• Melo Acuna

Envoy accused of sexual harassment

Former Philippine ambassador to S. Korea accused of sexual harassment

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs said the former ambassador to South Korea was accused last February of sexual harassment at his previous posting.

In a statement released to the media Saturday afternoon, the DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Seoul received the complaint while the ambassador was in Manila for official business. The DFA did not identify the official who was reported to have resigned from the diplomatic service last March 16.

The complaint was immediately referred by the Embassy to the home office which assigned the Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) to look into the allegations.

“Both the complainant and the Ambassador cooperated with the proceedings conducted by the investigating Committee,” according to the statement. It further said the Department is committed to ensuring that justice is rendered in this case as it remained committed to cultivating and preserving a work environment where all personnel are treated with respect and dignity, and free from harassment of any kind.

Yonhap reported that the former ambassador has been placed on Interpol’s wanted list in its news dated July 17.

The Korean news agency said the former ambassador, said to be in his late 60s, whose name remains withheld, was placed on the Red Notices where Interpol is requested to seek its member state’s cooperation in locating and arresting him.

Yonhap quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official in Seoul who said incidents related to foreign diplomats have been “sternly dealt with” but declined to provide details due to diplomatic relations with the Philippines.

Diplomatic sources disclosed technically the person involved is no longer an ambassador. In normal diplomatic practice, an accredited ambassador would not be ordered arrested and would at most be considered persona non grata and unless the sending country waives diplomatic immunity for the person to stand trial.

On the other hand, a source who used to work with the Interpol said being included in the Red Notices means every state signatory is expected to the help in the arrest of the subject person.

An Extradition Treaty between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of the Philippines was signed in Seoul last May 25,1993. It entered into force November 30,1996. It will be recalled then Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Miriam Defensor Santiago ratified Extradition Treaties with India, the United Kingdom and Spain. She said the Philippines has existing extradition treaties with Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Micronesia, Switzerland, the United States and South Korea in a news report published in one broadsheet dated March 5,2014. (Melo M. Acuña)



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