WHAT an irony that former permanent representative to the UN Mission in New York, Ambassador Lauro Baja, has been accused of human trafficking by his former domestic help. After all, he was the one who had espoused the views of the Philippine government against it, and in international forums at that.
If you have been reading certain columnists since last year, there have been a few blind items which had already come out on some Filipino diplomats who have been engaged in these dastardly deeds, human trafficking and abuse of their househelp. I shall not confirm nor deny that those blind items were about Baja.
But our sources in the Philippine diplomatic community say there is a very good reason why the Department of Foreign Affairs and other Philippine ambassadors are not going to lift a finger or speak up to defend Baja (and his wife Norma, the other principal figure) in the case filed against him by Marichu Suarez Baoanan. Hmmm... (Tanong lang ha, why is a diplomat's wife allowed to own a travel agency and transact businesses on things like passports and such with the DFA? Parang wa naman delicadeza yan, 'day!)
Anyway, it's really embarrassing to have this kind of news land the Philippines or its officials on the pages of the New York Times. Americans take these crimes seriously primarily because of their long history of slavery of Africans and Negroes. In its early years, America was one of the largest human traffickers in the world, and slavery was a tradition in most of its southern households.
So I don't think the U.S. justice system is going to shoo this case vs Baja under the rug, like we would do here in the Philippines. (Btw, I am told that there was a criminal case filed against Baja last year, and in the States, one has to wait for that to be ruled on first before a civil case can be filed.)
Contrary to Amb. Baja's claim that Ms. Baoanan filed the case against him because she needed a visa, it was learned that the latter does have a T-visa that allows her to stay in the U.S. and bring her family. According to my diplomatic sources, these visas are very few and only awarded through law enforcement agencies to victims of human trafficking. Which can only mean, the law enforcement agencies believe Ms. Baoanan's claim. Hay, anovayan, bayan?!?
(Okay so you must be asking why is Ms. Baoanan smiling in all her photos w/ Baja's grandson which the ambassador had shown local broadcasters? If she was suffering as she had alleged, she would not look that that way right? But then, she's Pinoy, and like all of us, whenever a camera is around, we smile like idiots even when the pain inside us is killing us.)
Anyhoo, click here to read Ms. Baoanan's statement on the matter. Oh btw, my diplomatic sources say, this human trafficking case vs Baja is "just the tip of the iceberg." "Naykupooo!