Gov't to probe alleged leak of Qatar state secrets to PH

by Aurea Calica, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 25 2014 11:29 AM | Updated as of May 25 2014 07:29 PM

MANILA - The government will look into allegations that state secrets of Qatar were passed to the Philippine government through three Filipinos, one of whom was sentenced to death.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio dzRB yesterday that the Department of National Defense (DND) would be the one to respond to the report.

The DND yesterday gave assurance that it would look into the case.

“Definitely we will look into this. But we could not issue any statement until we are fully aware of the case,” said DND spokesman Peter Paul Galvez.

The Armed Forces of the Philippine also declined to comment on the allegation, saying it is the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that has jurisdiction over cases involving overseas Filipino workers.

Valte said the government would help the OFW who was sentenced to death for espionage and economic sabotage in Qatar as well as the two others who were meted life sentences.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose did not identify the accused Filipinos but said the one sentenced to death was an employee of a state-owned company, while two others were technicians in a military base.

The three OFWs were accused of providing military and economic information to intelligence officials in the Philippines. These include data on Qatar’s aircraft, weaponry, maintenance and servicing records, and details about the names, ranks and phone numbers of staff members.

Reports said details about a major Qatari company’s investment projects and upcoming contracts were also leaked.

Jose said the sentences were handed down on April 20. “A lawyer assisted them throughout the lower court proceedings and the verdict was appealed before Qatar’s court of appeals last May 4,” he said.

“Normally, the DFA, through our embassy in that particular place, will make representation for or will...render legal assistance to lower the death sentence (so he will) not be executed,” Valte said.

The labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) yesterday urged the government to extend all help to the OFW who was sentenced to death.

Special team sought

In a text message, TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said the government should not waste time in getting the worker from the death chamber.

“We urge the Philippine government to set up a special team to exhaust all legal and diplomatic intervention toward saving our countrymen from high sentence,” he added.

Jose said “our embassy will continue to extend assistance to them as long as necessary.”

The STAR tried to get the side of the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

But key officials of these agencies were attending the 7th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers in Kuwait. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Jaime Laude