It was late last night when I learned that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was finally forced by the fame whoring blunder committed by Thinking Pinoy RJ Nieto to appeal to 262,000 Filipino OFWs in Kuwait to leave their jobs and come home.
In a series of posts, Nieto admits to having uploaded and shared on his Facebook page the controversial video of Filipino officials said to be whisking away a reportedly distressed OFW.
Having been known to brag that his Facebook page Thinking Pinoy reaches more people than Philippine Star and other Philippine news websites, it is very certain that the Kuwaiti government had seen the rescue video on his page.
Nieto’s video provided the Kuwaiti government basis to hand Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa two notes of protest and expel him from their country as well as to order their ambassador to the Philippines to return to Kuwait.
This also put on hold a Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippines and Kuwait which would have helped assure the safety and well being of 262,000 OFWs.
As of this writing, Nieto continues to be unapologetic for forcing Duterte’s hand into making a move that may plunge 262,000 Filipino families into poverty and insists that only DFA officials be held accountable for uploading the controversial rescue video.
In a post on Thinking Pinoy, Nieto lays blame on OUMWA Executive Director Raul Dado and DFA Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy Elmer Cato for uploading and sharing the video on their Facebook accounts.
A friend who has been with the DFA for a number of years tells me that he finds it very unlikely that Dado and Cato would have, ON THEIR OWN ACCORD, uploaded and shared the incriminating video of Filipino DFA personnel stealing away an OFW unescorted by Kuwaiti authorities.
Being officials of the DFA, my friend says it is expected of them to know and abide by the laws and customs of their host country. They should have known that their “rescue” of an OFW didn’t strictly conform with the legal requirements for such acts — one being the need to be escorted by Kuwaiti authorities.
Which leads me to ask, was the OFW in such dire peril that DFA personnel had no choice but the effect a rescue without Kuwaiti escorts? Or was pressure brought upon them to effect a rescue that could be documented and then shown as part of a publicity ploy?
My friend at the DFA says after years of working in a bureaucracy, he knows well enough that Dado and Cato would have first gotten approval for their actions from their higher ups.
He says that Dado would have checked for approval with OUMWA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola before uploading the incriminating video. He is not sure if Cato reports to Arriola or directly to Foreign Secretary Cayetano, but he thinks it is safe to assume that he also got approval from Usec. Arriola.
Thing is, Arriola was in Kuwait when the OFW rescue was done. Several reports from ABS-CBN place Arriola in that country on March 30 and April 21, 2018.
In a report titled “PH envoy summoned over video showing extraction of maids from Kuwaiti homes”, Arriola and her team was reported to have arrived in Kuwait on Friday to oversee and assist the Philippine Embassy in the repatriation of undocumented overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait who received amnesty from the Kuwait government.
Moreover, in the same report, it is said that the “embassy led by Villa is coordinating with Kuwaiti authorities for the preparation of the upcoming visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Kuwait, which will likely happen after the Holy Month of Ramadan sometime in June.”
These facts as well as Nieto’s assertion that the DFA is to be blamed for the rescue video fiasco makes it seem that Nieto is saying that Arriola had the rescue video released as a ploy that would have helped dramatize and publicize Arriola’s repatriation of undocumented overseas Filipino workers.
Thing is, many people have told me of Usec. Arriola’s close association with Nieto and more than three separate sources have told me that she provides Nieto with an allowance from Arriola in exchange for his services.
What Nieto said about the DFA being culpable for the rescue video fiasco seems to suggest that Arriola:
- Ordered the rescue of an OFW
- Ordered that video be taken of said rescue
- Ordered the Cato and Dado upload the rescue video on Facebook
- Ordered her assistant Drei Natabio to upload and share the rescue video on his Facebook account
- Ordered the release of the rescue video to a viber group of journalists covering the DFA
Thing is, I’ve seen Nieto falsely accuse a number of officials and asked for their resignation or dismissal by the president. I wouldn’t be surprised if he asked for Arriola’s dismissal just to cover for his complicity in the rescue video fiasco that heavily damaged Philippine relations with Kuwait and threatens to render 262,000 OFWs in Kuwait jobless for an undeterminable period of time..