OFW to labor exec: Remember me?


VEILED ACCUSERS Three OFWs testify before the Senate investigating allegations of sexual harassment against labor and foreign affairs officials in the Middle East on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. MAILA AGER/

A labor official came face to face with three of his alleged victims who confronted him at the Senate on Thursday at a hearing into the sex-for-flight scandal in overseas labor offices.

Antonio Villafuerte, the assistant labor attaché in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was told off by “Michelle,” who dramatically removed the shawl covering her face and accused Villafuerte of attempting to rape her and of sending her lewd text messages.

“Now, Mr. Villauerte, do you remember me? Do you remember what you did to me?” a crying Michelle asked Villafuerte.

Michelle and two other alleged victims of Villafuerte’s recounted before the Senate blue ribbon committee how Villafuerte allegedly made obscene and degrading remarks while interrogating them about their ordeal in the hands of the Saudi employers that they had escaped from.

Michelle also testified that Villafuerte tried to rape her at the Philippine overseas labor office in Riyadh.

“I didn’t know that he had that kind of desire for me,” Michelle told the committee.

“I said, ‘Sir, somebody might see us. Sir, please don’t,’” she recalled as Villafuerte allegedly tried to assault her.

She said she managed to push him away and escape.

Michelle also testified that shortly after she ran away from her employer, she needed new undergarments as she didn’t bring a change of clothes when she escaped.

“I couldn’t ask my companions [in Bahay Kalinga, where runaways are housed] because they also didn’t have any money,” Michelle said.

Michelle said she called Villafuerte to ask where she could get new underwear. Villafuerte reportedly took it upon himself to have some bought for Michelle.

“I already had someone buy two salung-so and six salung-ki. Get them from ma’am Lita,” read the text message that Villafuerte admittedly sent and that Michelle managed to save in her mobile phone.

The terms Villafuerte used for brassieres and panties could be construed as obscene references to a woman’s private parts.

Villafuerte told the committee that he meant no malice when he used those terms and that he used them in conversation with his wife.

“I want to put that text in the proper context. When she asked me to buy underwear for her when I’d yet to even see her, I was also embarrassed. I said I’d yet to see this woman and she was already asking me to buy underwear for her,” Villafuerte said.

He said he told Michelle to approach a coordinator to ask for underwear. Michelle supposedly said there was none available.

“So I said I would just be the one to ask someone to buy some,” Villafuerte said.

“When I sent that text, I only wanted to know if she already got them. I meant nothing malicious,” he said.

Villafuerte denied the allegations of attempted rape and obscene text messages while he was processing the cases of the three OFWs.

“That’s not true, your honor,” Villafuerte said of the allegations against him.

He said he had been very diligent in his job and had helped to meet the needs of OFWs.

Related Story: 3 OFWs face labor exec in ‘sex-for-flight’ scandal

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  • Rovingmoron

    Based on what Asst. Labor Attache Antonio Villafuerte narrated to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, I could sense that this labor official appears to be not only weirdo, but has the distinction of being a maniac, too. If I were on his shoes, I’d be ashamed because at the time of the public hearing, not only the world was watching, but his family and relatives were watching the live telecast, too. In the first place, why would he feast on the downtrodden and abused women who were there to seek refuge at the Bahay Kalinga. According to him, the three women complained because he wasn’t able to live up to their positive expectations as a labor official. If he can’t dispense with his official duties to the best he could because he was swarmed by work overload, why didn’t he resign? Maybe another labor official could perform much better than what he does. Perhaps, it is high time that the Department of Labor secretary Baldoz should rethink of a policy that would assign women labor attaches and welfare officers in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. In this way, our runaways can be taken cared of with dignity and respect. No more male labor attaches and welfare officers in the Middle East, especially those maniacs!

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      maybe he should have send an SOS to the Philippines. Need more social workers of embassy staff to process and speed up the repatriations of Filipinos. Ask for more financial support for OFWs. OFW s paid taxes and send remittances that keep this country from sinking and a ‘Rising Tiger’ kuno.

  • marionics

    i don’t know but i find it weird that michelle would ask a man she had supposedly never met to buy her some underwear. baka naman there’s more than meets they eye here

    • Music Lover

      Moron! Hindi nga kayang ma meet ng brain mo ang binasa mong news na walang dalang gamit ang bebot at walang mahagilap na pera sa mga nadatnan sa refugee center KAYA nagtanong sa dapat tanungin na labor official kung kanino pwedeng magpa assist. Sagot ng official ay siya na ang bahalang mag utos magpabili niyon. Moron ka nga talaga pag di mo pa maintindihan post na ito, especially ang question mo kung bakit nag text sa official na ito, kasi po ito ang part ng job ng official na ito na lalapitan ng needs or complains ng distressed OFWs.

      • marionics

        well excuse me for my inquistive thinking. like there never existed a scorned woman before hahaha

        but you are free to swallow everything you read hook line and sinker.

  • Juan.De.La.Cruz

    yari ka ngayon tang’na ka

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