Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto and his wife are now under investigation by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after the ambassador’s wife allegedly campaigning for presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in front of Filipino workers there.
DFA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Cultural Diplomacy Gonar Musor said Alonto has been ordered to come home to the Philippines for “home office consultations.
“In the meantime the DFA is investigating the incident in Riyadh, and Ambassador Alonto has been instructed to return to the Philippines for home office consultations,” he said.
“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,” he added.
The DFA said that it “does not condone acts that go against” the Omnibus Election Code, the Overseas Voting Act of 2013 and the Commission on Elections-Civil Service Commission Joint Circular No. 001, series of 2016.
In the viral video, Alonto’s wife was donning a red t-shirt with the initials of Marcos as she talked in front of the people. Campaign posters for Marcos and his running mate Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio were also posted behind her.
Alonto’s wife defended herself by saying that she wasn’t influencing the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia to vote for Marcos. She explained that she was just encouraging them to vote in the elections.
“Hindi po naman ako nagpunta dito para yakagin kayo na iboto niyo ang kandidato ko. Ang hihilingin ko lang sa inyo—hindi ko alam kung ilan sa inyo ang registered voters—hihilingin ko lang sa inyo na sana, please go out and cast your votes para hindi masayang,” she said.
“Hindi ko po hinihiling na isuporta niyo ‘yung kandidato ko kasi nasa sa inyo po iyon. That is your right to choose the candidates you’d like to vote for. Pero kung tatanungin niyo po ako kung sino ang iboboto ko, nandito po eh, nakasulat sa t-shirt ko. Eh kung gusto niyo akong samahan, nasa sa inyo po iyon,” she added. Ronald Espartinez