Thursday, June 13, 2024

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FIRING LINE: CCTV says it all

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

By now, I’d thought the pandemic and other signs of the times would have made good people out of the bad. I do not consider myself religious or preachy, but aren’t hard times supposed to move sinners like us to repentance and change our crooked ways?

What’s terribly disturbing is that while some of us pray more than others – and I don’t mean to judge – some of us are still capable of unapologetically inflicting harm upon others.

Take for example Philippine ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro, whose treatment of her housemaid has appalled the world. The closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage at her official residence in Brasilia says it all.

Physical pain and verbal abuse are inflicted upon the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in her employ. Even a dumb person can see how the poor woman bows in pain and in total submission to the amount of cruelty no human being should ever endure.

Sen. Miguel Zubiri said the footage was so painful for him to watch it made his blood boil. The senator from Bukidnon is a fellow Mindanaoan as the 51-year-old Filipina maid, who is from Cotabato, and has been in touch with her family. He said the poor OFW might be forgiving, but the laws are clear that a simple sorry will not suffice for such abuse.

Published reports quoted the senator as saying that Amb. Mauro must have violated at least three laws – the Code of Conduct for Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (R.A. 6713), Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code on slight physical injuries, and maltreatment under the Kasambahay Act (R.A. 10361).

Violations of these laws carry both administrative and criminal penalties which I do not wish upon anyone. However, the ambassador has placed herself in that spot where even the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the mighty institution to which she belongs, cannot shield her.

And judging by the President’s order to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to investigate the matter, it is apparent that he wants to make an example of Amb. Mauro before other Philippine envoys entrusted with the care and welfare of every Filipino overseas – especially OFWs whom he has, time and again, hailed as “modern-day heroes”.

This corner believes our government should do just that. Had Mauro not been protected by her diplomatic rights and privileges, I seriously think she’d be in jail right now and on trial by Brazilian authorities – making good measure of how they protect a foreign worker’s human rights in their land.

Being an ambassador is a sacred oath to embody everything the government is to Filipinos in a foreign land. Amb. Mauro knew she was not just the Pinay maid’s boss, but the alter ego of the entire Philippine government: her DFA, her DOH, her DOLE, her PNP, her DSWD, her Comelec, and, among others, her President.

Is this the way our government treats our OFWs? I hope the world won’t have to think so. Or else, other governments would scoff at any complaint raised by our envoys for the benefit of our abused countrymen abroad.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at

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