Archbishop Cruz, an outspoken critic of those who exploit the poor and of those guilty of corruption, has himself been arrested for libel because of an article he wrote four years ago.

The Bishop claimed that women working for PAGCOR (Philippine Gaming Commission) were told to go to a birthday party for the first Gentleman, and act as hostesses.

Cruz said the women, who were marketing assistants at Pagcor, were instructed to “dance with them” and “don’t wear your wedding rings” before they were brought to Malacañang to entertain guests during the birthday party for Mike Arroyo on June 26, 2004.

This insulted the women’s honor, so 17 PAGCOR employees and 3 of the First Gentleman’s employees sued the bishop. How dare he suggest they were…well it’s not clear what he was supposed to be suggesting, but the women were insulted anyway.

The Inquirer article lists their job descriptions thus:

The employees said they worked in various positions as corporation events promotion tourism specialists, administrative supervisors, marketing associates, advertising sales coordinators, assistant branch marketing managers, marketing associates, receptionists and clerks.

Now, can anyone in the US imagine that an Administrative supervisor or Branch manager of a business would volunteer to work as an usher at a politicians’ birthday party?

And one wonders if there were any males clerks or supervisors who volunteered to usher at the party.

If anyone tried to pull such a stunt at my government job in the US, there would not only be an EEOC complaint because only women were allowed to volunteer, but the Union would have filed a protest for the clerks and receptionists being required to work without compensation as part of their employment.

On the other hand, equal opportunity employment doesn’t exist here. Job advertisements not only specify the sex of the employee, but usually have age limits and even height and weight limits for prospective employees.

So the Bishop, for his good deed in trying to stop the exploitation of employees, faces a lawsuit…

And the fact tha the Bishop is an outspoken critic of the Arroyo administration, of course, has nothing to do with the lawsuit.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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