Bring to court, not media – Bello

By Michael Pingol

Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday lambasted the advocacy group that accused him of corruption and challenged them to lodge a formal complaint if the group can back the allegations against him.

Bello, in a radio interview, hit back at Samahang Pagbabago National Movement for Change Secretary General Alie Dizon, saying that instead of making noise through media, they can just file a case to the Department of Justice (DoJ) or the Office of the Ombudsman.

“If I were her lawyer, I’d tell her, ‘If you have evidence against Sec. Bello, don’t go to the media. Go to the Department of Justice or the Ombudsman, file a complaint,” said Bello.

The Labor secretary said that the corruption claims against him may be aimed at derailing his application as head of the Office of the Ombudsman or may have been manufactured by those aspiring for his post as Labor chief.

“If a single agency can say that I received or asked for money, I will immediately leave. I won’t have the right to stay here,” he reiterated.

Earlier, Dizon had cited an affidavit by Azizzah Salim, owner of an employment agency, who had supposedly accused Bello and Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say of extorting some P6.8 million.

Dizon also alleged that Bello did not help the cause of OFWs particularly with the case of “Mercy,” who was separated from her 9-month-old baby in Saudi Arabia.

Bello denied the allegations and said Azzizah, in a recent meeting with Malacañang officials, said she did not prepare the affidavit cited by Dizon and was only made to sign it.

Mercy’s case, meanwhile, falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

DNA tests are also needed to prove that the OFW is the baby’s mother, he added.

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