DFA gets Palace clearance to probe envoy to Brazil

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    PRESIDENT Duterte has given the green light to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to investigate allegations of maltreatment against Marichu Mauro, the president’s personal pick as the country’s ambassador to Brazil, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

    “Inaprubahan (ni Presidente) na po ang pag-iimbestiga laban sa ating dating ambahador sa Brazil… Na-recall na po kasi siya kaya po ang sabi ko eh baka former ambassador na siya, si Mauro (The President has approved the conduct of an investigation against the former ambassador to Brazil… She had been recalled, that’s why I already referred to Mauro as former ambassador,” Roque said.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered Mauro back to headquarters after a Brazilian news outlet released a video footage showing the envoy repeatedly hitting her Filipino helper.

    Roque said Malacañang is leaving the investigation into the helper’s allegation against the ambassador to the DFA task force created by Locsin.

    “Iyong mabilisan pong pag-authorize sa DFA na imbestigahan si Ambassador Mauro ay indicative na kinakailangan bigyan ng katarungan iyong naging biktima ng karahasan na kasambahay, na kababayan natin (The immediate authorization of the DFA to investigate Ambassador Mauro is indicative that we need to give justice to the Filipina household helper who was a victim of violence),” Roque said.

    Locsin the other day said he was waiting for the approval of the President before he can order the task force to commence its investigation.

    Mauro was appointed to her post by President Duterte. Under the Foreign Service Act of 1991, “the chiefs of mission who are commissioned by the President as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary shall not be investigated by the Board or separated from the Service unless there is an express written directive from the President.”

    Meanwhile, an organization of domestic workers yesterday accused Mauro of committing human rights violations against her household staff as caught on video.

    In a statement, the United Domestic Workers of the Philippines (UNITED) said the supposed actions of Mauro against her household worker are simply unacceptable as it can be considered as a violation of the basic rights of a person.

    “What the Philippine ambassador did is a human rights violation. She should have considered that a kasambahay is also a human being, with dignity and contribution to the society and should be treated well,” said UNITED president Novelita Palisoc.

    Worse, she said, is that it happened between a diplomat and her countrymen in a foreign land.

    “Our very own diplomat violated the rights of her domestic worker, her own compatriot,” Palisoc said.

    She said it only proves their belief that there remains low regard for household workers.

    “Ambassador Mauro’s actions against one of her domestic staff mirrors how domestic workers are still being held in low regard and the work which they represent,” lamented Palisoc.

    The labor leader appealed to the Philippine government to ensure that Mauro shall be held liable for her actions. – With Gerard Naval