A Filipino ambassador and his wife were ordered to return to the Philippines after the latter was seen on a video campaigning for presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. before a crowd of overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Sunday, March 6, that Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto and his wife will be sent back to Manila the earliest possible time for "official consultation."
"Following the incident in Riyadh, Ambassador Alonto and Mrs. Alonto will be taking the earliest flight back to the Philippines after having been instructed by DFA to return to the country for official consultation," the DFA said.
(1/3) The DFA regularly reminds personnel here and at Foreign Service Posts on the prohibition against engagement, whether directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political activity.@teddyboylocsin— DFA Philippines (@DFAPHL) March 6, 2022
In a video circulating online, Alonto's wife was seen declaring her support for Marcos in the presidential race with posters of Marcos and running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as her backdrop.
"Hindi ko po hinihiling na suportahan n'yo yung kandidato ko kasi nasa sa inyo po yun (I am not asking you to also support my candidate because it's up to you). That is your right to choose the candidate that you would like to vote for," she said.
"Pero kung tatanungin n'yo po ako kung sino ang iboboto ko, e, nandito po, e, nakasulat sa t-shirt ko. Ngayon kung gusto ninyo akong samahan, nasa sa inyo po yun (But if you'd ask me who am I voting for, it's already here printed on my shirt)," she added.
"Please cast your vote. Do not waste this moment because this might just be the turning point so that we will have another Ilocano president," she went on.
This reached the DFA and prompted them to immediately order the return of the ambassador and his wife to the country as the engagement is prohibited under the Omnibus Election Code, the Overseas Voting Act of 2013, and the COMELEC-CSC Joint Circular No. 001, series of 2016.
The Foreign Affairs department, which is headed by Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, the main author and sponsor of Overseas Voting Act of 2013, also stressed that they do not condone such acts.
"The DFA regularly reminds personnel here and at Foreign Service Posts on the prohibition against engagement, whether directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political activity," the DFA said.