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Duterte didn’t expect Kuwait will expel PH envoy: Akala niya okay na- Bello

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President Rodrigo Duterte was surprised over Kuwait’s expulsion of Philippine ambassador Renato Villa following his meeting with Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh in Davao City earlier this week, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

In a press briefing in Singapore Friday (April 27), Bello said Althwaikh even asked him about the schedule for the signing of the agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait on the protection of Filipino workers after meeting with Duterte.

“He was surprised. Kasi after our Davao meeting, everything appeared to be alright,” he said.

“In fact, after our meeting in Davao, the ambassador… immediately asked me, when are you going to sign the MOU? And I said, very soon,” Bello added.

The Gulf state declared Villa a persona non grata and ordered him to leave the country a day after Cayetano apologized to Kuwait “for certain incidents that the Kuwaiti view as violation of their sovereignty.”

Kuwait was angered by the release of videos showing Philippine embassy officials rescuing a maid who was allegedly abused by her employer. It accused Manila of violating its sovereignty and laws by failing to coordinate with the police for the mission.

Aside from expelling Villa, Kuwait also recalled Althwaikh to assess the situation over the diplomatic row.

The Philippines and Kuwait was supposed to sign an agreement in May to protect Filipino workers against abuses, following the death of maid Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found inside a freezer in the Gulf state earlier this month.

Duterte has declared a deployment ban to Kuwait as a result of reports on abused Filipino workers.

Bello said he was also “very surprised” at Althwaikh’s recall because he was able to talk to the Kuwaiti envoy before he left for Singapore.

“Even before I left from Manila to Singapore, I had a quick conversation with the ambassador. And he again reiterated his eagerness for the signing of the MOU,” he said.