Manila - Manila demanded an explanation Thursday after its ambassador to Kuwait was expelled, shocking Philippine authorities and deepening a diplomatic row over the treatment of domestic workers in the Gulf state.
The two nations had been working to resolve differences sparked by the murder of a Philippine maid, whose body was found stuffed in her employer's freezer in Kuwait earlier this year.
But relations plunged after videos emerged last week of Philippine embassy staff helping Filipina workers flee from allegedly abusive employers, which Kuwait called a violation of its sovereignty.
Kuwaiti officials announced Wednesday they were expelling the Philippine ambassador Renato Villa and recalling their own envoy from Manila.
"President (Rodrigo Duterte) and everyone else was shocked at this development because the president's meeting with the Kuwaiti ambassador went well," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.