Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre, the Philippines' top diplomat to the United Nations, has denied maltreating her former service staff, saying the accusation was "misleading, blown out of proporition and definitely untrue."
Milagros Braza, who sought the help of migrant worker advocacy group Blas F. Ople Policy Center, has filed a complaint before the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) saying he was abused by Yparraguirre several times.
Her complaints include being thrown out of the ambassador’s residence in New York City on Christmas Day in 2015, and being made to work for the official's other relatives with no extra pay.
But according to a statement from Yparraguirre's office, Braza was not thrown out of the residence on Christmas Day 2015 but was "requested" to sleep on an air bed in the sala to accommodate the official's seven visiting relatives.
"Ms. Braza resented the Ambassador's request and she became very disrespectful to the Ambassador," the statement read.
"She talked back to the Ambassador saying that she will not give up her room and sleep in the sala because she was tired and did not want the guests to be moving and passing past her in the sala," it added.
Fearing for her own safety and security of the official residence and personal property after the guests left, then Yparraguirre told Braza that she can leave that same night after asking her to call up her relatives in Queens and in New Jersey to pick her up.
"It was a mild winter in December with no snow," the statement read, describing the night Braza left the ambassador's official residence, adding Braza left with her personal belongings and important travel documents.
The statement also said that Braza, who has a monthly salary of $2,000 as a service staff, was "assigned a room with a bay window with a good view of the East River and the New York skyline, and, adorned with paintings and pretty wall paper. The room is provided with a 42' television, a computer desk with executive chair, airconditioning and heater, and a toilet and bath with a jet massage shower."
However, Braza was informed earlier on that she might be requested to temporarily vacate the room if ever there are guests.
Yparraguirre also denied the accusation that she lent Braza to her relatives in New York and New Jersey without additional pay.
According to the ambassador, the two of them once went to visit her niece in Morristown, New Jersey during a three-day weekend after the niece gave birth prematurely and they helped prepare the baby's room.
On another occasion, Yparraguirre requested Braza to go to her niece in Manhattan to help attend to her three young boys. For this, she was given "token allowances for the total of 29 hours of work.
"With an offer from Ambassador Yparraguirre of additional tokenallowance, Ms. Braza would have collected the equivalent of triple compensation for her service," the statement read.
The statement said Braza has been working for Yparraguirre's family for 15 years, five of which with the ambassador as a service staff, where she was "considered and treated as a part of the family." —KBK, GMA News