The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), reacting to the conviction of three Filipinos in Qatar for spying, on Monday said the Philippine government is not engaged in espionage.
“We categorically deny that we are engaged in espionage,” Charles Jose, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a text message.
Of the three Filipinos convicted of espionage, one was sentence to death. The two others were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Qatari lower court.
The three were proven to have provided information to intelligence officials in the Philippines “about Qatar’s aircraft, weaponry, maintenance and servicing records, as well as specific details about the names, ranks and phone numbers of staff members.”
A report by local Arabic paper Al Raya said the death sentence was handed out after it was proven that the Filipino provided classified military and economic information about the Qatar Armed Forces and a state-owned Qatari company to a second party in the Philippines in exchange for money.
Qatar officials have been investigating the Filipinos for three years. Their homes, offices and cars were searched.
The main defendant was accused of earning millions of riyals by providing information related to the Qatari air force, military base, types of weapons Qatar has, their maintenance and servicing, staff members, including their ranks and phone numbers, to a “senior Communications Intelligence official” in the Philippines.
The main defendant also allegedly leaked details about investment projects and future contracts of the Qatari company that he has been working for to other companies in his home country.
The Philippine government, Jose said, already raised the issue in several high-level meetings with Qatari officials.
The case is on appeal and officials of the Philippine Embassy in Qatar are communicating with the lawyer of the accused, as well as with their relatives.
“Our embassy in Doha has been tireless in its efforts to extend the necessary assistance to the Filipinos who are facing espionage charges in Qatar,” Jose said.
The mission is also working on regular jail visits of the relatives of the accused.
“We will continue to closely monitor this case and extend assistance to the accused Filipinos and their families,” Jose said.