Philippine official in sex-for-flight scandal appeals suspension

Philippine official in sex-for-flight scandal appeals suspension
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

MANILA, Philippines - A labour official implicated in the so-called sex-for-repatriation controversy, who was earlier sanctioned with a four-month suspension for "simple misconduct," has been appealing for a lesser penalty.

In a motion for partial reconsideration filed by his lawyer, acting Labor Attaché for Jordan Mario Antonio appealed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to reconsider its decision and reduce the penalty meted upon him to the minimum period prescribed for the simple misconduct offence.

"He pleaded for the reduction of the penalty of four months that we imposed. He did not indicate the period in his motion but under the law, the minimum penalty is one month and one day," said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Baldoz earlier ordered Antonio's suspension without pay, saying the DOLE's fact-finding team found some evidence against him for a "simple misconduct" case, including using vulgar and indecent language while talking with distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

She added that the labour official also used an office-issued laptop to view pornographic materials.

However, Antonio, in his motion, asserted that there was one instance when he went to the toilet and left his laptop open on his table.

Upon his return, Antonio said he chanced upon several wards [of the OFW centre] milling around his laptop and looking at provocative pictures.

He stressed that the pictures were not from the laptop itself or from his own Facebook account.

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