'Drunk' consul: Video doesn't tell whole story
MANILA, Philippines - He did help Ninoy Aquino secure a passport in the United States in 1983. Would this be enough to keep this consul out of trouble?
A Filipino consul general in Canada who appeared drunk in a video while talking to a passport applicant said the public should not "malign" him based on the recorded clip, which is posted on the popular video-sharing site Youtube.
Philippine consul general to Vancouver Jose Ampeso said the 28-second video, which showed him talking loudly to a Filipino about giving donations, "does not tell the whole story."
Nonetheless, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has already said they will ask Ampeso to come home and explain himself.
In a statement, Ampeso said: "In fact, the video alone is not sufficient to draw any reasonable conclusions from, one way or the other; hence, it is unfair and unjust to use it to malign my character."
Ampeso has personal ties with the family of President Benigno Aquino III. Like the late Ninoy Aquino, Ampeso is a member of the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity. Ampeso has also claimed he helped Aquino secure a passport before Aquino returned to Manila in August 1983. Ampeso was then a vice consul based in New Orleans.
In this article, Ampeso wrote: "Albeit flung in far-away New Orleans, I got a phone call one morning from Ninoy who said 'Joey, Brod, help me. I need to have a passport. I need to travel outside and I request that you help me.
"My immediate reaction that I relayed to Ninoy was: 'Senior Brod, I will act on your request. But could you somehow inform your batchmate, Brod Roque Ablan about this matter.'" (Ablan was a loyalist of Aquino's nemesis then, the late President Ferdinand Marcos.)
Aquino later got his passport. He travelled to Manila on Aug 21, 1983 but was shot dead at the airport, triggering mass protests that culimated in the 1986 EDSA revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship and catapulted his wife Corazon to the presidency.
Rappler tried to get Malacañang's comment on the issue, but we have yet to get a response from Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
The user who posted the video - greatauror28 - wrote in the video description: "Rude, arrogant, drunk consul. More fun in the Philippines!"
See the video here:
In the video, Ampeso could be heard saying in an irate manner, "Ano ba yung - ano yung compulsory? (What was compulsory?")
"Sabi ko kanina magbigay kayo sa puso mo," (What I said was you should give from the heart)" he said.
Greatauror28 - who is an OFW named Proceso Flordeliz Jr. - recalled what happened in a blog entry entitled "Phil Consul General Goes Amok!"
Flordeliz said he went to Sheraton Hotel, Red Deer in Alberta on April 19 to have his passport renewed. When he approached Ampeso, the latter allegedly approached him, grinning and reeking of alcohol: "Magdo-donate ka na ba? (Are you going to donate?)"
Flordeliz said no, adding he may do it next time. When he was called by Ampeso again, he was asked one more time if he's going to give money for the benefit of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC). Flordeliz said he asked jokingly if a dollar is enough, but this irked Ampeso, who allegedly called him "cheap" and threatened not to have his papers renewed.
Ampeso said he acted that way because he felt "insulted" and that he was "poked fun at" for requesting to make a donation to the PNRC. "That’s why I became so agitated while explaining to him that if he had to give anything at all, it has to come from the heart for the typhoon victims. It was purely voluntary."
"And definitely, it was not a requirement for passport application or rendition of any other consular services, contrary to what some allege. Thus, any allegation or insinuation that we were forcing people to give is entirely untrue."
Ampeso apologized, however. "I assure you that I had only the best intentions in reacting in that manner."
The Migrante partylist group asked President Aquino to order a probe on the incident. The group challenged him not to be influenced by personal ties.
This is not the first time that Ampeso found himself in hot water as a foreign service officer. In 1997, he was suspended for 6 months for misconduct.
The DFA investigating committee found out that Ampeso "took advantage" of his position and friendship with a Foreign Service employee based in Jakarta to buy a Range Rover - tax free. - Rappler.com