The Department of Foreign Affairs has formed a fact-finding body to begin its investigation of Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro for alleged maltreatment of her Filipino household helper.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. gave the DFA body 15 days to submit a report to the President Management Staff.
“I received Presidential Directive no. 2020-196 directing the DFA to investigate the alleged abusive conduct of the Philippine Ambassador to Brazil confirming his verbal authorization; we have 15 days to report to the Presidential Management Staff,” Locsin said in a Twitter post.
Under Section 51 of the Foreign Service Act, “Chiefs of Mission who are commissioned by the President as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary shall not be investigated by the Board [of Foreign Service Administration] or separated from the service unless there is an express written directive from the President.”
But that proviso was effectively rejected by the presidential directive, Locsin said and added that the DFA’s Human Resource Management Office would be conducting a preliminary investigation, and subsequently submit to him its report and recommendation.
“If there’s [a] prima facie case, I issue a Formal Charge prepared by OTLA (Office of Treaties and Legal Affairs),” Locsin said.
Locsin also said he had extended financial aid worth P200,000 to the Filipino housekeeper who was allegedly abused by Mauro.
The aid given to the househelp was intended to “tide her over,” Locsin said of the househelp who was identified as “Ms. Ocampo.”
“She doesn’t have to do anything for it. It’s her for being what she is: an OFW. Plus, it’s her tax money,” Locsin said.
The DFA chief earlier recalled Mauro after Brazilian news outlet GloboNews released video footage which showed the envoy “maltreating” her household staff several times on different occasions inside her residence.
This triggered calls for Mauro’s ouster.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said there would be an “airtight case” against the ambassador.
“We must fix the image of our foreign service and the only way to do that is swift action and harsh penalties to be meted out to Ambassador Mauro,” he said.
“She should no longer hold an ambassadorial post at this point in time and she would have difficulties. We, members of the Commission on Appointments, will no longer agree that she will be assigned in other countries after what she has done,” Zubiri stressed.
The Senate leader said Mauro violated Republic Act No. 10361 or the “Batas Kasambahay,” the Revised Penal Code, and Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. With Macon Ramos-Araneta