MANILA, Philippines - A lawmaker is accusing some Philippine officials abroad of pimping distressed Filipina workers in the Middle East.
That is aside from a scheme allegedly forcing runaway workers to have sex with officials for a ticket back home.
House Committee on Overseas Workers Chairman Walden Bello, who carried out an investigation, revealed the allegations against Philippine officials in Jordan on Tuesday.
Bello said he discovered that some Filipino women who are runaways in Jordan end up as prostitutes.
The alleged culprits are some Philippine officials in Jordan who are supposedly pimping the women for $1,000 or 300 dirhams per night.
Bello identified one alleged official running the illegal operation, but ABS-CBN News will not release this official's name without getting his side.
"Even the government of Jordan has asked our government to recall (the official) or else he will be declared persona non grata," he said.
Over at the Philippine Embassy in Syria, a Foreign Affairs Department employee was allegedly caught having sex with a runaway Filipina at the embassy compound.
The employee was reportedly only made to attend a seminar.
"A certain Kim was caught in the act by witnesses having sex at the poolside. Not the first time, reports say it's the fifth time he [was] caught," Bello said.
In Kuwait, meanwhile, another Philippine official is said to be pimping workers who are in the embassy's custody.
"There have been many complaints against him but he eluded the dragnet. Has become a source of great embarrassment, resentment, and demoralization among the Filipino staff in Kuwait," he said.
Under a so-called "sex-for-flight" scheme, distressed Filipina migrant workers are also allegedly forced to have sex with some embassy and labor officials in exchange for a return ticket to the Philippines.
"Kinokondena po namin itong mga balita na ito, at kung may katotohanan po ito, nanawagan po kami, lahat po ng mga complainants kung sinuman po sila, lumabas na po," said Labor Attache David Des Dicang.
The Labor and Employment Department said it is treating these allegations very seriously and does not condone any inappropriate act.
"The DOLE does not condone any inappropriate act of any of its officials and personnel, most especially if it involves the performance of their official duties," Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.
Baldoz has formed an investigating team.
Malacañang has also asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to look into the accusations.
The DFA is now urging victims to come forward and file a formal complaint. - ANC, The World Tonight