Enrile baffled over POLO driver's hold on wards
MANILA – Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile is baffled as to why a former driver of a labor attaché got so much power over distressed overseas Filipino workers who were wards at the Bahay Kalinga in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
"Paano naging makapangyarihan yung driver ng labor attache at ganun na lang ang takot ng lahat sa kanya?" asked Enrile during the resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the sex-for-flight scandal.
Enrile was referring to local hire named Jojo Casicas who served as the driver of Labor Attache Adam Musa for over a year.
Casicas was accused by OFW Grace "Josie" Sales of attempting to rape her while at Bahay Kalinga. Sales left the Bahay Kalinga after the rape attempt by Musa's driver.
She sought the help of POLO after escaping from her employer who almost raped her. At the POLO, she was hired as a janitress and stayed at the Bahay Kalinga, a shelter for distressed OFWs.
"Yun nga po ipinagtataka namin. Driver lang naman po siya alam namin pero siya po ang kumukumpiska sa mga cellphone namin, pera, alahas, mga gadget. Alam namin di nya trabaho yun kasi nga driver siya," explained Sales.
Sales said some of the items were no longer returned to the rightful owners.
"Pagka nagrereklamo po kami doon sa mga ginagawa niya, palagi po niyang pinapanakot yung ipapa endorse po niya kami sa shelter ng Saudi po," Sales said.
Enrile further questioned why the labor attaché was unaware of his driver's illegal activities. Musa explained that the driver had been working with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) for over 10 years.
"Wala akong natangap na report tungkol doon sa sinasabing kinukumpiska ang gamit at di isinasauli. But it's part of the protocol sa Bahay Kalinga dahil itong shelter po is outside the Philippine Embassy. It's in Al Khobar. Yung Saudi Social Welfare Agency ipinagbabawal ho doon ang mga communication gadgets," said Musa.
He added that it was also impossible not to receive any complaints since the wards also live with another local hire, the POLO's interpreter and translator and his family.
"If you cannot detect this kind of treatment, how then can you protect people?" Enrile said.