DOLE forms panels to hear cases vs labor attachés

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04:35 AM August 26th, 2013

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By: Tina G. Santos, August 26th, 2013 04:35 AM

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—The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has released the names of the members of the two special hearing panels that will handle the charges filed against two labor officials earlier implicated in a sex-for-repatriation scheme.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz issued Administrative Order Nos. 331 and 332 creating the two hearing panels that will separately handle the gross negligence case against Labor Attaché for Riyadh Adam Musa and the grave misconduct case against officer in charge Labor Attaché for Jordan Mario Antonio.

Lawyer Marion Sevilla will lead the team handling Musa’s case. Other members of Sevilla’s team are lawyer Ina Claire Guan and DOLE Overseas Employment Administration representative Adoracion Ducduc.

Mediator Arbiter Eve Ramos will chair the panel that will handle Antonio’s case. She will be joined by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) director Nini Lanto and an official from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa).

Musa and Antonio were among the three labor officials implicated in the sex-for-repatriation controversy.

The third official, Riyadh Assistant Labor Attaché Antonio Villafuerte, is facing a charge of simple negligence despite accusations of inappropriate behavior and attempted rape by female overseas Filipino workers.

The charges against the three officials were not related to the sex-for-repatriation allegations but for other infractions, including their “failure to do their duties well.”

Both Musa and Antonio, based on the fact-finding investigation, were found to have committed “flagrant, willful and deliberate violations of the civil service rule.”

Villafuerte, on the other hand, was charged with “failing to take care of overseas Filipino workers” in his jurisdiction.

Baldoz said the fact-finding team tasked to look into the controversy did not find any evidence of a sex-for-repatriation scheme. She said the investigation showed that some distressed workers had apparently been recruited into a prostitution ring, but this did not involve labor personnel.

Baldoz said the creation of the special hearing panels aims to expedite the resolution of the cases of the labor officials.

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