MANILA - The Filipina domestic helper who was seen in videos being battered by the recalled Philippine ambassador to Brazil has returned to her hometown in South Cotabato and is doing good, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Friday.
The woman, who was physically abused by Ambassador Marichu Mauro, arrived in the country on October 26, Zubiri told reporters in an online press conference.
"Under quarantine siya so hindi pa namin siya mabisita in person... pero sabi niya sakin okay naman daw siya ngayon," he said, noting that he spoke to the Filipina over the phone.
(She's still under quarantine so we could not visit her in person... but he told me she is doing well.)
"Sabi niya wala na siyang sakit na nararamdaman at masaya siya na nakauwi na siya sa bansa," he said.
(She said she is not in pain and she is happy to finally come home to the Philippines.)
"She's in good spirits, 'yun nga lang nawalan siya ng trabaho dahil sa pangyayaring 'yun," he said.
(She's in good spirits, but she lost her source of income because of what happened.)
Mauro's ill-treatment of her house service staff made headlines over the weekend after international news agencies aired closed-circuit television footage of the ambassador repeatedly hitting her.
While the helper's daughter said they would file a case against the envoy, the victim did not say anything categorical, Zubiri said.
"I offered it: medical, financial, legal assistance. Nagpasalamat lang po siya (She just said thank you)," he said.
"Sana hindi naman po siya magpaareglo kasi caught red-handed na po e. May ebidensya na sa CCTV... This should be an air-tight case," he said.
(I hope she doesn't settle because the Ambassador was already caught red-handed. The CCTV is the evidence.)
Zubiri said he would not call for a Senate investigation over the matter since the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) already committed to look into the case.
The DFA had said a "severe response" awaits Mauro over the maltreatment case.
"The outcome must be swift against Ambassador Mauro," he said.
Reports that the diplomat is suffering from mental health issues is "no justification" for the government to show leniency, the senator said.
"There is no justification for abusing a fellow Filipino," he said.
"Dahil sa (because of) mood swing? No way... Hindi ako papayag sa ganung klaseng alibi or excuse," he said.
(I will not accept that kind of alibi or excuse.)
Zubiri earlier said he would push to include a CCTV fund in the DFA's 2021.
The senator said he is looking at an initial amount of between P300 million and P500 million for the program.
"We will prioritize countries with a lot of overseas Filipino workers," he said.