The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday urged anyone with sexual complaints against its officials to “come forward” as they will “never tolerate” any form of corruption or abuse by its personnel.
This was said amid a Department of Justice (DOJ) task force investigation report that named Ibrahim Daligdig Tanandato as having violated the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.
Tanandato is an assistant to the Nationals Unit head at the Consular Office of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.
He also apparently violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
“The DFA takes these allegations very seriously and we will never tolerate any form of corruption committed by our personnel,” Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a press briefing.
He refused to comment on the results of the investigation by the Justice department’s task force because the agency has yet to receive a copy of it.
Hernandez also said the department has not received any sexual complaints against Tanandato.
The Foreign Affairs official urged anyone with sexual complaints against the Tanandato to “come forward.”
Tanandato, according to Hernandez, has been recalled in March last year after complaints were filed at the department. The erring official is now facing charges based on those complaints.
Tanandato was recalled so that more information can be gathered and proper charges can be filed against him, Hernandez said.
According to the complainants, Tanandato hired them as housemaids while they were staying at the embassy’s halfway houses awaiting for their repatriation. They were given a salary of P7,900 but without proper documentation from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Complaints were also filed against the embassy’s Arabic translators and lawyers. The complainants also said they were made to believe that their employers have not paid their backpay even though the embassy already received them.
The complainants were awaiting repatriation following abuses against them by their Kuwaiti employers.
Last year, the Foreign Affairs department was tasked to look into several allegations of “sex for flight” schemes by their embassies in the Middle East.
This was after officials of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) were tagged in cases of human rights and sexual abuses by distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON