BY RIGOR ZABALA
Philippine womanhood has reaped its biggest insult from no less than a diplomat who claimed that half of Filipinas are “prostitutes.”
As newly-minted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to snag the biggest drug lord in the country, he might be interested to know that he could have a prized catch in a foreigner, and a diplomat, at that, under his iron-first anti-criminality campaign.
It is not rare that we often read reports about Bangladeshis being collared in foreign shores for drug trafficking but Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes may not, however, be a drug lord. But he has other sins to Filipinos that should merit the attention of the President. Gomes to us is a “criminal.”
More than 600 suspected drug dealers have died in the hands of police since Duterte and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa launched the anti-criminality campaign that focused on illegal drug dealing and use.
We would not suggest Gomes be on that list of dead victims. His sin is not about drugs.
His sin is about women and abusing them.
Women abuse is a crime in this country, is it not?
So Gomes might as well be labeled a “criminal” and in the radar of criminals under Duterte’s anti-crminality campaign fit to be dumped in the New Bilibid Prison in the company of drug lords.
Alex Magno, in his column First Person titled Undiplomatic (Philippine Star, August 6, 2016), unmasked Gomes’ dark, hidden persona, his disdain for Filipinos and the uncouth manner he treats Filipino workers in his embassy.
What are Gomes’ sins?
He once made the claim that half of Filipinas were “prostitutes.”
He has described former president Noynoy Aquino as the most stupid president in the world.
He also said Filipinos are “thieves.”
Gomes could not be sent to jail for describing former President Benigno Aquino as the most stupid president, him having no franchise over the opinion.
But Gomes’ other sins should merit him the presidential anger and inclusion in the hate list of President Duterte that counts drug lords, kidnappers, rapists, terrorists, grafters, human traffickers, etc., etc.
Gomes desecrated Pinoy womanhood by saying half of Filipinas are “prostitutes.” He also harassed Pinoy womanhood in the person of a Filipina staff at the Bangladesh embassy through his foul language and by thievery.
In effect, the honorable ambassador violated the country’s laws on respect for women. That is criminal!
“A couple of years ago, a Filipina employee who served at the embassy of Bangladesh for nearly two decades filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The complaint was for illegal dismissal as well as a claim for benefits denied her.|
“The NLRC ruled in favor of the Filipina. Lawyers for the Bangladesh embassy, however, claim the diplomatic outpost was immune from suit.”
“The complainant, Alona T. Contridas, has elevated the matter to our Court of Appeals. This is a significant case because it covers the rights of Filipino staff working for foreign embassies in the country.”
“Contridas worked as a cleaner in the embassy. She was later promoted to messenger, with a monthly salary of P17,000.”
“Even after her promotion, Gomes instructed her to report earlier for work to perform cleaning duties in the embassy before office hours. The reason for that, it turns out, was that the person to do the cleaning was made to report to the ambassador’s home to do cleaning, laundry and cooking duties.”
“All the while, a monthly salary of P15,000 was due her. But Ambassador Gomes paid her only P12,000. Each month, it turns out, the ambassador skims P3,000 from his embassy’s lowliest employee.”
Magno further wrote that Gomes once threw the trash before the Filipino staff.
“He routinely called Filipino “thieves” and once made the claim half of Filipinas were “prostitutes.” In a most undiplomatic way, he describes former president Noynoy Aquino as the most stupid president in the world.”
Gomes had Contreras removed from the embassy staff two years ago.
“Contridas wrote the Bangladesh prime minister complaining of the ambassador’s tyrannical behavior towards the staff. She specifically complained about the ambassador skimming from the salaries of Filipino employees,” wrote Magno.
She also informed then President Aquino about the demeaning remarks the ambassador was making about Filipinos in general and the president in particular.
Having called Filipinos as “thieves,” we would not be surprised if Gomes repeats the same when he had too many drinks with his friends in the diplomatic corps.
Which should bring us to the case of the $81 million hacked from the Bank of Bangladesh which landed in Philippine Banks.
Gomes is bullying the Philippines government to immediately return surrendered part of the filched amount even as the Senate has yet to complete its investigation on the money laundering scandal.
He believes Filipinos were behind the heist. That is why he says Filipinos are thieves. But the Bangladesh finance minister says the hacking was completely an inside job. It happened because the Bank of Bangladesh failed to adequately protect itself from hackers or worse, allowed a conspiracy from within that bank. (Read more in Magno)
So what to do with a scum like Gomes?
Gomes wants the Bank of Bangladesh scandal resolved and the hacked money returned to Bangladesh before his ambassadorial watch in the Philippines ends.
Before he goes back home to Bangladesh, Filipinos should make this persona non grata answer for his crime.