Embassy Advisory/Update on Trafficking Issue: Witness May Come Forward – 21 Jan 2014
Following the ABS-CBN report yesterday (20 Jan), in the interest of transparency, the Embassy makes this report/ update:
- The cases referred to are from last year. The cases of Singson and Bayona have been favorably resolved. The case of Matro was taken by the former POLO and will be reported on by the former attaché.
- The accused embassy staff has been sent home last year and will make his legal defense in the DOJ investigation. One is pending termination.
- The venue of action is now the DOJ. Arguments and counter-arguments will be made there, following legal procedure and due process. Fighting in public will be minimized.
- The former labor attaché was in charge of POLO operations for the past 2 years of the last 20 years of alleged corruption cited in the report, and will brief the Department on his programs during his tenure. He had been very pro-active alongside the embassy.
- Witnesses on passport and other alleged consular anomalies may come forward. The embassy’s Anti-fraud Unit under the Consul General has already investigated a staff who was selling marriage contracts. The staff has been sent to the Philippines.
- The report alleges that the human trafficking syndicate was in POLO. The former labor attaché will also report to the Department on his programs against the syndicate during his tenure.
- Diplomatic visas and IDs are given to staff by the Kuwait Foreign Ministry pursuant to the Vienna Convention. These afford protection in raid and rescue operations, crackdowns, etc.
- The report says that the alleged traffickers “come from one province” (referring to one province in Muslim Mindanao). Geography is not necessarily evidence. Leaders of the Muslim faith might comment on the report.
- Current embassy policy is that no cases will be settled.
- If there are more witnesses, they may come forward. Evidence is of the utmost importance.
- Meanwhile, to fight human trafficking in Kuwait, raids of sex dens and rescues of victims and abused domestic helpers will continue, with the help of Filipino leaders and the community.
As always, thanks for your support! And may Divine Providence bless our community – Atty Dado, CG
Source: Philippine Embassy in Kuwait