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August 01, 2015, Saturday
  • Passenger’s disruptive behavior in Cebupac plane from Dubai forced the crew to make an emergency landing in India. 14 hours ago |
  • Crew of PH-bound Cebu Pacific plane made a Filipino passenger alight from the aircraft after causing commotion & bomb scare. 14 hours ago |
  • Enrile attends Sandiganbayan hearing on pork barrel scam. 14 hours ago |
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  • UNA admits Pres. Aquino’s endorsement of Roxas has weight. 14 hours ago |
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  • Binay says Roxas had been dilly-dallying on his presidential candidacy prior to Aquino’s endorsement. 14 hours ago |
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  • Sen. Grace Poe congratulates Mar Roxas for getting Pres. Aquino’s endorsement. 14 hours ago |
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  • Roxas on serving gov’t: “Ibubuhos ko ang lahat. Wala akong ititira para sa sarili ko.” 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas to the Filipino people: “Mga boss, hindi ko sasayangin ang tiwala ninyo.” 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas on Pres. Aquino: “Pnoy allowed us to imagine again what the Filipino is capable of.” 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas: “Ako si Mar Roxas at tinatanggap ko ang hamon ng ating mga boss.” 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas: “Buong tapang at buong paninindigan kong tinatanggap ang tawag ng daang matuwid.” 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas to Aquino: “I have never met a president who sacrificed so much for the country.” 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas’ voice breaks as he remembers his brother Dinggoy’s memory. 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas says it was his brother Dinggoy who died in 1993 who should have taken on the legacy of serving government. 19 hours ago |
  • Roxas: Dito sa Club Filipino ko unang sinabing “Bayan, bago ang sarili.” 19 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “Ang magtutuloy sa atin sa Daang Matuwid, ang paniwala ko po, walang iba ang taong ito kundi si Mar Roxas.” 19 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “Bakit tayo magpapaakit sa ‘baka,’ kung meron namang sigurado?” 19 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino: “All of us have the obligation to choose the right President.” 19 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino recalls Fmr. Sen. Joker Arroyo used to compare his group as a gathering of people who could fit into a Volkswagen Beetle. 20 hours ago |
  • Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte Mayor Rommel Arnado at Club Filipino praises the peace that Aquino gov’t has put in place in his town. 20 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino and DILG Sec. Mar Roxas enter Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino. 20 hours ago |
  • Program at Club Filipino includes testimonials from Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program’s beneficiaries. 20 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino’s convoy arrives at Club Filipino in San Juan. 20 hours ago |
  • Fire hits a residential area in Laong Laan, Sampaloc, Manila. 20 hours ago |
  • Road in front of Club Filipino in San Juan currently closed to motorists. 20 hours ago |
  • Liberal Party calls the jam-packed event at Club Filipino ‘A Gathering of Friends.’ 20 hours ago |
  • LP Senators Frank Drilon, Ralph Recto, Bam Aquino & TG Guingona as well as DBM Sec. Butch Abad among those present at Club Filipino. 21 hours ago |
  • ‘Cory Aquino Hall’ in Club Filipino where LP’s event is being held is also where Cory Aquino had taken her oath as PH President. 21 hours ago |
  • ‘Cory Aquino Hall’ in Club Filipino is where Roxas had announced that he was giving way to Aquino for 2010 polls. 21 hours ago |
  • DILG Sec. Mar Roxas arrives at Club Filipino in San Juan with wife Korina Sanchez. 21 hours ago |
  • Program at Club Filipino in San Juan for Pres. Aquino’s endorsement of Mar Roxas’ presidential candidacy begins at 10:30 am Friday. 21 hours ago |
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Labor execs accused of sex abuse

By Maricel Cruz | Jun. 19, 2013 at 12:02am
Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello on Tuesday identified three Labor officials assigned in the Middle East who allegedly offered distressed Filipinas free flights home in exchange for sexual favors, triggering an order from President Benigno Aquino III for an investigation.

“Sexual abuse on our womenfolk perpetrated by their hosts in a foreign country is an awful crime,” Bello told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.

“But there is something more awful... when they are exploited sexually by government officials that are supposed to protect them,” Bello said.

Bello identified the officials as a certain Mr. Kim, based in Damascus, Syria; Labor attache Mario Antonio in Amman, Jordan; and Blas Marquez, an officer of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait, and said complaints filed against the “three predators” had fallen on deaf ears.

At the Palace, deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the President has ordered the Foreign Affairs Department to investigate the “sex-for-flights” reports.

“The DFA is already looking into this. The head of the embassy in Kuwait has been instructed to act on this,” she said.

Valte appealed to the victims to come out and file formal complaints to ensure that justice is served.

“To this date, we have not received any formal complaint from the alleged victims, which is why we are encouraging those with information or those who have been victimized by these alleged practices to come forward then to file a complaint because the Department of Foreign Affairs is more than willing to act on them,” she added.

Bello, chairman of the House committee on overseas workers affairs during the 15th Congress, said he had conducted his own investigation, and found that “Mr. Kim” was caught in an “intimate act” with a female worker at the pool side of the embassy shelter on Jan. 1, 2013.

Bello said witnesses had filed sworn statement detailing the incident.

Other witnesses, Bello said, said Mr. Kim also had “intimate relationships” with at least four other distressed female workers in the past.

“Despite this record of exploiting vulnerable wards, Predator One (Mr. Kim) was given what can only be regarded as tap on the wrist,” Bello said.

On the other hand, Bello said, Antonio and Marquez exploited women in shelters by offering them to paying customers.

“Witnesses claim that he (Antonio) charges as much as $1,000 a night for the services of one OFW. He is in effect, running a prostitution ring using distressed OFWs. This man’s activities are so disreputable and illegal that the government of Jordan has requested that he be removed,” Bello said.

Bello said he had information that Antonio had been operating a prostitution ring when he was posted in Beirut and Tokyo.

Marquez, a local hire in Kuwait, “has long been involved in sex-for-hire in the Filipino Workers’ Resource Center,” Bello said, quoting a confidential report by a high embassy official based in Kuwait.

“There have been many complaints against him, but he eluded the dragnet because he is a town mate of now disgraced Ambassador Shulan Primavera,” Bello said.

Bello demanded the Department of Foreign Affairs provide assistance to the victims of the three Labor officials, and also pursue criminal charges against them. He said that victims were also contemplating taking the necessary legal action against their predators.

“These criminals parading as officials must be stripped of their positions, recalled to the Philippines, and prosecuted,” Bello said.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz also created a team that would investigate the allegations and said she would personally file criminal charges against any Labor officials involved in sexual abuse. With Rio N. Araja, Joyce Pangco Pañares and Vito Barcelo 

 
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