The July 4th Knucklehead Marathon Part Twenty-Six
You'd think this marathon would be over. Not yet, I'm getting a second wind!
Our twenty-sixth winner is Philippine Ambassador to South Korea, Susan Castrence. She gets the award for the following.
After initially insisting "the published allegations are unfounded" and demanding a retraction, the Philippine mission to Seoul has admitted Manila's top diplomat here was in fact stopped by store security personnel at the Post Exchange (PX) on the Yongsan U.S. military base and accused of shoplifting.An ambassador doesn't fit the profile of a thief. Except if we're talking some former Philippine politician, most of them will steal anything.
Ambassador Susan Castrence was responding to an article published in The Korea Herald on June 18 that reported a high-ranking Philippine diplomat had allegedly shoplifted from the American military base in Seoul.
According to her press statement, in November 2006 she went into the PX to shop for Christmas presents for her staff and grandchild.She committed theft and got caught. So what is the ambassador and her supporters doing? Blaming the Korean press!
She had taken with her a karaoke microphone chip (that she said was purchased earlier at the PX) to use as a reference for a further purchase. After examining another chip at the store, Castrence decided against a purchase "because it did not contain children's songs." She returned the original chip to her bag.
The statement continued to say the ambassador then went to the store’s perfume department, where she tried some Gucci perfume but found it too expensive and returned it to the counter. As Castrence attempted to leave the store she was stopped by security officers who inspected her bag and found the chip she had brought with her.
But the incident does not appear to have been as simple as the ambassador stated. The Provost Marshal’s record indicates that on Nov. 28, 2006, Castrence was suspected of shoplifting a karaoke microphone chip and a bottle of Gucci perfume worth $118.60.
When asked why the authorities would fill out a shoplifting report if the incident was in fact closed on the spot, Castrence declined to offer any further information.
The story was picked up by media in Manila, and on June 28 the Philippine Star reported, "A Filipino diplomat, who asked not to be named, said the report (in The Korea Herald) was 'fabricated' and was part of a campaign to put the Philippine Embassy and officials of the diplomatic mission in a bad light."ROK Drop has an excellent post on this news. Marmot's hole is commenting too. For being another disgrace to the Philippine people and blaming others, Ambassador Susan Castrence is our twenty-sixth Knucklehead of the Day.
Responding to the original article and the subsequent reports in the Philippines, Castrence told senior editors of The Korea Herald in an interview: "This story really broke my heart. I started working when I was 18 years old, and served for 46 years with no blemish on my record."
Castrence criticized The Korea Herald for failing to check the facts before publishing the story: "You should have talked to me before you published that article. I am supposedly a very accessible person here. If you had talked to me, as I would have expected a reporter would do before publishing such a damaging story, I would have appreciated that. But, as far as I am concerned, there was no effort to reach me."