19 Filipinos held in Mexico for alleged drug violation

19 Filipino seafarers are currently held in Mexico for alleged illegal drugs violation, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

DFA assured that through the Philippine Embassy in Mexico it “is actively monitoring developments in light of the detention of the seafarers of Cypriot-flagged vessel UBC Savannah docked in Altamira Port in Mexico on 27 July 2019 due to alleged violations of the country’s illegal drug law.”

DFA said that onboard the vessel are 22 seafarers, 19 are Filipinos and three are Polish nationals.

“Embassy representatives were able to speak with seven of the Filipino seafarers currently detained for questioning. The group is generally in good spirits, and informed the Embassy representatives that their families have been informed of what happened,” DFA said.

“The Embassy is also in close coordination with both Mexican authorities and the law firm representing the ship’s crew. At this point, no formal charges have been filed against any seafarer,” it added.

DFA said that it stands ready to provide any form of assistance, including legal assistance if still necessary, to protect the Filipino seafarers’ right to be heard in court.

However, DFA said that should they be found to be guilty by the proper court of the charges against them, they have to face the legal consequences of their actions.

“The public is likewise reminded that the Philippine government, under the leadership of the President Rodrigo R. Duterte, expects all Filipinos to follow the laws of their countries of destination,” DFA said.