Former PH envoy caught hitting helper to appeal dismissal

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The Philippine Ambassador to Brazil, who was dismissed from government service for allegedly abusing her Filipina household helper, has claimed the Department of Foreign Affairs railroaded the investigation of her case. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 3) — The Philippine ambassador to Brazil, who was dismissed this week from government service for allegedly abusing her Filipina household helper, said she will appeal her firing.

In an interview on an online talk show, former Ambassador Marichu Mauro admitted she "lost control" when she hit her helper. However, she stressed that was the only time it happened, and that she regretted it.

"I had mental and emotional anxiety and stress, kasi nakalockdown kayo [because we were on lockdown] and you are faced with many challenges we had not done before," she said.

The former diplomat also claims that the Department of Foreign Affairs "railroaded" the investigation of her case. Mauro said in a statement, the DFA "totally disregarded" the evidence her lawyers presented.

"My case was even mishandled," said the ex-envoy. "The case was railroaded to the point that important pieces of evidence were deliberately not given due attention."

Although she regretted the incident, Mauro maintained the video of her hitting her 51-year-old helper's head and pinching her ear was "taken out of context."

She argued she and her helper are "family", having known each other for more than 30 years, but added that she may have crossed boundaries due to "heavy family dynamics."

"I wish the DFA [had] considered my kasambahay’s own statements putting context on our relationship and how we regard each other," she said. "It was as if the intention was to make an example of me."

DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr., meanwhile, also mentioned that Mauro will appeal her case. He also lamented the incident.

"These things happen in traditional Filipino families...Sadly it was videotaped. But the law is cut & dried. If wrong, full penalty," he said in a tweet.

He then added, "She is appealing it in court. That is her right."

Speaking to CNN Philippines, however, the household worker disclosed that there were instances when Mauro would get angry at her over petty matters.

"Minsan po konting ano lang konting bagay lang na ginagawa ko mabilis siya magalit," the helper related. "Lalo na 'yung labahin sinampay ko na, ang iba di pa natuyo naiwan ko kaya nagagalit siya."

[Translation: Sometimes, even with the small things that I do, she would easily get irked. Especially with the laundry, she would get mad when I would leave some of her clothes out to dry.]

The helper, who had since returned to the Philippines, said she had forgiven Mauro last year and has since moved on from the incident.

"Humingi po siya ng tawad, patawarin ko raw po siya hindi naman daw niya sinasadya magalit," she said. "Napatawad ko na po siya. Bago pa nag new year noon naka communicate din po siya sa akin."

[Translation: She asked for forgiveness and said she did not intend to get angry. I have forgiven her before New Year's Day when she communicated with me.]

Mauro was recalled to the Philippines after a Brazilian news outfit released the CCTV footage showing her hitting her worker. Two days ago, the President announced he had dismissed Mauro from her post, withdrew her retirement benefits, and barred her from taking up public office again.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin also said DFA officers will now have to apply to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration if they want to bring their household staff with them abroad.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Tristan Nodalo contributed to this report.