Fidel Macauyag, the Philippines’ incumbent labor attaché in Taiwan’s Taichung City, is in the news again.
This came after Macauyag urged the Taiwan government to deport Filipina caregiver Elanel Egot Ordidor for her posts against President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration.
In a press statement published on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website, Macauyag said:
“We are constrained to act for the deportation of a Filipina working as caregiver in Taiwan for the crime of cyber libel for willful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against President Duterte on Facebook intended to cause hatred amidst the global health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Obviously, the call backfired with the Taiwanese government rejecting the Philippine Overseas Labor Office’s (POLO) request, the office Macauyag representing.
Taiwan insisted that the rights and interests of its citizens, including foreign workers, are protected under Taiwanese laws.
Malacanang eventually denied that it requested Ordidor’s deportation.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the government respects Taiwan’s decision on the matter.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III veered away from the issue, saying that he left Ordidor’s deportation issue to Macauyag.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman and resident representative Angelito Banayo apologized before Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MECO). Banayo said that Macauyag’s action was a unilateral decision.
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon urged the DOLE to recall the labor attaché, accusing him of being “unfit, incompetent, and totally unqualified” to promote and protect the welfare of overseas working Filipinos (OFW) in Taiwan.
With these accusations, we got intrigued by who Fidel Macauyag is.
Not new to controversies
Apparently, the labor attaché is not new to controversies.
A University of the East law graduate, Macauyag worked at the Commission on Audit (COA) in 1995 and had a lengthy career as a city prosecutor in Cagayan de Oro where he served for nine years.
However, in 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had the CDO city prosecutor transferred to the DOJ central office due to nine administrative cases in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Former DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II revealed that Israeli lender Reuven Baranovitch filed five cases versus Macauyag. The four others came from a businessman based in Metro Manila.
In his Inquirer story, journalist Ramon Tulfo narrated that Baranovitch approached the CDO prosecutor’s office to file estafa cases against those who ran away to pay their cash loans.
However, Macauyag asked him to pay a monthly retainer of P10,000 just to make sure the cases will move. Baranovitch refused to pay and the estafa cases went down the drain.
In response, Baranovitch filed administrative cases against Macauyag and other CDO prosecutors. The cases also didn’t move. Macauyag is related to a DOJ assistant secretary.
Adding salt to the injury, Macauyag ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to deport Baranovitch for being an undesirable alien.
A Muslim himself, Macauyag is a cousin of ex-BI Deputy Commissioner Abdullah Mangotara.
In 2016, DOLE Secretary Bello appointed the former city prosecutor as a labor attaché in Taichung.
Government watchdog Lilac Center for Public Interest Inc. (Lilac) questioned Macauyag’s appointment, along with eight others.
Lilac claimed that most of the appointees failed to meet the minimum three-year residency period in government service, two years of which must be served at the DOLE.
Despite his long experience in the government, Macauyag seemingly failed to meet the second requirement.
In 2017, he also served as a labor attaché in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia despite his pending case before the Ombudsman.