When Filipinos abroad experience hardship at the hands of their abusive employers, they run to the Philippine embassy to seek solace and protection.
What is one to do, however, when the head of that embassy is the principal abuser, and the ambassador’s residence is where the cruel treatment occurs?
An investigation is still due to be conducted, but video footage very clearly shows Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro mauling her Filipino domestic staff on multiple occasions.
The 51-year-old worker is already back in the Philippines while Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the department would use the full extent of the law against the diplomat. Mauro has been recalled and would face a probe in the coming days.
Labor groups have demanded the immediate dismissal of Mauro from the foreign service and from the government altogether.
Mauro has been described as soft-spoken and slow to anger by a former colleague. She was also said to be professional and competent, helping resolve many problems of Filipinos in her places of assignment.
So, looking at the CCTV footage of the woman hitting, with gusto, a hapless domestic worker, we wonder: Where is that supposedly mellow and reserved public servant? Where is that intelligent, capable diplomat who should have known better?
We look forward to hearing what Ambassador Mauro has to say in her own defense, given the visual proof of her apparently indefensible behavior. All of this leads us to reflect on the reality that people show different aspects of themselves depending on whom they are talking to. And while education, competence, and professional success may help ensure good character, these do not guarantee that a person can behave the same way in front of the world and in private.
It’s a sobering reminder that our values and acts should remain consistent no matter with whom we are speaking, and even when we believe nobody—neither person nor camera —is around. This is the standard for any decent human being of whatever status or rank.