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Archive for Philippines

Newsline: Philippine ambassador to Nigeria faces corruption allegations

Diplomatic staff of the Philippine Embassy in Nigeria are seeking the recall and investigation of Manila’s ambassador to the African state for alleged corrupt and unethical practices, accusations the envoy has vehemently denied. Consular officer Elmor Maglunsod filed an official complaint against Ambassador Shirley Ho-Vicario for allegedly violating Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employee, and Republic Act No. 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Some embassy staffers backed Maglunsod’s complaint, which they said was strongly denied by Vicario, who assumed her post in May 1, 2017 after being appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte was taking the matter “very seriously.” In his affidavit, Maglunsod also complained of “untoward practices” of the ambassador’s husband, Pascasio Vicario. “Throughout the consular mission, she claimed that she paid for lunch and dinner meetings with the Filipino community, bought gifts for certain groups, individuals, and companies. But the truth is, she never paid a single cent,” Maglunsod said. He claimed that Vicario “just collected all the receipts, certified it as however she sees fit, and reimbursed the receipts.” “It was actually the Filipino community who paid for the food during the meetings and gatherings and transportation of the ambassador during her tours,” he added. Maglunsod said Section 3(b) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, public officials and employees are “prohibited to solicit, accept, directly or indirectly request or receive any gift for himself or for any other person.” He also alleged that every time Vicario goes to other countries under her jurisdiction, “all the ambassador ever does aside from brief meetings with the Filipino community are shopping, collecting souvenirs, and taking advantage of people where they can gain profit and materialize their personal interest.” Embassy staffers also complained that Vicario is rarely at the embassy and would allegedly always overstay in certain countries during consular visits. They also complained of Vicario’s husband’s rude treatment of embassy staffers and his interference in embassy affairs. Based on her curriculum vitae, this is the second time that Vicario was appointed as political ambassador, having served during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as envoy to Papua New Guinea in Feb. 15, 2007 until she was recalled by President Benigno Aquino III in Sept. 30, 2010.



Newsline: Philippine embassy in Tel Aviv disowns ‘strip show’

The Philippine embassy in Tel Aviv disclaimed any involvement in a Christmas party of Filipino groups in Israel that showed one of the guests with a male stripper. Philippine Ambassador to Israel Nathaniel Imperial said the embassy had no hand in the Christmas party recorded on video and photos. A blogger who was neither present at the event nor based in Israel alleged that the party was organized by embassy officials. “The embassy had no hand in that Filipino community event, and calls on everyone to assist in stopping the spread of fake news that may have a detrimental effect on the image of Filipinos in Israel,” Imperial said in a statement. He added that the event was a Christmas party organized by three Filipino groups in Haifa, a city in Israel about an hour’s drive away from Tel Aviv, where the embassy is located.


Newsline: Philippines Says Not Moving Its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

The Philippines is not moving its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the country’s foreign minister said, denying reports that it was among ten nations planning the transfer. Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Israel never even asked the Philippine government to consider such a move. “We have communicated clearly to all our friends in the Middle East that there hasn’t been any discussion or move to move our embassy from Tel Aviv,” he told Manila television network GMA News on Tuesday. On Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that Israel is talking with more than 10 countries about potentially moving their respective embassies to Jerusalem following Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’s announcement that he would move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.



Newsline: Philippine Consulate in Mozambique on alert for possible evacuation amid Zimbabwe tension

The Philippine Consulate in Mozambique is on alert in the event of a mass evacuation following the military takeover of neighboring Zimbabwe. Although the situation in the southern African nation is relatively calm at present, the consulate is still ready in case an evacuation becomes necessary, News To Go reported, citing Consul Donald Tulcidas. The number of Filipinos in Zimbabwe is unknown. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were previously banned from going to the country due to the alleged refusal of the Zimbabwean government to coordinate with its Philippine counterpart on the protection of workers’ rights. The Department of Foreign Affairs is also currently gathering information on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe.



Newsline: Philippine embassy in Mexico damaged by quake

There are no reports yet of any Filipino casualty in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico on Tuesday, September 19, but the quake has damaged the country’s embassy there, Malacañang said. “The Philippine embassy in Mexico City has been damaged by the earthquake. All our embassy officials and staff are safe, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement on Wednesday, September 20. Embassy personnel are continuously monitoring the situation and are coordinating with the Filipino community in Mexico. The earthquake has killed nearly 140 people after toppling buildings and sowing panic in the capital.



Newsline: US embassy in Manila urges countries to ‘downgrade’ North Korea ties

The U.S. embassy in the Philippines issued a statement urging countries in the Asia-Pacific to downgrade relations with North Korea. The statement comes ahead of a regional security meeting in Manila and addresses “all countries including ASEAN members” to “downgrade diplomatic engagements or exchanges,” Southeast Asia-based BenarNews reported. The ASEAN Regional Forum provides opportunities for top diplomats to hold talks on the sidelines. North Korea’s foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are expected to be in attendance, but it is unlikely the two representatives will meet to address the nuclear issue. Susan Thornton, the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, had said Tillerson does not plan to meet with North Korea’s foreign minister, and expressed support for penalizing Pyongyang.



Newsline: Philippines diplomat’s son alleges sodomy by classmate at school in New Delhi

A Class 5 student of a well-known school in New Delhi has alleged that he was sodomised by his classmate at school. The fathers of both the accused and the victim are diplomats at different embassies in the capital. A case has been registered. The issue surfaced when the victim’s father, who works with the Philippines embassy, contacted South Campus police station to lodge a complaint. The officer told police that his son looked disturbed during his summer vacations. When the worried father questioned his son, he ‘broke down’ and narrated the whole incident alleging sexual assault. The boy also requested his father against reporting the incident to police. Police investigations revealed that the accused is the son of an officer working with the embassy of Angola. The investigators also said that the family of the accused had also attempted to file a complaint. Their statement claimed that it was their son, who was assaulted by the victim. But medical reports did not support it. Police accepted the complaint.