Manila probes diplomat charged in Canada with trafficking nanny

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 May, 2014, 6:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 May, 2014, 6:02am


The Philippine government said yesterday it was investigating one of its diplomats, charged in Canada for alleged human trafficking involving the exploitation of her nanny.

"The [foreign affairs] department takes very seriously any allegations of misconduct of its employees. The department is conducting an inquiry into the matter," its spokesman Charles Jose said.

He said Buenaflor Cruz was formerly assigned to the Philippine embassy in Ottawa but had since been reassigned to the home office in Manila "as part of the department's normal rotation".

Canadian federal police said they laid charges on Friday against the diplomat and her husband, Robert Cruz, for mischief, uttering threats, withholding their former nanny's identification documents and human trafficking.

It said the suspects had left the country and that the 26-year-old nanny, who worked at the couple's Ottawa home between 2009 and last December but was not identified, had been "relocated to a safe location" in Canada.

Jose said the Philippine government was co-operating fully with the Ottawa police "to the extent defined by international law".

However, he criticised the Canadian police's decision to disclose details of the case. "The ... announcement may be a matter deemed of public interest regarding the day-to-day activities of the police service, but [Manila] is concerned that such action may not be totally helpful to the inquiry at this time," he said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted police described both the wife and husband as Philippine diplomats, but the Philippine statement referred only to one female former staff member of its Ottawa mission.