MANILA — At least two senators on Tuesday said they were "outraged" upon seeing videos of the Philippine ambassador to Brazil assaulting her Filipina helper, as they urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to conduct a "thorough investigation" on the matter.
In a statement, Sen. Joel Villanueva called the acts of Philippine envoy to Brazil Marichu Mauro as "deplorable" and ran contrary to her mandate to ensure the "welfare of their countrymen in a foreign land."
"The alleged abuse and maltreatment that a Filipino domestic worker suffered from the hands of the country’s ambassador to Brazil is deplorable and [it is] conduct unbecoming [of] a diplomatic official who should be watching out for the welfare of their countrymen in a foreign land instead of inflicting harm," Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said.
Brazilian news channel Globo News on Sunday showed a video of Mauro berating and mistreating her helper multiple times inside the diplomatic residence, prompting the DFA to recall her assignment.
The report said the victim is a 51-year-old Filipina. The incidents were captured by a security camera and documented by employees who declined to be identified. The report said the victim "was physically assaulted many times, many days."
Villanueva said the DFA must "begin swiftly its investigation."
"Our embassies should be taking care of the welfare of our people overseas. How can they trust our embassies if our ambassador is involved in perpetuating the abuse? We strongly condemn this incident, and we ask the DFA leadership to investigate our ambassador to Brazil."
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he was "horrified" to see Mauro's "brazen" acts against her fellow Filipina.
"While watching the video, I was horrified to see the brazenness of our ambassador to Brazil in physically maltreating the embassy service staff. I cannot imagine how people in her position could enact such violence to the very people they are sworn to protect," he said, calling the incident "a black eye on our image abroad."
Zuburi asked the victim of Mauro's assault to come forward and confront her abuser.
According to Villanueva, there are 1,200 Filipinos in Brazil.
In a statement, the Brazil Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had not yet been notified by the Labor Prosecutor's Office of the complaint brought to that body against the Ambassador of the Philippines, "and, in coordination with the other competent Brazilian authorities, will provide full support for the progress of the investigation, in accordance with the Convention of Vienna."