Thursday, March 19, 2009

Police Attaché in KSA

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
19 March 2009

Is Police Attaché in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
More Important then Legal Experts?

It was reported in the website of the Philippine Embassy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) that the Philippine Government has recently deployed a Police Attaché there together with an Administrative Assistant to combat transnational crime. May we ask, is this more important than deploying more legal experts/lawyers to the KSA to assist the numerous cases of stranded workers, abuses and those imprisoned?

P/SSupt. Jimmy L. Manabat arrived in the Kingdom on February 24, together with SPO4 Wendel D. Vergara. The Intelligence Group of the PNP is the unit that posts and manages police attachés and staff for foreign intelligence operations. It defines its mission as performing intelligence and counter-intelligence operations directed against individuals or organized groups engaged in subversion, insurgency and other forms of activities that are considered threats to national security. It builds intelligence networks against security threat groups and criminally.

Earlier on February 3, Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo filed House Bill 5657 that would want to expand the scope and upgrade the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) program to provide full legal assistance to migrant workers and overseas Filipinos in distress especially in the Middle East. One of the provisions of the bill is to deploy Legal Attachés to all Middle Eastern countries. Apparently this bill has not yet been acted upon.

From any angle legal attachés are more important than a police attaché especially in KSA. The government should also be taken to task and explain why there is a police attaché there given that this is directly under the guidance of the Intelligence Group of the PNP.

We are thus urging the Senate and Congress especially its labor and OFWs committees respectively to conduct in aid of investigation, if there is really a need to deploy a Police attaché, instead of Legal Experts to the KSA. It is a known fact that there are OFWs charged with crimes in the Kingdom but the government failed to provide any legal assistance to them like hiring a lawyer for their defense.

This investigation will challenge as to what will be the functions of a deployed Police attaché, and why only it has deployed them in Saudi, not in other Middle Eastern countries? Is Saudi now a haven for transnational criminals?

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