PH diplomats in Kuwait maid rescues face kidnapping charges – Cayetano
Filipino diplomats who conducted the rescue of distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait are facing kidnapping charges, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed late Wednesday evening.
“Kinasuhan sila ng kidnapping. Ang sinasabi nila, dahil nasa bahay ‘yung isa, parang kinuha natin, kinidnap,” Cayetano told reporters after welcoming home Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa.
(They were charged with kidnapping. Kuwait authorities are saying that it looked like we kidnapped the OFWS from the houses of their employers.)
Kuwait accused the Philippines last week of a “flagrant and grave breach of rules and regulations that govern diplomatic action where staff helped Filipina house helpers run away.”
Angered by the rescue operation that was released on social media, the oil-rich Gulf nation recalled their ambassador to the Philippines and expelled Villa within a week.
Noting that diplomats have immunity, Cayetano said “there was no violation” of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Convention and that their lines with Kuwait are open to sort out the issue.
“Sinabi nila na this misunderstanding was brought about by exaggerated, isolated issues, and there’s a miscommunication. So we’re trying to fix that,” he said.
Cayetano maintained that the rescue operations conducted by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait were “acceptable” and that the staff acted in the spirit of protecting Filipinos.
“We did it ourselves which is acceptable, and it is a duty under the international law but it was commotion to them,” he said.
“That’s why I said, I apologize if our actions seemed to violate your sovereignty.”
He said that 35 out of 38 rescue efforts were coordinated with Kuwaiti authorities, but three were conducted by Philippine officials due to immediacy.
The country’s top diplomat expressed hope that the diplomatic standoff between Manila and Kuwait would be resolved soon.
“We’re getting near to understanding each other,” he said. /muf
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