Newspaper publisher responds to trafficking chargesBy Bert Pelayo
You may have heard about a civil action filed against my daughter for alleged unpaid wages and false imprisonment. In a puzzling twist, Linda and I were also named defendants.
Even more puzzling is the fact that the Philippine Consulate employee who brought her here legally as a domestic worker was not included in the complaint.
There is an employment contract between Emma Ruth Yulo and Rosenda Gonzaga. In turn, Ms. Yulo loaned her maid out whenever she was out of town.
There’s no contract between Joy and the maid, nor with the Pelayos. If the maid was also working for other families, why were they not included, and instead the Pelayos were singled out. This issue was pointed out by a FilAm reporter in an Internet article.
She also asked the maid’s lawyer why Ms. Yulo was not a defendant and received no reply.
Ms. Yulo says she was the one paying the maid, “not the McCarthys.”
In an interview with The FilAm, our lawyer, Salvador Tuy, said, “We deny everything. The defendants are all good people and they have many friends in the community.”
Atty. Tuy emphasized that “some people resort to human trafficking charges as a way to apply for a T visa that would allow them to stay in the country legally.”
The Philippine Consulate issued an official statement to The FilAm:
“Based on the Philippine Consulate records, Ms. Gonzaga was the private staff of Ms. Emma Ruth Yulo-Kitiyakara, former Philippine Tourism Representative in New York. That the Tourism Office reported that Ms. Gonzaga left her employer, Ms. Yulo-Kitiyakara, in March 2011. This matter was reported to the relevant authorities as per standard operating procedure. The Consulate General has no knowledge of the matters alleged in the complaint of Ms. Gonzaga. Ms. Yulo-Kitiyakara retired from the Department of Tourism in November 2011.
“The Consulate General will respond appropriately to any request for assistance from any Filipino national who is a party to the case/complaint.
“The Consulate General reiterates that it continues to actively engage different concerned groups and individuals in raising awareness of labor-related issues.”
Ms. Gonzaga sneaked away — not “escaped” — on March 1, 2011, her birthday. That day, Joy wrote her a card and (sent her) a $100 cash gift.
In a pang of conscience, she left a handwritten note in Tagalog, saying, “I am sorry I have to do this because I have so many problems. I cannot wait for you to come home to celebrate my birthday at a restaurant. My conscience will bother me more. I hope to return to you someday. I love you both very much (Joy and Chris).”
This is hardly the sentiment of an “aggrieved, oppressed and imprisoned” woman.
We trust implicitly in the efficacy of the U.S. justice system.
Bert Pelayo is the publisher of The Filipino Reporter, a newspaper that has served the FilAm community for more than 40 years.
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