‘Heroic’ labor attaché accused of bribery, sexual harassment
MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino labor attaché, whom the Senate once commended for heroism, has been suspended after he sued a Filipino expat couple in Riyadh who had filed complaints of corruption and sexual harassment against him.
Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto suspended labor attaché Nasser Mustafa for filing a cyberlibel complaint against Filipino spouses Herbert and Aireen Mayores, who earlier filed complaints of corruption and sexual harassment against Mustafa in October.
In Filipino and English statements posted on Twitter, the Philippine Embassy said that Mustafa was suspended for filing criminal charges against the Mayoreses without the approval of the ambassador as required by diplomatic protocol.
“With the filing of the criminal charge, (labor attaché) Mustafa directly violated the mandate of all Philippine government officials assigned at foreign service posts to protect the welfare of Filipinos overseas,” it said.
“In light of the foregoing and due to loss of trust and confidence in (labor attaché) Mustafa… the ambassador, as head of post, has placed (labor attaché) Mustafa under preventive suspension,” the embassy added.
The embassy said assistant labor attaché Henry Tianero will serve as the officer in charge of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Riyadh pending the appointment of a new labor attaché.
Mustafa filed the cyberlibel complaint before Saudi authorities in December, two months after the Mayoreses, who both worked as liaison officers for recruitment agencies in Riyadh, complained to the embassy that he had been asking for bribes from Saudi recruitment agencies.
The couple also complained in October that Mustafa had made sexual advances on Aireen in February 2020 when she went to the Polo in Riyadh to ask for his signature on some documents.
Because of the Mayoreses’ complaint, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III recalled Mustafa in response to the Oct. 21, 2020, letter of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
It was then that Mustafa filed the complaint against the Mayoreses who were detained by Saudi authorities for several hours and were prevented from returning for the Christmas holidays because of Mustafa’s lawsuit.
Mustafa, who has been a labor attaché since the term of former Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, returned to the Philippines to face an investigation.
2 workers rescued
Before his posting in Riyadh, Mustafa served as labor attaché in Kuwait and Libya, where he “risked his life” to rescue two Filipino domestic workers at a farmhouse owned by a close relative of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
In Senate Resolution No. 64, adopted on Sept. 28, 2011, the Senate commended Mustafa and the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli for the “daring and timely rescue and repatriation of household workers Diana Jill Rivera and Mary Ann Ducos from the Gadhafi Compound in Libya.”
“With only the embassy driver and a Libyan friend as his companions, Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa and his team risked their lives to rescue the two Filipino women from the heavily armed Gadhafi household at 6 o’clock in the morning of Sept. 19,” the Senate resolution stated.
The resolution commended the labor attaché as well as the Philippine Embassy, then headed by Ambassador Alejandrino Vicente, for the rescue of the two workers, who were later honored by the Senate.
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