adam Musa of the Department of Foreign Affairs answers questions from the Senators during a public hearing on alleged sexual exploitation of Overseas Filipino Workers by certain embassy employees and officials posted in the Middle East. PHOTO/JOSEPH VIDAL/PRIB

MANILA, Philippines—A labor attaché came under intense questioning at the Senate on Thursday over his alleged coddling of a Filipino driver accused of raping a 28-year-old runaway overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

The case of Grace Sales, 29, who admitted to having run away from her abusive employer, came to dominate the first day of the hearings of the Senate blue ribbon committee on the sex-for-flight scandal in several Middle East diplomatic posts.

A bipartisan group of senators took the cudgels for Sales, who told the committee that the driver of the labor official, Adam Musa, had attempted to rape her while she was staying at a temporary shelter for runaway OFWs run by the labor office.

Instead of helping her, however, Musa attempted to buy her silence by giving her 10,000 Saudi riyals and offering to help her obtain a document to legalize her stay in the oil-rich kingdom, Sales said.

The money supposedly represented three months of the salary of the accused driver, Jose Casitas.

‘Lack of propriety’

Musa, who tried to evade responsibility during the initial questioning, got a stern talking-to from the senators for his lack of propriety and inconsistent answers.

Even Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz came under sharp questioning over the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) procedures in such situations.

“Even if they’re undocumented, they are Filipinos and they are entitled to the protection of their government anywhere in the world,” said Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

“Don’t tell me that simply because they are astray, they are not documented, you would just leave them to fend for themselves, oppress them and even rape them,” Enrile added.

Enrile asked Musa why he didn’t take action against his driver, who was reportedly trying to arrange a settlement with Sales after the alleged attack.

“Why did you not belabor to find out what this problem was that was settled by three months’ salary of your driver? Common sense tells me that you should want to know why anybody would want to pay off somebody,” Enrile said.

“You admitted before this committee that you knew of a complaint of a Filipino woman… Why did your driver settle anything? Was that attempted rape?” the senator asked.

Musa said that all he knew was there was a misunderstanding between Sales, who was hired as a janitor at the labor office after running away from her abusive employer, and Casitas, a Filipino who had been hired in Saudi Arabia.

Musa said he did not have the opportunity to talk to Sales after she ran away following the alleged attempted rape.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, an advocate of OFW welfare, questioned Baldoz on why the DOLE allowed the attempted settlement of the case.

No such policy

“Is that a practice in the labor department that you let those under you settle a case, money for a settlement? If I were to manage an office, if there’s a complaint, I will not encourage them to make a settlement with the complainant,” Villar said.

“There’s an impression that you’re whitewashing everything,” Villar added.

Baldoz said there was no such policy to encourage the settlement of criminal complaints.

“If such is the case, whether administrative or if it has a criminal aspect, it is immediately investigated,” Baldoz said.

In her testimony before the committee, Sales said she sent Musa a text message the morning after the alleged attack, which occurred on the night of Aug. 21, 2012.

No response

“I never received a response from him,” Sales told the panel, headed by committee chair Sen. Teofisto Guingona III.

Sales said she ran away from Bahay Kalinga, the temporary shelter for runaways, after Musa failed to address her complaint against Casitas.

Two weeks later, she said Musa contacted her and offered her 10,000 Saudi riyals and help to obtain a document that would legalize her continued stay in the oil-rich state.

Asked what Musa was seeking in exchange for his help, Sales said: “For me to keep silent and go into hiding.”

She said Musa had promised her he would fire the driver. However, not only did Musa not fire the driver, the promised document never materialized, Sales said.

Musa denied making such an offer.

“We have no authority to issue authorization for work in Saudi Arabia,” he told the committee.

RELATED STORY

Senate grills labor exec over abused Filipina in Saudi Arabia


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  • akramgolteb

    Ang dami ng complaint sa mga opisyal. Wag ng senate inquiry, sibakin na lahat ng opisyal sa Saudi embassy at consulate. Maliwanag na ang kabulastugan ng ginagawa nila.

    • blue_lights

      ako din, may complaint laban sa kanya… possession of ugly face!

    • $45441702

      Kailangan i-whip ang puet nang limangpu sa plaza yang labor attaché at pugutan nang itlog yung driver. Kung both ugly face, chop na ang leeg.

  • Guest

    Baldoz said there was no such policy to encourage the settlement of criminal complaints.

    yeah, and why are we paying blood money to silence the families of victims killed by ofws?

  • sigena

    BALDOZ iasauli mo yong commission galing kay MUSA

  • virgoyap

    Musa, deadma. Good for nothing.

  • KING RAPH II

    Yung rapist ang dapat masibak Si Labor Attache Tony Villafuerte at ang Driver ni Adam Musa na si JOJO CASITAS. putulin ang ari nila batas ng saudi sundin natin.

  • Frankcisjawo

    There’s a lot of racket at Embassy,Consulate or Labor attache’..not only Sex for Flight. They will tell the poor OFW to buy his/her own Plane Ticket if He/she wants to go home right away. Once you have the Plane Ticket..siempre kukunin nila yun’ without you knowing that your have a Plane Ticket provided by our government because OFW’s have paid for a repatration bond bago umalis sa Pinas’.
    Once nakauwi ng yung pobreng OFW..pupunta na sa Travel Agency yung’ employee ng Embassy, Consulate or Labor Attache’ para i-refund yung biniling Plane Ticket ng umuwing OFW. I know this because I have worked at a big Travel and Shipping Company in Saudi Arabia for 10 years.

  • vince_bugaboo

    Musa said: “We have no authority to issue authorization for work in Saudi Arabia,” he told the committee.”

    Talagang wala, Tarant*do! But knowing you don’t have it, you still dangled the “supposed opportunity” to Ms. Sales in the hope that she’d believe on your offer and put aside her complaint and will be silent.

  • dikoy321

    Jail this ABUSIVE ADAM MUSA, inside the Senate holding facility, no BAIL !!!
    Keep him there for 1 month, so he will CONTEMPLATE upon his BIG Mistake !!!

  • boybakal

    This is one thing with this OFWs.
    They are being helped by the people of Embassy after running from their employers and yet they accused them of something else.

    There might be isolated case of minor disturbance but that is normal.
    The case at bar is not at all a case of sexual harassment but a case of disgruntled driver and depressed OFW.

  • boybakal

    I think it is more of a love affair gone bad….Runaway DH and the Embassy driver.
    Both are employed by the embassy as driver and janitor. Worked in the same office and house in the same building.
    For sure, there is courtship gone bad.

    These are personal matter between the two.
    No need of Musa’s intervention. He has more filipina domestic to attend to.
    No special treatment given, all are treated equally.



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