3 Filipino diplomats arrive in Manila

Published May 18, 2018, 8:26 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Roy Mabasa

The three Filipino diplomats who were earlier the subject of arrest warrants issued by Kuwaiti authorities finally arrived in Manila Friday noon, after days of “quiet negotiations” between the two countries’ high-level representatives.

The three diplomats were identified as Department of Foreign Affairs Executive Director for Migrant Affairs Office Raul Dado, welfare officers Francis Baquiran, and Mar Hassan.

Diplomatic sources said the three arrived at Friday noon and were accompanied on their flight home by Special Envoy Abdullah Mama-o and Philippine Embassy Charged Affaires’ Noordin Lomondot.

Shortly after their arrival, the diplomats were immediately whisked thru the tarmac of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and boarded on a waiting vehicle.

“Kuwait has requested for their low-key return,” the source told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.

The three diplomats who were originally sent by the DFA to Kuwait to assist in the repatriation of hundreds of undocumented Filipino workers, incurred the ire of the Kuwaiti government after they were implicated in the controversial rescue of alleged distressed OFWs.

The Kuwaiti government was reportedly infuriated by the circulation video footages of the rescue operation that were officially shared with the media by DFA Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato.

The video triggered a series of retaliatory actions from the Kuwaiti government, resulting to the expulsion of Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa, the arrest of four Embassy-hired Filipino drivers and the issuance of arrest warrants against Dado, Baquirin and Hassan.

Villa was the first Filipino career diplomat to be declared “persona non grata” by a foreign country.

The three diplomats are expected to appear before a Senate hearing next week to shed light on how a supposedly clandestine rescue mission was bungled by the release of the video footages.