MANILA, Philippines – A high-ranking official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is under investigation for alleged sexual harassment.
Details of the incident first surfaced in a column on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which said that the official was drunk and "started fondling" a young female subordinate.
The article also stated that the incident took place inside the official's car. The official offered to give the victim and two other female coworkers a ride home.
"He is very influential and has a lot of connections, both in government and in the private sector and even with international donors," the women told the Inquirer.
The article also said that there are more victims of the official, some holding "fairly senior positions."
Rappler was able to get the name of the official, an undersecretary, from 3 independent sources.
Sources also said the official was placed under preventive suspension for a month, but reported back to work last December 27.
NEDA declined to name the official, however, as its rules specify that identities of those involved in such incidents will remain confidential. Pending public confirmation, Rappler is not naming the official as well.
In a statement, NEDA said it acted swiftly on the sexual harassment incident even prior to the filing of a formal complaint.
"The NEDA Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI), which is tasked to investigate sexual harassment complaints, among others, has conducted its investigation in accordance with applicable civil service rules and will be submitting its findings following the prescribed timelines," NEDA said.
"The CODI has been working with the NEDA secretary and others concerned to ensure the investigation proceeds with utmost confidentiality in adherence to pertinent laws, rules, and procedures," it added.
Various laws, including Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, protect women in the workplace from sexual harassment.
According to the law, sanctions for officials will be recommended by the Commission on Human Rights to the Civil Service Commission and the Department of the Interior and Local Government. – Rappler.com