Labor attache grilled over delay in reporting complaint
MANILA - Was Labor Attache Adam Musa remiss in his duties when he did not immediately inform the ambassador about the attempted rape complaint of a distressed overseas Filipino worker against a local hire at Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia?
Senator Cynthia Villar asked Musa why it took him a long time before deciding to write a report about the incident to the ambassador.
"We should clarify this so people would know what to do if a crime has been committed, do they settle it among themselves or do they automatically report it to the embassy," Villar said during the resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's hearing on the sex-for-flight controversy.
The complaint by OFW Grace "Josie" Sales allegedly happened sometime in July of last year. But according to Musa, he wrote a report about it to the ambassador on October and February of this year.
He claimed they first had to locate the OFW to ask her to file an formal complaint against the local hire named Jojo Casicas, who was his driver for over a year in Saudi Arabia.
Sales initially sought the help of the POLO after escaping 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.
Sales later left the Bahay Kalinga after the rape attempt.
"Because of the denial of my driver and in the absence of a valid complaint, because at that time, we were trying to locate Josie and to ask her to file a formal complaint, but we failed to locate her," Musa explained.
However, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said that if there is a complaint, the correct protocol is to bring the matter immediately to the attention of the ambassador. Under the one country-team approach, all the agencies are under the responsibility and control of the ambassador.
"I would say, in this particular case, it seems there was a breakdown in the one country-team approach," del Rosario said.