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DFA forms team to probe Brazil envoy

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                                         TEODORO L. LOCSIN JR.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has created a team that will investigate the Philippines’ top envoy in Brazil for mistreating her Filipino domestic helper, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said on Friday.

Presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque on Thursday said Mr. Duterte had allowed the agency to conduct the probe of former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu B. Mauro.

“We have 15 days to report to the Presidential Management Staff,” Mr. Locsin said in a social media post, as he confirmed having received Mr. Duterte’s Presidential Directive 2020-196.

The fact-finding team includes Philippine Consul General in Sydney Ezzedin H. Tago, former Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Jaime B. Ledda, Philippine Ambassador to Oman Narciso T. Castañeda and lawyer Ihna Alyssa Marie Santos of the Human Resource Management Office.

A compilation video has circulated showing Ms. Mauro repeatedly berating, slapping and pulling the ear of a female member of her household staff. The worker had since come home to the Philippines and was being taken care of by the DFA.

Mr. Locsin said the Human Resource Management Office will conduct a preliminary investigation and submit a report to him.

“If there’s a prima facie case, I will issue a formal charge prepared by the Office of Treaties and Legal Affairs,” he said in a separate post.

This is in compliance with section 51 of the Philippine Foreign Service Act, which says that ambassadors may only be investigated with the President’s consent.

Meanwhile, Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said he had reached out to the Filipino domestic helper, who was under quarantine in South Cotabato.

“She’s in good spirits, safe and sound but she lost a job,” he told an online news briefing in mixed English and Filipino. He urged the Labor department to help the housemaid. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

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