MANILA The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday night said no Filipinos were involved in any attempted kidnapping in Costa Rica, following reports that two Filipinos disguised as missionaries plotted an apparent kidnap in Alajuela province.
The DFA told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that there were two separate incidents involving Filipino missionaries of an international foundation based in Costa Rica, but none proceeded with the charging of a kidnapping case.
"Contrary to media reports, none of the Filipino missionaries have been charged with any crime, and none of them are currently detained," Philippine Embassy in Mexico and the Philippine Honorary Consul in San Jose, Costa Rica said in a statement, through the DFA-Office of Public Diplomacy.
The DFA said two Filipinos were detained in Cartago for lack of immigration documents on their person but were eventually released.
On the other hand, the second incident involved two Filipino women in Palmares, Alajuela caught on video holding the hand of a young boy.
Last week, local media reports tagged this as an attempted kidnapping incident.
DFA, however, said "recent information obtained from the foundation points to a misunderstanding with the mother of the young boy when the missionaries asked for donations."
The incident has sparked an uproar among Costa Ricans on social media, even as officials, after conducting a probe, assured that there were no kidnapping incidents.
Dennis Malabed, a Filipino expatriate in Costa Rica for 15 years, told the PNA that the news had somehow affected Filipinos living in the central American nation.
Initially I thought it was just an isolated case, but I kept seeing the news on TV and social media, and a couple of my Tico friends even forwarded to me some online news articles about a group of Filipinos allegedly abducting kids around Costa Rica," he said.
"It went out of control and I would see some threatening comments from Ticos on social media. A Filipina friend's child is being bullied in school since the allegations surfaced and gone out of control especially on social media," he added.
The DFA said the embassy and the honorary consul remain in close touch with the Filipinos involved in the incidents to ensure that they are provided with legal assistance should this be necessary.
It also reaffirmed that the government stands ready to assist them and other distressed Filipinos in the area who may be involved in similar situations. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency