Bello defends embattled Riyadh labor attaché
Just a day after the Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia suspended labor attaché Nasser Mustafa for filing a cyberlibel complaint against two Filipinos, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III came to his defense, urging Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to drop the complaints against Mustafa and reinstate him to his office.
The issue began when Filipino spouses Herbert and Aireen Mayores filed complaints of corruption and sexual harassment against Mustafa in October.
In a letter to the DFA dated Jan. 8, however, Bello said he found no compelling reason to recall and suspend Mustafa as labor attache to Riyadh.
Bello then called on Locsin to reinstate Mustafa’s exit and re-entry visa. He also said he approves the recommendation of the DOLE’s Legal Service, which found no substantial evidence on the corruption and sexual harassment allegations.
“Considering that there is no pending investigation to speak of since the complaint against Labatt Mustafa was already dismissed, there is no longer any reason nor legal basis for him to be placed under preventive suspension,” said Bello.
Bello also defended Mustafa’s decision to file separate cyberlibel and illegal recruitment complaints against the Mayores couple.
Bello said the cyberlibel case was filed in his capacity as a private citizen, “to defend his right and dignity,” since the couple allegedly maligned him with their accusations.
Meanwhile, Bello said Mustafa filed the illegal recruitment case due to the “call of his sworn duty” to protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from illegal recruitment activities.
“It is for the protection and welfare of the OFWs in the Kingdom, who are potential victims of the illegal recruitment scheme of the complainants, that prompted Labor Attache Mustafa to file the case against them. Such act supports the Philippine government’s commitment to protect its nationals in the Kingdom,” said Bello.
Mustafa was suspended for allegedly undermining the “One Country-Team Approach” policy implemented by government officials and personnel posted abroad.
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