MANILA (UPDATE) - A Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) consular staff was removed from his post after disrespecting a journalist with polio, an official said Friday.
DFA Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato made the announcement on Twitter in reply to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Cato also assured that it would not happen again.
"Sir, the consular staff involved has been relieved of his duties. It was a very unfortunate incident indeed involving a media colleague with [email protected] will make sure this will not happen again," he said.
Locsin, meanwhile, issued an apology and said he was "at a total loss for words."
In an interview Saturday, Locsin said he believes the employee was not fired over the incident.
"Di naman siguro sinibak yun (I don't think he was sacked) but I think he apologized already but we certainly apologized," he told radio DZMM.
The journalist was identified as Manila Standard reporter Macon Ramos-Araneta, who shared the incident in a Facebook post, in which she said that the consular staff questioned the legitimacy of the photocopy of her Persons With Disability (PWD) ID and asked a security guard to check if she really has polio.
"I’m wrong for presenting only a xerox copy of my PWD ID, but I wasn’t lying when I told that f***ing s*** that I have polio. in the first place, why would I fake it, and why would you want to be a polio victim?" she wrote.
Ramos-Araneta said she promptly arrived at the DFA office at 6 a.m. in anticipation of long queues and was grateful for its courtesy area for senior citizens and PWDs until the encounter.