MANILA, Philippines—Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile on Wednesday blocked the promotion of a career officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs for allegedly being rude.
“I never opposed any promotion of a career officer of a department before. I’m opposing your promotion,” Enrile told Julio Dery during the latter’s confirmation hearing of his ad interim appointment as Chief of Mission, Class II.
“You apologize to Mrs. Salas formally and present the acceptance of your apology from here and I will support your promotion. If not, for as long as I’m the presiding officer of this Commission, you will not be promoted,” said the Senate leader.
Enrile was referring to Carmelita Salas, former Philippine ambassador to Czech Republic.
At the hearing of the Commission on Appointments’ committee on foreign affairs, Enrile asked Dery if he has any problem with Salas to which the nominee answered, “Only one professional problem, Sir.”
Dery said the problem arose when a Filipina ran away from her employer, a Czech doctor, who happened to be a close friend of Salas.
When the doctor arranged for the repatriation to send back the Filipina to Manila, Dery said the Filipina did not show up which made the employer “very adamant.”
“So the Czech doctor demanded an explanation from the ambassador why the Filipina was not able to be repatriated back to manila. So she (Salas) was asking me, let’s come together and discuss and explain to the Czech doctor,” Dery explained.
But Dery said he repeatedly turned down the request of the former ambassador, who even got more mad when he turned off his cell phone to avoid her calls.
“I asked for an apology. However, I can no longer placate the feelings of the lady ambassador. I’m guilty as charged of insubordination and I accept that your honor. I am forced to refuse your honor on the ground that I don’t wish to see the ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines being made to explain to a Czech national,” he added.
But Enrile said he was informed that Dery was “very rude” to Salas so he made a background check of Dery and found out that it was not the only occasion where the latter has been very rude also to his superior.
Enrile said he was told that Dery was also rude when he served to then Philippine ambassador to Hungary, Alberto de Rosario.
“You were as rude to him as you were rude to Mrs. Salas… even now you’re raising your voice at me. That’s how arrogant you are,” said Enrile.
But Dery reasoned out, “I’m just trying to explain myself as honestly as possible because there’s no other venue that I can do this.”