Palace: Del Rosario ‘created his own problem, his own mess’
MANILA, Philippines — Former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Del Rosario “created his own problem,” Malacañang said Tuesday, days after he was denied entry to Hong Kong where he was supposed to attend business meetings last week.
Following Del Rosario’s six-hour ordeal at the Hong Kong International Airport, DFA subsequently canceled diplomatic passports of ex-foreign affairs secretaries and ambassadors.
“The problem there is the former Secretary of Foreign Affairs created his own problem, his own mess,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
On June 21, Del Rosario was held and questioned for six hours at HKIA before immigration authorities finally barred him from entering China’s special administrative region.
Almost a month prior, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also experienced a similar ordeal – stopped and held at HKIA for four hours. Hong Kong immigration said Morales was barred from entering Hong Kong for “security reasons.” While she was eventually allowed to proceed, Morales decided to just go home to Manila canceling her vacation plans with her grandchildren.
“He knew from the very start that there was something wrong in going there given the incident involving the former Ombudsman Chief Morales,” Panelo said.
According to Panelo, the “DFA certainly would have made communications with the Chinese Government or the Hong Kong authorities if it’s alright for him to enter Hong Kong” but Del Rosario did not wait for it.
“What he could have done – or according to him he did it – was to write the DFA and told DFA of his intention. But the problem is he did not wait for the response of the DFA,” Panelo claimed.
In March, Del Rosario and Morales filed a communication before the International Criminal Court alleging Chinese President Xi Jinping might have committed crimes against humanity because of China’s illegal activities in the disputed waters of South China Sea.
On the cancelation of Del Rosario’s diplomatic passport, Panelo, who is also President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said it was not illegal.
“Eh, kung courtesy lang ‘yun o eh ‘di ibig sabihin that’s subject to recall anytime by the issuing authority. Sinasabi niya illegal, how can that be illegal?” he said.
Del Rosario said Monday that revoking courtesy diplomatic passports of former foreign affairs secretaries and diplomats is “illegal” and “unlawful.”
The ex-top diplomat of the country pointed out that the latest department order revoking all diplomatic passports issued to former DFA chiefs and ambassadors “cannot supersede the [Philippine] Passport Act” as it “has to go through Congress for approval.”
Del Rosario argued that under the Philippine Passport Act, former AEPs (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary) “had been granted the privileges of a diplomatic passport, this is a part of the [Philippine] Passport Act and it constitutes the law of the land.” (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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