MANILA, Philippines – Akbayan Rep Walden Bello, who exposed the alleged “sex-for-flight” scheme in the Middle East in June, threatened to cut the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) proposed 2014 budget by 25% should it fail to recommend administrative sanctions against embassy officials involved in the scandal.
DOLE’s proposed 2014 budget of P10.51-B is up by 29.4% in 2014 from P8.12-B in 2013.
During DOLE’s budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Bello asked Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to reveal whether sanctions will be recommended against assistant labor attache in Jordan Mario Antonio, who allegedly ran an OFW prostitution ring in Amman. Antonio has denied the allegation.
“How many people are you going to be subjecting to administrative sanctions?” Bello said. “We cannot wait another day. I am asking for the answers right now.”
Baldoz refused to make any categorical statement pending the completion of a full report.
“If there is basis for filing criminal case, the procedure is we have to refer whatever pertinent or relevant information regarding that to the DOJ (Department of Justice) because I don’t have a jurisdiction over that,” Baldoz said.
The full report on the fact-finding mission on the alleged “sex-for-flight” scheme involving embassy officials in the Middle East is expected to be submitted to DOLE on Thursday, August 15. – Rappler.com
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