No reply to Argentine apology over attack

DFA wants a response to its diplomatic protest from the Argentine government itself, not only from the South American country's envoy to the Philippines.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has deferred action on the apology of the Argentine ambassador to the Philippines about the attack on Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero in Argentina, DFA’s spokesperson said Thursday, February 16.

“The apology was in the name of the embassy and it was not coming yet from the government of Argentina,” said DFA spokesperson Usec Raul Hernandez in a phone interview.

The Argentine ambassador to the Philippines, Joaquin Daniel Otero Jr, has issued an apology about the incident that took place last week.

Hernandez said that in the apology, Otero said Argentina does not support violence nor the riots, and the attack on Casimero “does not represent the kind of relationship (they) have with the Philippines.”

In its diplomatic protest, the Philippine government made the following points, according to Hernandez: 

  • the Philippines is protesting the attack;
  • the incident has endangered the safety and welfare of Casimero and his team;
  • the Philippines sees this incident with “serious concern”; and
  • the Philippines wants to get an explanation from the Argentine government regarding the incident, and to know the actions that the South American country intends to take

The attack on Casimero took place after his victory over Argentine national Luiz Lazarte in Buenos Aires last Saturday, February 11. Lazarte’s supporters then began to throw debris, including chairs and bottles, inside the ring.

Casimero escaped unharmed but some members of his team sustained injuries.

‘Outrage’ from solons

The attack on Casimiro has outraged Philippine senators.  

“Will we settle for this kind of bullying to Filipinos?” said Sen Vicente Sotto III in a privilege speech. “We must condemn in the strongest possible terms this attack on a Filipino sports hero and the entire Philippine delegation.”

Sotto noted the long hours of physical training that Filipino boxers endure, as well as the risks they take for the popular sport.

“They are not just competing for themselves; they are competing for the country’s honor and pride. An insult to the Filipino contingent is an insult to our country,” Sotto said.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, for his part, described the incident as a “sordid and unfortunate incident where our flag was actually dishonored.”

Sen Loren Legarda, however, clarified that the Philippines is not severing ties with Argentina due to the incident.

Diplomatic relations

The Philippines has been trying to strengthen its diplomatic relations with Argentina, now in its 64th year.

In June 2011, the Philippines “revitalized relations” with Argentina through its first bilateral consultation mechanism with the South American country.

Two months later, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario signed with his Argentine counterpart a Technical Cooperation Agreement to bring bilateral relations “to a higher level by strengthening cooperation in areas such as agriculture, renewable energy, and biotechnology.” – Rappler.com

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