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‘HK action deserves tit for tat from PH’

/ 05:36 AM June 24, 2019
‘HK action deserves tit for tat from PH’

DENIED ENTRY Del Rosario (third from left) with staff of the Philippine consulate at Hong Kong International Airport where he was held before being deported. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for a tit-for-tat action in response to his deportation from Hong Kong by detaining and expelling a Chinese diplomat.

‘Tantamount to disrespect’

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The country’s most prominent critic of China’s territorial grabbing in the West Philippine Sea said his denial of entry at the Hong Kong airport last Friday was tantamount to a “disrespect” of the Philippines since he was using a diplomatic passport at the time.

“My diplomatic passport carries the seal of the Republic of the Philippines. To show disrespect for the passport bearer is to disrespect the Republic,” Del Rosario said on Sunday.

“The matter then becomes a legitimate issue for the state to deal with and defend its seal … One option for us is to, in turn, consider detaining and deporting one diplomat from the responsible state,” he said.

“Will we be afraid to even think of this? Will we again be acquiescent?” he added.

Del Rosario said he went to Hong Kong, China’s special administrative region, to attend the shareholders meeting of First Pacific where he sits as a nonexecutive director.

But he was held at the airport upon arrival on Friday morning, and deported after six hours.

Case vs Chinese president

Del Rosario used a diplomatic passport for the business trip.

Barely a month ago, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was also barred entry from Hong Kong where she traveled with her family for a vacation.

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Del Rosario and Morales filed a case against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court on May 15, accusing the Chinese leader of crimes against humanity for dislocating Filipino fishermen who used to fish in the West Philippine Sea.

A day after Del Rosario’s deportation, the DFA canceled the courtesy diplomatic passports issued to former foreign secretaries and former ambassadors.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Sunday boasted that he never used his diplomatic passport “to make a political statement” even as he pointed out that the DFA could not be accused of singling out Del Rosario because it canceled all courtesy diplomatic passports.

“I didn’t use the privilege [of using a diplomatic passport] to make a political statement. Do you want me to single out exSfa (ex secretary of foreign affairs)?” Locsin said on Twitter on Sunday.

“Won’t single him out; it is all or no one of his category. That’s equal protection,” he added.

Why take back?

Del Rosario said he was baffled by the DFA’s order to cancel courtesy diplomatic passports.

“I would like to believe that  diplomatic passports were granted as a courtesy and as recognition for dedicated service to our country. A small thank you, it is, for our diplomatic warriors,” he said.

“For the likes of me, I cannot think of one good reason why this is happening. What is the real reason then for taking back what has already been given? What has changed in one long day?” he said.

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TAGS: Albert del Rosario, DFA, diplomatic passport, Hong Kong detention, Teodoro Locsin Jr
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