Manila recalls Riyadh embassy exec tagged in scandal

A labor official working at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has been recalled by Manila to face an inquiry for alleged sexual exploitation of distressed Filipino women workers.
The recall follows an order issued by the Philippine government on Saturday to investigate the alleged sex-for-repatriation racket in the embassy in Riyadh and elsewhere in the Middle East.
“Reports about the conduct of one labor officer in the Philippine mission in Riyadh are true,” said a source at the embassy, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Philippine Embassy officials did not respond to calls from Arab News.
Ambassador Ezeddin Tago, along with all Philippine ambassadors in the Middle East, have been summoned to Manila last week for consultation after a member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Walden Bello, accused three diplomatic officers in Jordan, Syria and Kuwait of exploiting stranded women Filipino workers.
On Saturday, Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario and other officials met with three women OFWs, who had formerly sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy shelter in Riyadh, to personally hear their testimony against an embassy labor officer who allegedly demanded “sex in exchange for plane tickets to Manila.”
The Philippine media, quoting President Benigno Aquino III’s deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte, said all testimonies were being into consideration.
“If there is culpability in the case, then the persons found guilty will be held responsible,” Valte said.
The three women accused the officer of sexual exploitation and sending them to “clients” to make the money required for their tickets back home.
In a statement given to media, the complainants said: “We were given to understand that it is the responsibility of the Philippine government to repatriate workers without any favors being asked by the officials.”
“The bottom line is that embassy and consulate officials are taking advantage of the desperation of Filipino workers,” said the advocacy group Migrante International in a statement yesterday.

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