Palace: Del Rosario may have misused a diplomatic passport
MANILA, Philippines — Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario “may have misused” his diplomatic passport when he traveled to Hong Kong, Malacañang said Friday.
Del Rosario was held at the Hong Kong International Airport on Friday morning. After six hours of questioning, he was barred from entering the Chinese special administrative region for yet unclear reasons.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo claimed that Del Rosario’s trip is “private in nature” and is not sanctioned by the Philippine government.
“Mr. Del Rosario may have misused a diplomatic passport in his travel to Hong Kong, a trip which is private in nature and is in no way related to government or foreign service,” Panelo said.
“As the country’s former Chief Diplomat, Mr. Del Rosario should have known or have been alerted to the proper use of diplomatic passports and other travel documents,” he added.
Del Rosario, with former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, filed a case against Chinese President Xi Jinping in the International Criminal Court (ICC) last March.
Morales went to Hong Kong for a vacation with her family last month but immigration authorities there barred her from entering the country for being a “security threat.”
Panelo also noted that Del Rosario should have ensured that the Chinese special administrative region “has no objection to his entry.”
He added that the Hong Kong government has the right to bar the entry of any foreign national to its territory.
“Be that as it may, the Philippine Government, through our consular office in Hong Kong, continues to provide assistance to Mr. Del Rosario, like all other Filipinos who may find themselves in distress abroad…” the Palace official said.
“Notwithstanding his penchant to capitalize and politicize issues related to PRRD’s (President Rodrigo Duterte) foreign policy towards China, he remains a Filipino citizen entitled to protection and assistance from the Philippine Government,” he added.
In a television interview earlier, Panelo also expressed doubt on the intention of Del Rosario in his Hong Kong trip. He said that considering what happened to Morales a month ago, the country’s former top diplomat should have expected the same reaction from Hong Kong authorities.
“Why does he have to go there? That’s my question to him,” Panelo said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
“Is it deliberate on his part, so that he will have the same situation where he can use it as a forum for his advocacy?” he asked. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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