MANILA, Philippines—He was probably out of sorts that day, but still Philippine Consul General to Vancouver Jose Ampeso should have known better than drink and reek of liquor while dealing with the public. It just doesn’t help to convince the world that it’s more fun in the Philippines.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ordered Ampeso home to explain his undiplomatic behavior while talking to Filipinos at a recent outreach program in Alberta, Canada.
Somebody captured his questionable performance on video and posted a 28-second clip on the popular video-sharing site YouTube.
“We are asking him to come home to Manila so that we will be able to listen and find out his side of the story,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m not sure if we have received a formal complaint, but we thought that since this is already going around, we should hear his side of the story. He will be asked to come home immediately,” Hernandez said.
Posted by user greatauror28 on April 19, the clip captioned “Rude, arrogant, drunk consul. More fun in the Philippines!” shows Ampeso in an apparently foul mood and slurring his words as he talked to Filipinos during the Alberta event (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbK4qZZCNfg).
Apparently talking about voluntary contributions, Ampeso was captured on camera telling his fellow Filipinos: “What compulsory? I’m telling them to give what they can afford.”
He was also seen confronting someone and saying, “You’re against it?”
He was later heard urging his compatriots to “pass it, pass it forward” in between inaudible words.
The video has been viewed more than 5,000 times and has prompted user comments ranging from disappointment to disgust.
Migrante Partylist, an organization representing Filipino migrant workers around the world, traced the video to one Proceso Flordeliz Jr., who separately recounted the incident on the Filipino online forum tsikot.com (http://tsikot.com/forums/politics-economy-religion-talk-100/phil-consul-general-goes-amok-93148/).
In his account, Flordeliz said Ampeso berated him for donating only a dollar during the Vancouver mission’s Passport Renewal Outreach program at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, Alberta. He had driven to Alberta with his wife and 3-month-old baby from his residence in Edmonton, some two hours away.
He said Ampeso, who “smelled [of] alcohol in his breath],” initially ignored him at the passport renewal desk when he said he was not going to make a donation.
When he was called again to the renewal desk, he said Ampeso asked him again for a donation and became angry when he asked if a dollar would be fine.
He said Ampeso threatened to disregard his passport renewal papers if he would give only a dollar.
“Here I was just wanting my passport renewed and I have to deal with this arrogant, rude and drunk old man! Being berated as cheap by not giving a ‘donation’ God knows what will become of it. Being threatened of not having my passport renewed, I most certainly know that I didn’t violate any laws to be denied of such. And being shouted at like a little kid in front of a crowd just smacks my morale to the ground,” Flordeliz said.
There is no video of that encounter between Flordeliz and Ampeso.
Flordeliz probably began recording right after the incident, when Ampeso was speaking to other Filipinos applying for passport renewal.
Ampeso had previously faced accusations of misbehavior. In 1996, Luli Arroyo, daughter of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, accused him of sexual harassment. The former President was then a senator.
Luli Arroyo, then a volunteer working for Manila’s preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, said that at half past midnight on Nov. 8, 1996, a drunk Ampeso asked her “inappropriate questions” as she worked in the summit venue’s duty officer’s room. She said Ampeso also asked her to join him for drinks.
Ampeso denied the accusations. The DFA dropped the administrative case in October 1998 after Ampeso apologized to Arroyo in person and in writing.
Ampeso has since been assigned to diplomatic posts at the home office and abroad.
Migrante called on the government to investigate the incident and to hold Ampeso accountable for the Alberta incident.
“We call on all concerned agencies and on Congress to investigate this matter and sanction all abusive and erring embassy officials. Embassy officials represent the [Philippine] government in any country. They should be liable to the Filipino people, their constituents,” Migrante International chair Garry Martinez said in a statement.
Ampeso was posted as consul general in Vancouver in June 2011. According to the Vancouver consulate’s website, he has served in Philippine missions in New Orleans, Louisiana, Peru, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Venezuela.