A Hong Kong lawmaker will raise the deportation of former Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario before the Hong Kong Legislative Council, calling it “unreasonable and barbaric.”
Like former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales a month earlier, Del Rosario was detained at the Hong Kong International Airport for hours on June 21
, with the immigration officers questioning him and refusing to allow him entry.
“I will formally question the government in the Legislative Council about the two Philippine cases,” legislator Ted Hui Chi-fung told CNN Philippines Sunday.
Hui said he believed Morales and Del Rosario were denied entry because they filed a complaint against Chinese President Xi Jinping
and other Chinese officials over China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea, saying they should be held liable for the near-permanent destruction of the environment that put the livelihood of Filipino fishermen at risk.
Under a new bill that would allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives to China, both Del Rosario and Morales could be accused of committing an offense in China, be arrested in Hong Kong, then sent to China for trial, Hui told CNN.
“The Hong Kong immigration has become totally controlled by Beijing, contrary to what is promised in the Hong Kong Basic Law. It appears that Hong Kong is no longer a free and open international city,” he added.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it was clear Del Rosario was barred from entering Hong Kong because he filed a case against the Chinese president.
“The issue was clear. You were barred entry because you fought their President. That’s very, very clear here. We don’t need to think of other reasons,” Sotto said in an interview over radio dzBB.
Traveling on a diplomatic passport, De Rosario was supposed to attend two business meetings on Friday in Hong Kong, but he was held for six hours at the airport before being denied entry.
Senator Leila de Lima said harassing and detaining Del Rosario showed how petty the Chinese government could be.
After decades of being exploited and subjugated by Europe at the turn of the 20th century and by Japan during World War II, China has finally found the economic and military power to flex its muscles against its less powerful neighbors, she said.
But mostly, she said, China has done so at the slightest of what it imagines to be provocations,
Sotto, meanwhile, dismissed Del Rosario’s use of a diplomatic passport, saying it should only be used on an official mission.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday it was cancelling diplomatic passports for former secretaries and ambassadors.
Del Rosario lamented the decision, saying the government should instead call out China’s disrespectful act toward him.