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Vice Consul Monedero
Pinoys launch recall petition against Vice Consul Monedero accused of incompetence, failure to help OFWs

KUWAIT CITY, May 8: A number of Filipino organisations and individuals in Kuwait jointly launched a signature campaign as well as an online petition addressed to the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the Philippines to recall Philippine Vice Consul Sheila Monedero due to her alleged incompetence, failure to help Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait and act of putting some Filipinos in danger.

 In a two-page petition signed by almost 5,000 OFWs, they are appealing to DFA Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario to recall Monedero to the Philippines or reassign her to another post. Among the issues stated in the petition was the failure of Monedero to address the problem of the certificates of birth of children of OFWs who were born in Kuwait but whose birth records cannot be found in National Statistics Office (NSO) in the Philippines, leaving the parents with no choice but to reconstruct the report of birth of their children by submitting again all the needed documents to the Philippine Embassy.

 “This problem has been going on for a long time and instead of helping us, she even made things hard for us and we have to go through all the bureaucratic red tape. I have brought this problem to her office in 2011 but what did she do? Instead of helping us she drove us away from her office and shouted at me and my wife to get out of her office,” disclosed Rod Cerezo, a Filipino community leader and the President of the Philippine Amateur Basketball Association in Kuwait who was among those who signed the petition for Monedero’s recall.

He informed that he filed a complaint to the DFA in 2011 regarding the incident but nothing happened with his complaint. In an earlier interview with the Arab Times, Monedero vehemently denied Cerezo’s accusation that she drove them away from her office, claiming that Cerezo shouted at her and became unruly prompting her to send him and his wife out of her office.

  “I’m angry and sometimes you feel like losing your trust in the government. I filed that complaint against Monedero in 2011 and now, a lot of OFWs have come out with different complaints against her and she’s still here sitting at the embassy,” lamented Cerezo.

 One of the complaints also in the petition alleged that Monedero orchestrated the raid conducted by Kuwaiti police authorities last February in one of the gyms in Hawally where Filipinos hold sports tournament every Friday.  “It’s very clear that Sheila Monedero had a hand in that because she was the Charge d’ Affaires at that time on February 1, 2013. Who will write and inform the police authorities that there was a rally in the gym when in fact there was none? I told the police, see, you have basketball here and badminton there, people having coffee but no rally,” stated Cerezo, who holds his weekly basketball tournament in the gym. He alleged that Monedero signed the request to raid the gym because she suspected that a signature campaign against her was ongoing in the gym. “Who will sign that request letter addressed to the CID? She was the CDA at that time. We’re all shocked. The games stopped. Why would she put us all in danger when the embassy is supposed to protect its own nationals?” stressed Cerezo. He called on Monedero to step down from her post and not to wait for the results of the petition for recall by the Filipino Community. “To save her from further embarrassment and shame, before these thousands of signatures reach the hands of the Philippine government, I call on her to just resign,” stated Cerezo.

 Meanwhile, one of the signatories in the petition disclosed to the Arab Times on Wednesday, the alleged refusal of Monedero to see them in her office when they went to the embassy to seek advice and help. “I accompanied one of my friends who had a problem in renewing the passport. My friend has been paying karama already for 6 months due to a problem in the passport. I asked one of the embassy staff if we could see Vice Consul Monedero but they gave us a run-around. We went up and down, up and down of the embassy and finally when her secretary called her up if we could see her, she refused and we went home with no solution,” complained Maricel, not her real name, one of the Filipino community leaders. She cited that what Monedero did to them was very unprofessional and against the mandate of public service.

 “We just wanted to see her even for a few minutes. We have the right to ask. We want to know why the processing of my friend’s passport was delayed.  Why does it have a double application status? One more thing, why didn’t they not issue a transaction receipt to my friend? She should have a heart for the OFWs. If Monedero doesn’t want to help OFWs or even face us, then let her go home to the Philippines. We need someone at the embassy who can help us,” stated Maricel.

 Meanwhile, another Filipino also narrated to the Arab Times an experience similar to Maricel whereby Monedero allegedly refused to see him and his wife. “We went to the embassy at around 8am to get a Same Person Certificate for my wife. We already got that certificate last October but we need another original copy so we waited till 12 noon for the release but at around 11 am, I went to the counter and ask if I could see Vice Consul Monedero to request for a little consideration for the early release of the certificate so I can still report for work that day. Unfortunately, the Vice Consul refused to see me, so my wife and I were absent from work,” recounted Noel.  He pointed out that Monedero should face OFWs asking for help and give them due courtesy.

  “To Vice Consul Monedero, we have such a high respect for you. We’re all Filipinos here so please treat your fellow Filipinos appropriately. To the DFA, if it’s not too much to ask, please reassign Vice Consul Monedero somewhere else to give the embassy a fresh start and new environment with the arrival of the new Consul General so Filipinos will not be afraid to go to the embassy anymore,” he urged.
 The Arab Times tried to reach Monedero for comment but she refused to be interviewed. The Filipino community has already informed Charge d’ Affaires Atty Raul H Dado about the petition for Monedero’s recall.

 “We would have to look into the allegations and deputations of the complaints based on our rules, of the department and also based on the mandate given to us by our Secretary of Foreign Affairs and further witnesses would be able to explain and the respondent will be able to explain her side on this matter in the interest of justice and equity and to determine the truth of the matter,” stated Dado.


By: Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff

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