Bello denies P6.8-million extortion charge

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday denied the allegation that he extorted P6.8 million from a recruitment agency and challenged to sue him in court, saying that his conscience is clear.

The Labor chief reacted to allegations filed against him and former Labor undersecretary Dominador Say before the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

Kilusang Pagbabago National Movement for Change secretary-general Monalie Dizon filed a complaint against Bello and Say, citing an affidavit from Azizzah Salim, owner of an employment agency which accused Bello and Say of extorting some P6.8 million from the company.

Dizon said that based on the 15-page complaint-affidavit filed by Salim, the owner of recruitment agency Azizza International gave money to the Labor officials in exchange for Say’s reversal of the cancellation order made by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration on the recruitment license of  Azizza Salim.

Salim alleged that Say received the money through Vanessa Josue but did not say if she was a POEA or a DoLE employee.

In an interview, Bello challenged his accusers that if they have evidence, they can file charges before the Office of the Ombudsman or any court and vowed to face them.

“Don’t go to the media. Go to the Department of Justice or the Ombudsman, file a complaint,’’ the DoLE chief said.

According to Dizon,  Bello also refused to help the cause of an overseas Filipino worker identified only as “Mercy,” who was separated from her nine-month-old baby in Saudi Arabia.

However, Bello said Mercy sought the help of DOLE not for the repatriation of her child but requested for the removal of the ban imposed over her recruitment agency that helped her return to the Philippines.

Bello insisted that the actions of Mercy were illegal since the case of the recruitment agency is still ongoing.

Bello said claimed that the corruption allegations may be aimed at derailing his application to head the Office of the Ombudsman.

Topics: Silvestre Bello III , Dominador Say , Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission , Kilusang Pagbabago National Movement for Change
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