PH not engaged in espionage, says DFA

By Pia Lee-Brago, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 27 2014 09:51 AM | Updated as of May 27 2014 05:51 PM

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) denied yesterday that the Philippines is engaged in espionage even as the Philippine embassy in Doha has made representations with the Qatari government following the conviction of three Filipino workers for espionage and economic sabotage.

“We categorically deny that we are engaged in espionage,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message to reporters.

The lower court verdict was appealed before the Qatari Court of Appeals last May 4.

“We are appealing the case before the Court of Appeals. Our embassy in Doha has made representation with Qatari government,” he said.

One of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) was sentenced to death last month while two others were meted life imprisonment for espionage and economic sabotage in Qatar.

The DFA did not identify the accused Filipinos but said the one sentenced to death was an employee of a state-owned company and the two others were technicians in a military base.

The Doha News said the Filipinos were reportedly accused of providing information to intelligence officials in the Philippines about Qatar’s aircraft, weaponry, maintenance and servicing records, as well as specific details about the names, ranks and phone numbers of staff members.

Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Crescente Relacion said the charges against the Filipino worker who was handed the death penalty stemmed from a corruption case supposedly involving his employer.

He said investigators found information in the Filipino’s laptop that may be used for their case.

Co-workers of the Filipino who was sentenced to death, however, refuted reports that the Filipino passed information about the Qatar military to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and to a military official in the Philippines.