OFW confronts PH ambassador in House hearing

Posted at 01/29/14 3:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - An overseas Filipino worker, who claims to be a victim of the violent dispersal of Pinoys in Riyadh in July 2013, confronted Philippine Ambassador to Riyadh Ezzedin H. Tago in a House hearing.

In a hearing of the House committee on overseas workers affairs, Guzman Bernardino recounted how 60 OFWs were "electrocuted" in the crackdown months ago, which he claimed was ordered by Tago.

Bernardino said the diplomatic police who implemented the crackdown told them that they wouldn't have dispersed the Filipino workers who were camped near the Philippine embassy without the blessing of the ambassador.

The Philippine embassy is located in the diplomatic quarter of Riyadh.

Tago, who was also present at the hearing, maintained he did not give any order to disperse the OFWs.

ABAKADA party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz asked Tago, "Did you or did you not request the police for dispersal?"

Tago said he only instructed his staff to make sure there were no untoward incidents.

Former ambassador-turned-OFW Family Club party-list Rep. Roy Seneres bluntly told Tago, "You're not doing your job, Mr. Ambassador."

Committee chairman Walden Bello asked Tago if he filed a protest with the Saudi government over the crackdown. Tago said he did not.

"We needed the formal report which they (OFWS) didn't submit to us. They submitted here and not at the embassy. Our staff asked them if they had any complaints. They did not submit to us so we may forward" Tago said.

The House committee asked the DFA to further investigate the dispersal of OFWs in Riyadh, which occurred in July last year.