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EU relents, won’t protest over PES official’s case

THE European Union (EU) said Thursday it has already met with Foreign Affairs officials to seek clarification of the government’s move to deny entry into the country for EU political party official Giacomo Filibeck.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said the regional bloc respects the decision of the Philippines tto accept or deny entry of any person.

“Of course we are aware of the case and we have been askiang for clarification on that and we are in the process of getting that clarification and we will see how we will take that forward,” Jessen told the reporters on the sidelines of Viva Europa 2018 press conference.

On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that foreign nationals who join political rallies such as those that would advocate for or against President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war will be banned or asked to leave the country.

“Of course it’s the right of the country. A country can always accept or refuse entry of a person, that’s of course their sovereignty rights so that’s not really the issue for me,” Jessen said.

“The issue is more of we are friends. We do have a partnership and cooperation agreement and that means we have at all different levels a very active exchange of ideas and view at all different levels. And that of course is important for me,” he said.

There are 13 major organizations, including the PES, that have been legally recognized by the EU as political parties at the European level.

However there are more political parties that have been formed from the 28 member-countries of the EU.

Jessen said he is not keen to file a diplomatic protest over the incident.

“Right now we are simply looking at what happened and they are trying to understand that. We had a meeting with the DFA a couple of days ago and asked for clarification and we are now going through with that process,” he said.

In the Palace, presidential spokesman Harry Roque denied there was a crackdown on foreigners that support leftist groups, following the brief arrest and detention of the 71-year-old Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox on Tuesday.

“Any political activity by foreigners, whether they support or not, is banned under the immigration law,” Roque said.

He said they are in the Philippines “because of our consent for them to be here, but they are not allowed to engage in any political activity.”

Roque said the nun was released because she was not caught in the act of participating in a political protest, and she was not subjected to summary deportation since the missionary was not caught in the act of violating the law.

The Palace officials also defended President Duterte’s remarks that he had ordered Fox investigated but not arrested.

While he admitted that he said “apology was in order”, this does not mean the Palace or the President will be the one to apologize.

“The President was clear, he did not order a summary deportation- I hope you heard that – he ordered the investigation. And of course, the President and I remain united in our common stand that foreigners should not be engaged in any political activity,” the Palace official said.

Roque admitted that it was a mistake to arrest the 71-year-old Cathoic nun.

Topics: European Union , Foreign Affairs , Giacomo Filibeck , Franz Jessen , Viva Europa 2018 , Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano
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