MANILA – A group advocating for the rights and protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) described the decision of the labor department to impose a one-month suspension without pay on a labor attaché accused of covering up the frustrated rape of a Pinay as an "insult to all OFWs".
"The position of a labor attache was created precisely to protect and safeguard the rights and welfare of our OFWs. If a labor attache plainly and utterly fails to do so, then he or she has no right to said position,” said Susan Ople of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center in her letter to DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
In a decision signed by Baldoz dated January 30, 2014, the DOLE chose to forego the investigative team’s recommendation that Labor Attache Adam Musa, formerly assigned to Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, be charged with Gross Neglect of Duty for his inaction on the complaint of OFW Grace Sales in 2012 of sexual harassment, molestation, and attempted rape against Musa’s driver, Jose Casicas.
The complaint was included in the so-called “sex-for-flight” cases that were heard by both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Ople said the essence of the complaint of Sales is that Musa allegedly conspired to conceal the crime of frustrated rape committed by his driver, Casicas, against the OFW.
The attempted rape case was brought to Musa’s attention in August 2012 but he only reported the incident to the embassy and his home office in October of that year.
He also failed to immediately recommend the sacking of his driver and the latter’s eviction from the Bahay Kalinga in Al Khobar, a shelter for runaway domestic workers where the driver had a room to himself right beside the wards of the shelter.
"In failing to help Grace as a distressed OFW and victim of an attempted rape, he may be, in effect, an accessory to the crime and this merits a much graver punishment.”
She added, "That you and the department didn’t even see that, or wondered about it aloud, is what worries me most.”
The Ople Center said it supports the OFW’s plan to seek a reconsideration of the DoLE’s decision.