MANILA, Philippines — The career diplomat caught on video in an irate mood during a consular outreach in Canada has returned to Manila to face an investigation at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the office’s spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Philippine Consul General to Vancouver Jose Ampeso is back in Manila on orders of his home office to air his side on the incident at a consular mission in Alberta, Canada, where Filipinos based there lined up to renew their travel documents.
“He is already here. A fact-finding panel is being formed to investigate and determine if there is a case to pursue,” said Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, the DFA spokesperson.
Saying foreign service officers should always be professional, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said last week that Ampeso had some explaining to do for his behavior recorded on video and posted on online video-sharing site YouTube.
Del Rosario said Ampeso’s behavior appeared “errant” if one viewed the video without hearing his explanation.
Canada-based Filipino Proceso Flordeliz Jr. had complained against Ampeso for raising his voice when he offered to donate a dollar to the consulate fund-raising drive during their outreach at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, Alberta two weeks ago.
Then applying to renew his passport, Flordeliz posted his narration on a Filipino online forum and later uploaded a video showing a still irate Ampeso apparently confronting other Filipinos after his brush with Flordeliz.
But Ampeso said the video did not tell the whole story and that “it is unfair and unjust to use it to malign my character.”
Defending his actions, Ampeso said he felt insulted when the applicant offered to give a measly dollar to the mission’s fund-raising efforts for the Philippine National Red Cross, which was supposedly for typhoon victims.
Del Rosario, meanwhile, said such fund-raising activity was “improper and inappropriate.”
Ampeso apologized for any offense his actions might have caused but maintained that he was provoked.
The official, who has wide diplomatic experience around the world, earlier faced investigation for sexual harassment on the complaint of Luli Arroyo, daughter of former President Arroyo, back in 1996, when she worked as a volunteer during Manila’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum.
The charges were dropped in 1998 after Ampeso apologized personally and in writing.