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Pinoy Abroad

Pinoy protesters in Greece demand ouster of envoy

Filipinos in Greece staged a protest in front of the Philippine Embassy in Athens on Sunday to demand the removal of Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao, whom they accused of dismal performance and a lavish lifestyle. Reached by phone in Athens, Tiglao declined to comment on the allegations of the protesters, saying he was on leave and the matter was “sensitive." In a news release, the Athens-based Filipino organization Kasapi Hellas urged President Benigno Aquino III not to re-appoint Tiglao. “(Tiglao) has nothing to show in terms of performance after more than four years… (He) has overstayed his ‘tourist visa’ in Greece and must go home immediately," the group said. In the brief telephone interview with GMANews.TV, however, Tiglao dismissed the protesters as a “small group" that had no permit to stage a picket and refused to answer further questions. The Department of Foreign Affairs also withheld comment on the protest action. A political appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose term ended last June 30, Tiglao managed to hold on to his post after President Aquino extended the terms of ambassadors for three months, or at least until September 30. In their statement, Kasapi-Hellas said, “Filipinos are strongly concerned that, despite the lapse of extension of three months for political appointees, Mr. Tiglao is exerting his influence within the Aquino administration for his re-appointment as ambassador to Greece." A former journalist, Tiglao has served as ambassador to Greece and Cyprus since 2005. Before his foreign posting, he served as Presidential Spokesperson, Press Secretary, Chief of Staff and head of the Presidential Management Staff of Mrs. Arroyo. The protesters accused Tiglao of renting a lavish house and claimed that Tiglao has been spotted touring the islands of Greece. The picket ended after Charge d’Affaires Constancio Vingno talked to the group and promised to bring their demands to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo. - Jerrie Abella/YA, GMANews.TV