Press Release
February 21, 2018


The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday deferred the confirmation of Ambassador Manuel Teehankee as the country's permanent representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland upon the motion of Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Hontiveros cited Teehankee's conviction of "Usury" by the Geneva Police Court having been found guilty of paying his Filipino domestic worker a measly 12% of Geneva's minimum wage. The Senator from Akbayan asked for clarification from Teehankee on reports submitted by the Geneva Forum on Philippine Concerns, a non-government organization for migrants, which wrote the Senator to inform her of the case. The letter stated that the nominee refused to pay overtime benefits to his former employee, while making her work very long hours. The CA's own profile and investigation report also mentioned the said case. According to the NGO, Teehankee did not appeal the decision and was sentenced to 60 days on probation and fined 400 Swiss francs in 2014.

Hontiveros made the motion to defer in order to give all the members time to study the points raised by the Geneva based NGO during today's hearing that confirmed some ambassadors under the Department of Foreign Affairs and some ad interim appointments of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It will be recalled that the government has implemented a ban on OFW deployment to Kuwait because of the failure to institute measures to protect our overseas workers.

"While the government has taken steps to protect our OFWs from abuse, here we are considering a go-signal to the deployment of a Philippine representative who was found guilty of a crime that violated an OFW's rights," she said in a statement. "I'd like the members of the CA to thoroughly study this case involving Ambassador Teehankee and give ample time to study this complaint from our OFWs in Geneva," urged Hontiveros.

"We are duty-bound to uphold no less than the security and welfare of our overseas Filipinos," she concluded.

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