Friday, October 22, 2021

Gullas calls on CA to improve vetting of ambassadors

FOLLOWING the involvement of two envoys in scandals abroad, the Commission on Appointments (CA) may find ways to strengthen its screening of the country’s future ambassadors, Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said on Sunday.

“The CA, if it wants to, can put ambassadorial nominees under a more powerful microscope, considering that they are supposed to represent our country abroad and their actions overseas reflect on us,” Gullas said.

“The CA is highly capable of performing more extensive background checks on nominees—well beyond just scratching the surface of their credentials,” Gullas pointed out.

Gullas previously served as CA vice chairperson and head of the 12-member House contingent to the bicameral appointments body.

The CA’s Appointments Review and Investigation Service (Aris) can conduct deeper inquiries into the personal history and circumstances of nominees, besides looking into their experience, education and training, according to Gullas.

“The Aris generates an individual investigation report (on every nominee) that is given to CA members prior to committee hearings,” Gullas said.

The country’s supply of ambassadors comes from career diplomats as well as political appointees, Gullas said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month dismissed from service the country’s ambassador to Brazil, Marichu Mauro, after she was caught on video repeatedly physically abusing her Filipina household helper.

Brazilian TV news channel GloboNews broadcast the raw footage of the abuse that was obtained from security cameras at the Philippine ambassador’s official residence in Brasilia.

Mauro’s appointment as ambassador to Brazil, with concurrent jurisdiction over Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela, was confirmed by the CA in February 2018.

A career diplomat, Mauro joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1996.

Meanwhile, the Philippine ambassador to South Korea, Noe Wong, was forced to resign in March last year after he was accused of sexual harassment by a South Korean woman in her early 30s.

Upon the request of the Korean National Police Agency, the Interpol has issued a Red Notice for Wong.

A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action.

Wong’s appointment as ambassador to Seoul was confirmed by the CA in February 2019.

Wong was first appointed as ambassador to Cambodia by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was reappointed to the same post by President Benigno Aquino III.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1975, Wong served as an aide to Juan Ponce Enrile at the Ministry of National Defense during the Marcos regime. (PR)


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