Ex-DFA chief Del Rosario: ‘Bottomline here is I was being harassed’
MANILA, Philippines — Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday said he felt that his rights were violated when immigration officers failed to give him a “good reason” on why he was denied entry to Hong Kong.
“I think clearly the bottomline here is I was being harassed,” Del Rosario told reporters moments after arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) following his 6-hour ordeal at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Asked if he thinks his rights were violated in this ordeal, the former top diplomat of the country answered: “I think they were. Absolutely.”
“Because if you’re gonna deny somebody entry, you better have a good reason and that reason was not forthcoming,” said Del Rosario, adding that Hong Kong authorities only said he would be denied entry due to “immigration reasons.”
Del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales earlier filed a communication against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC), asserting that China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea have been depriving Filipino fishermen of their livelihood, as it likewise foster aggression and environmental degradation in the area.
Morales, who welcomed Del Rosario at the Naia Terminal 3, also went through the same ordeal in Hong Kong last May 21.
Morales went to Hong Kong for a vacation with her family. But immigration authorities there barred her from entering the country for being a “security threat.”
Del Rosario believes that what happened to him in Hong Kong is a consequence of his and Carpio-Morales’ move to lodge a communication against the Chinese leader before the Hague-based court.
“The honorable ombudswoman here, she went to the same experience and the link to that experience—which turned out to be consequential to us—was the communication that we sent to the [ICC],” he said.
“The honorable ombudswoman nor I have had any problems with Hong Kong immigration in the past. Until we filed that case,” he added.
Meanwhile, Del Rosario noted that his experience was essentially different from that of the former ombudsman.
“Well, different circumstances. The honorable ombudswoman was traveling on a green passport where as I was traveling with a diplomatic passport,” he said, reacting to a statement made by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra that the lessons “derived” from Carpio-Morales’ previous ordeal in Hong Kong “should have been clear” to the former Cabinet secretary.
“So there’s an essential difference there already. But there is a link in terms of what happened to both of us. The link being we were the two who signed the submission to the ICC on the crimes against humanity,” Del Rosario added. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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