Pinay maid allegedly abused by PHL envoy to UN —Ople
A Filipina maid employed by the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations was allegedly abused and driven out of the ambassador's home in the middle of winter last year.
Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, said at a media forum on Saturday that Milagros Braza has filed a complaint with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) against her former employer, Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre.
Ople said the complaint was filed as Braza was still affected by the verbal abuse she allegedly suffered from Yparraguirre.
"Dalawa yung gusto niya: yung una, gusto niya talaga ma-pursue yung case kasi hanggang ngayon, hindi niya makalimutan yung nagawa sa kanya," she explained.
"Milagros was also with the ambassador in Vienna. Doon pa lang, meron nang kakaibang nangyayari sa kanya. [But] her sworn affidavit focused mainly on what happened to her while in the US. Ang gusto lang niya, I guess, to hold accountable yung kanyang employer," Ople added.
She added that the Filipina maid also needs help from the DFA to be able to return to the Philippines.
In her two-page affidavit, Braza recalled how her employer lent her out to relatives without extra compensation since Yparraguirre was transferred from Vienna to the US.
Braza claimed that she was made to work for Yparraguirre's niece in New Jersey from October 25 to 29, 2015 without extra pay.
She returned to the ambassador's residence in New York to serve Yparraguirre and her cousins despite allegedly having a fever.
Braza was then lent out to Yparraguirre's niece in Manhattan on Nov. 29 after working in New Jersey from Nov. 26 to 28 for Thanksgiving.
The incident finally came to a head during the holidays of 2015.
Yparraguirre invited guests over on December 25 and was asking Braza to sleep in the living room to allow some guests to stay at the helper's room.
The day before Christmas, Braza claimed she was made to prepare a feast for her employer and relatives and worked until midnight.
Because of her exhaustion, she asked if she could find a cheap hotel nearby to get proper rest.
"Kasi lantang-lanta na po sa pagod ang katawan ko, hindi pa ako makatulog sa sala dahil dinadaan-daanan ako ng mga bisita. Nakahiga sa sala, kailangan mo pa magising ng madaling araw para magluto sa mga bisita niya," Braza explained.
"Sinabihan niya ako, 'Umalis ka na ngayon din.' Habang nagliligpit po ako ng mga gamit ko, sinabihan niya ako na tinawagan niya isang colleague niya na papupuntahin ang pulis sa bahay kaya sobrang takot ko, tumawag po ako ng 911.," she added.
"Tapos sinabihan pa po niya ako na within 30 minutes, dapat makalabas na ako sa bahay, ayaw na daw po niya makita pagmumukha [ko]," she continued.
Ople questioned the long process that the DFA is taking to act on the complaint. Braza's complaint was acknowledged eight days after it was sent in February 2016, while her affidavit was received in April.
"She went through the process. She filed and submitted a support affidavit, as authenticated by our consul general," she said. "Gusto na po niyang makauwi."
"I think matagal lang talaga ang DFA umaksyon basta mga administrative cases involving their own personnel kasi hindi lang naman ito yung first na na-handle naming complaint against a DFA officer," Ople added.
In the spirit of fairness
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose told GMA News Online that they are still investigating the incident and are waiting for Yparraguirre's statement as part of the process.
"We're looking into the allegations but it's also important, in the spirit of fairness and balance, to get the side of our ambassador," Jose wrote in a text message.
Braza is still in the US, living with an acquaintance, and her passport had already expired.
Ople hopes DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay, who is currently in the US, will pay attention to the case. —ALG, GMA News