Four Filipina workers back home from Saudi Arabia are filing court cases against two officials of the Department of Labor for demanding sexual favors in exchange for granting them plane tickets to the Philippines.
The four, who appeared at a forum in Manila on Wednesday with their faces veiled to hide their identities, announced they were filing charges of acts of lasciviousness against former Riyadh labor attachès Antonio Villafuerte and Adam Musa, who have since retired.
They recalled their ordeal at the hands of their Saudi Arabian employers and Filipino labor officials.
They also lamented the fact that not a single criminal case has been filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the attaches despite the assurances made by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
“We will pursue these criminal charges. We are willing to execute affidavits so we can file the cases,” one of the women identified only as Annalisa said.
Sandra Cam, herself a former migrant worker, said lawyer Rey Bagatsing will take down the testimonies of the four and guide them in filing the charges before the DOJ. Cam, also an anti-jueteng advocate, is helping the victims pursue the cases.
Annalisa and another victim named “Angel” said Villafuerte insinuated in some instances he wanted sexual favors from them.
The two other victims, who ran away from their employees and sought help from Philippine embassy officials in Riyadh, accused Musa of negligence of duty, an administrative case, for not helping them facilitate their repatriation.
They thanked kind-hearted Filipinos who helped them return to Manila, but not until they spent several months more in Saudi Arabia and took odd jobs.
One woman narrated how she was raped by three Saudi police officers in her detention cell. She got pregnant after the rape and had a miscarriage.
The victims also criticized the Senate for neglecting their campaign for justice, saying after they attended three hearings called for by Sen. Teofisto Guingona, nothing has happened since.
“As soon as the Napoles plunder scam hearings started, we heard nothing from the staff of Senator Guingona. We have hearings at Congress, but nothing came out positive too,” one victim said.
Cam said that when the pork barrel scandal surfaced, “the cries of these OFWs [overseas Filipino workers]were instantly dumped.”
She called for a government review of how the Philippine embassy and labor officials in the Middle East help distressed Filipinos.
She said the four women entered Saudi Arabia as legal workers but embassy officials failed to protect them when they got into trouble, describing a government justice official as “media hungry.”
One of the women said Villafuerte uttered words with explicit sexual innuendos like “na rape ka na ba, masarap ba, tinira ka ba sa likod, and pwede ba ako na lang hihipo dyan.”
She said the attaché and a certain Mohammad offered to pay for their fare home if they went out on a prearranged date.