A Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) fact-finding team has recommended administrative charges against three of its officials implicated in the “sex-for-repatriation” scandal.
In a press briefing, Director Nicon Fameronag of the Labor Communications Office (LCO) read a statement from Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz saying Baldoz approved the recommendation of the fact-finding team to file administrative charges against Labor Attaché Adam Musa, OIC Labor Attaché Mario Antonio and Asst. Labor Attaché Antonio Villafuerte.
The team however found no evidence that the three officials were involved in “sex-for-hire” activities, contrary to the allegations of three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
“The team did not find the involvement of any of the DOLE organic personnel in any ‘sex-for-flight’ controversy or ‘sex-for-hire’ activities.
However, on the basis of the Team’s finding of the existence of prima facie case, I have approved its recommendation to file administrative charges against (the three officials),” Baldoz said.
Musa will be charged for gross negligence, Antonio for grave misconduct and Villafuerte for simple negligence.
Baldoz also approved the team’s recommendation to refer the complaints of sexual harassment against Villafuerte to the DOLE Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI).
Under Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 and Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 01-0943, Series of 2001, the CODI is tasked to investigate and hear sexual harassment complaints.
Upon receiving the complaints, CODI has five days to conduct a preliminary investigation and 15 days from the filing of the formal charge to submit its report and recommendation.
In RA 7877, penalties range from suspension to dismissal from service depending on the gravity of offense, and the application of mitigating and aggravating circumstance.
“I have also signed the endorsement of the charges against Mr. Musa and Mr. Antonio to the two Special Hearing Panels that have been constituted to preside over the formal investigation,” the secretary said.
Each panel has 15 days from receipt of the formal charges to submit their report and recommendation.
Charges against Villafuerte will be endorsed to the DOLE Legal Service for formal hearing.
The legal service has 75 days from issuance of the formal charges to conclude the formal investigation and to submit its report of findings and recommendation to the undersigned.
Robertzon F. Ramirez