MEET THE ACCUSED IN OFW SEX-FOR-REPATRIATION SCANDAL



[VILLAFUERTE]

MANILA, July 1, 2013 (PHILSTAR) The labor official tagged in the sex-for-repatriation scandal by three alleged victims has no previous record of infraction as a bureaucrat.

But now, assistant labor attaché in Riyadh Antonio Villafuerte may face dismissal from government service – and possibly a long prison term – after he was accused of sexually abusing three distressed Filipina workers who had sought his assistance while taking shelter at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Villafuerte has denied the charges.

Based on information provided by the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, the 49-year-old Villafuerte hails from Tabuk, Kalinga province, is married and has three children residing in Sampaloc, Manila.

Before his stint in Riyadh, Villafuerte held posts at the labor department’s National Conciliation and Mediation Board. He also served as administrative assistant at the POLO in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Villafuerte obtained his law degree from the University of the East and took up masters in government management at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2009.

Three Filipina workers – identified only as Michelle, Annaliza and Angel – surfaced recently to accuse Villafuerte of subjecting them to various types of sexual abuse in exchange for repatriation to the Philippines.

They said they had approached Villafuerte after escaping from their abusive employers.

OFW defends Villafuerte in 'sex-for-flight' scheme By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated June 27, 2013 - 11:05am


Antonio Villafuerte, assistant labor attaché in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

MANILA, Philippines - A distressed Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) from Saudi Arabia defended one of the labor officials there tagged in the alleged "sex-for-flight" scandal.

James Limbaro, an OFW who ran away from his abusive employer, said assistant labor attaché in Riyadh Antonio Villafuerte helped him in his case without asking any favor in return.

The distressed OFW said this is the first time that he heard such complaints against Villafuerte, which he claimed has greatly helped other OFWs as well.

"Si Villafuerte tumutulong agad at walang kapalit," Limbaro said in a radio interview.

The embattled labor official was accused of sexually abusing three distressed female OFWs who had sought his assistance while taking shelter at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh.

Two OFWs identified as Angel and Annaliza said that while at Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, Villafuerte told them to do part-time jobs as sex workers to raise money for their return flight to the Philippines. They said they rejected his proposal.

Villafuerte has denied the allegations.

He may face dismissal from government service and possibly a long prison term if the charges hurled against him are proven true.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said they are preparing a preliminary investigation on Villafuerte’s case to determine if there is prima facie evidence for the filing of an administrative case against the accused official.

“Give him (Villafuerte) the opportunity to reply to all the charges and to confront the complainants and also the witnesses so we can establish the truth,” Baldoz said.

Accusations against Villafuerte surfaced after Akbayan Party-list Rep. Walden Bello first revealed last week that some labor officials in the Middle East allegedly prostituted and sexually expolited distressed OFWs in exchange of a ticket back to the Philippines.

Mario Antonio, assistant labor attaché in Amman, Jordan and one of the officials tagged by Bello, has also denied the allegations.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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