Three Philippine embassy personnel in Kuwait have been issued arrest warrants for kidnapping, despite being covered by diplomatic immunity, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said late Wednesday.
Cayetano confirmed the news as he welcomed Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa, who arrived in Manila following an expulsion order from the Gulf state a week ago.
Kuwait issued warrants of arrest against the embassy personnel and four other embassy hires for violation of its sovereignty over the rescue of abused Filipino workers from their employers’ homes.
Cayetano clarified that rescue missions were done in coordination with the Kuwaiti government and maintained that the diplomats committed no crime.
"It has been our argument from the start that there is no violation of any conventions, there was no crime,” he told local media.
Even as he expressed confidence that the two countries will resolve the dispute, Cayetano reiterated his apology for the “commotion” caused by the Filipino “spirit of protecting our nationals”.
"That's why out of the 38 rescues, 35 were coordinated, and the three we believed needed to be acted upon immediately, we did it ourselves, which is acceptable and is a duty under international law," he said.
Villa’s nearly three years of duty in Kuwait ended after he was declared persona non-grata by the Kuwaiti government.
Filipino workers in the Gulf state said that Villa became the “collateral damage” of the orders coming from Manila.
The controversial video of the embassy personnel, who "were deployed on the orders of Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano", was released to Philippine media and drew criticism over Cayetano’s “politicking”.
Cayetano, who is speculated to run for president in the next presidential election in 2022, dismissed the issue and said he would happily resign if President Rodrigo Duterte orders him to so do.
"If the president tells me to go, I will go happily, and I will continue to support him. If a majority in the Department of Foreign Affairs says we cannot follow you, I have no business being there," he said.
The Philippine-Kuwait diplomatic row surfaced over a string of deaths of Filipino workers in the Gulf state. The two countries were in talks on a memorandum of understanding on the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf state prior to Villa’s expulsion.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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