Bayan, Diokno slam China’s treatment of ex-Ombudsman Carpio-Morales
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the opposition have denounced the treatment by Chinese immigration officials of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who was denied entry into Hong Kong for supposedly being a “security threat.”
In separate statements on Wednesday, both Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary-General Renato Reyes and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno have insisted that the move was China’s response to Morales’ stand on the West Philippine Sea issue.
“We stand with former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. The incident in Hong Kong shows a heavy-handed response from China […] What happened was clearly in retaliation for the former official’s case brought before the ICC regarding the West Philippine Sea,” Reyes said in a message to reporters.
“The Chinese immigration authorities’ treatment of retired Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales is deplorable and totally without basis […] Our Department of Foreign Affairs should take immediate steps to protest Justice Carpio-Morales’ treatment by the Chinese immigration authorities,” Diokno added.
Morales was supposed to go spend vacation in Hong Kong with her husband, children and grandchildren. They arrived at the airport at 12:20 p.m. of Tuesday, but the former Supreme Court justice was stopped by immigration officers, according to her lawyer Anne Marie Corominas.
“They said she was a security risk. But how can a 78-year-old former anti-corruption official, with a pristine 52-year public service record, be a security threat or risk to them?” Corominas said.
Morales was eventually allowed entry into Hong Kong, but she and her family opted just to return to the Philippines on Monday night.
Both Reyes and Diokno also agreed that Carpio, who had earlier filed a case against Chinese President Xi Jingping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, is not a security threat to China.
“Carpio-Morales is obviously no security threat. Neither is she an undesirable foreigner. It appears to be a warning to other critics of China’s illegal activities in the region,” Reyes explained.
“Justice Carpio-Morales does not pose a security risk to China. The fact that she and Ambassador Albert deI Rosario sought the intervention of the ICC does not make her a security risk. One is not a security risk just because she is exercising her right, under international law, to seek the relief from an international court,” Diokno added.
Last March 21, Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario filed a communication before the ICC, based on claims that hundreds of Filipinos fisherfolk have been “persecuted and injured” by China’s aggressive occupation of islands in the disputed West Philippine Sea region. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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