Latest Stories

Senators berate labor exec over obscene text to distressed OFW


One of the victims identified as “Michelle” (center) testifies that assistant labor attache in Riyadh Antonio Villafuerte attempted to rape and pimp her to an Egyptian national. Michelle even removed her veil to make Villafuerte recognize her during the senate investigation by the Blue Ribbon Committee to probe the alleged “sex-for-flight” scheme of some labor officials in the Middle East.PHOTO BY ALEX NUEVA ESPANA/PRIB

MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Thursday berated a labor official in Saudi Arabia for using obscene words such as “salungso” to refer to bras and ‘salungki” to refer to panties in a text message to a runaway overseas Filipino worker.

Riyadh-based labor attaché  Antonio “Tony” Villafuerte admitted during a joint hearing of the  Senate blue ribbon and labor committees that he indeed used those words when he texted the runaway OFW, who sought refuge at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)  in Saudi.

The OFW, a certain “Michelle,” has also accused Villafuerte of allegedly trying to rape her inside the POLO last May 18.

Michelle told the committees that when she sought  refuge  at POLO’s Bahay Kalinga after learning that she would not work as a beautician as stated in her contract, she had not brought anything even her personal  belongings.

So she said she texted Villafuerte, whom she had not met at that time, to buy her underwear.

“Bago po dumating yung underwear po, nagtext po sya (Villafuerte) sa akin.  Sabi nya po sa akin, o nandyan na yung salungki at salungso mo,”  Michelle said.

She even showed  to the committees that  text of the  labor official.

Villafuerte, who was also at the hearing, confirmed sending the text message to Michelle.

“Yes, your honor,” he said, responding to queries of Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.

“Gusto ko lang ilagay sa tamang konteksto yang text na yan. Noong nagpabili kasi sya ng underwear nang hindi ko pa sya nakikita, na embarrassed din  po ako kasi sabi ko sa sarili ko, hindi ko pa nakikita ang babaeng ito nagpapabili na sa akin ng underwear,” he said.

(I want to put that text in context. When she asked me to  buy her underwear when I haven’t met her yet, I was also  embarrassed. I told myself, I haven’t seen her yet but  she already asked me to buy her  underwear)

“Kaya  nung tinext ko yan, ang gusto ko lang malaman dun ay kung natanggap na nya yung pinabili ko. Wala na po akong ibig sabihin.)

(So when I texted  her, I just wanted to find out if she had received the underwear. I did not mean anything there).

“Kasi yung salungso o salungki yan po ay Tagalog, wala o akong ibang  intension.  Tinagalog ko lang po. Yun po kasi ang natutunan namin sa Tagalog na subject namin. Yun po yung konteksto,” Villafuerte added.

(Because  salungso or salungki  is a Tagalog word. I have no other intension.I just translated it to Filipino. That’s what we learned  in our Filipino subject. That’s the context).

But Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada did not buy Villafuerte’s explanation.

“Alam mo, ako nag-aral din ng Tagalog. Kahit kailan hindi ko na encounter  yung salungso at salungki. Kahit kailan hindi ko natutunan yan e baka ikaw lang ang nag-imbento ng salitang yan,” Estrada said.

(You know, I also  studied  Tagalog. I haven’t encountered  the word salungso or salungki. I haven’t learned those words.  Maybe you only made  up those words).

Villafuerte’s explanation did not also sit well with Senate President  Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile, saying the labor official was just making excuses.

“Bakit hindi  mo ginamit underwear, isang termino na hindi malaswa? Alam mo intelehente naman kami dito e. Naiintindihan naming yung mga ganyang Gawain,” said Enrile.

Villafuerte pointed out that his family came from Guiguinto, Bulacan where he learned to use such words commonly used by    people there.

“Palusot yun. Madali lang sabihin pero imagine you’re a CPA, you’re a lawyer , you are a well-educated person. Ung kausap mo babae,” said Enrile.

Enrile reminded Villafuerte that as part of a diplomatic service, the labor official was expected to be very courteous in dealing with people.

“She (Michelle) maybe just a domestic helper pero nakita mo na nga hirap na hirap na yung tao e gaganunin mo pa? Wala kang intention pero di ba masakit yun? Sasabihin  mo ba sa asawa mo yun: O  ibinili kita ng salungki at saka salungso. Sasabihin mo ba sa asawa mo yun?” he asked.

(She maybe just a domestic helper but you can already  see that she’s suffering  and you still treat her like that?  You have no intention but that is hurtful? Will you also tell your wife: ‘I also bought you salungki or salungso.’ Will you tell that to your wife?)

Villafuerte said he had used  the terms to his wife.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Antonio "Tony" Villafuerte , Features , Global Nation , ofws , POLO , Rape , sex , sex-for-flight scam

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  2. 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  3. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  4. China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  5. Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  6. PH, HK end bitter row; sanctions lifted
  7. PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  8. Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  9. Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  10. US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  1. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  2. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  3. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  4. Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  5. 85% of Filipinos love US – survey
  6. 10 US presidents who visited the PH (and what they said)
  7. WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  8. 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  9. 150 Filipino teachers in Maryland to lose jobs, visas
  10. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  1. US to China: We will protect Philippines
  2. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  3. DFA grants visa-free privilege to 7 countries
  4. China warned: Don’t try to tow away BRP Sierra Madre
  5. Back home in Manila, and feeling out of place
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  8. China: PH tarnishing Beijing’s international image
  9. What’s inside BRP Sierra Madre?
  10. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted


  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • 2 contractors fined P25,000 for delays in Edsa rehab
  • Luisita beneficiaries take over renters
  • 5 years of hard work pay off for top UP grad
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • 10 essential summer skin savers
  • Here’s your visual guide to all things cool, hot in summer fashion
  • The fundamentals of accessorizing
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Foreign funds flowed out in Q1, says BSP
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace