Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who has sued Chinese President Xi Jinping and later denied entry Tuesday into China’s administrative region of Hong Kong, claimed her phones were “hacked,” according to a report on Super Radyo dzBB, beamed nationwide.
“My telephones are hacked that is why I am paranoid,” the 78-year-old Morales told reporters on her arrival back Tuesday night.
In the Senate, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros Wednesday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to protest the Chinese government’s four-hour holding of Morales at a Hong Kong airport.
She said the act was a clear act of intimidation and retaliation for Morales’ filing charges against the Chinese government before the International Criminal Court regarding its alleged crimes against humanity in the West Philippine Sea.
“I challenge President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to defend one of the country’s most accomplished public servants and bring this directly to the Chinese government, lest it be accused of siding with China against one of our country’s own citizens,” Hontiveros said.
The former Ombudsman, whose younger brother Lucas Carpio Jr. is the father-in-law of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, went to Hong Kong to bring her grandchildren to Disneyland.
Aside from her grandchildren, she was with her husband, son, and daughter-in-law.
Morales and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario have filed a complaint against Xi before the International Criminal Court in connection with China’s activities in Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.
Morales told reporters she believed she was under the surveillance of China and described the incident in Hong Kong as “bullying” since Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China.
As this developed, Senator Panfilo Lacson said as a general principle, a visa was a matter of privilege, not a right.
He noted that it was the prerogative of the issuing country to accept or deny the entry of a visitor.
“What remains as the right of the visitor being denied entry is to invoke due process in questioning such denial, which in ex-Ombudsman Morales’ case, she chose not to avail,” he said.
He said the incident, however, did not take away anything from her the grace under pressure and dignity as a freedom-loving Filipino who vowed to continue even with greater vigor and determination what she and ex Secretary Albert del Rosario had started. “We can only wish the two patriots had more tomorrows than yesterdays, or at least live much, much longer to do even more for our country.”
Hontiveros said that the Chinese government’s denial of entry to Morales was “ludicrous.”
She said: “Bullying a 78-year-old former public servant who is known for her sterling public service record is ludicrous.
“I call on the Chinese government to explain why it held for four hours without any explanation a former high-ranking Philippine government official and a senior citizen who simply went to Hong Kong with her grandchildren to have a vacation.”
Hontiveros said the Chinese government’s action against Morales, whom she said was leading the fight in holding China accountable for the massive environmental damage it has caused and continues to cause in the West Philippine Sea, clearly showed that its intentions were far from friendly.
The senator feared that without a strong and definitive stand from the Philippine government, the incident could happen again to other Filipino citizens critical of China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
“The Duterte government must see to it that our citizens are not intimidated and shabbily treated by foreign governments for simply voicing out their opposition to our neighbor-states’ actions that tend to undermine our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Hontiveros.
READ: Morales denied entry into Hong KongREAD: Two former Philippine officials sue China leader before ICC
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