Palace hits granting of political asylum to Filipino couple
Malacañang is “concerned” that the propaganda against President Rodrigo Duterte is being believed by the United States after a Filipino couple critical of the Chief Executive was granted political asylum.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the decision of San Francisco Immigration Judge Ila Deiss was “misplaced,” for granting asylum to Philippine-born couple Rene and Joy Flores for fear of persecution from the government if they are sent back to the country.
The Flores couple went to the United States in 2000 to visit relatives but was urged by relatives to stay there due to the political turmoil during the time of former president Joseph Estrada.
Filipino immigration lawyer Ted Laguatan said the Flores couple came to his office as US resident Donald Trump’s tightened rules on undocumented immigrants.
The couple has joined protests in the US against Duterte for the alleged extrajudicial killings and the war on drugs in the Philippines.
“You know, I have doubts on whether this couple is really an activist or one who joins protests for their political beliefs,” Panelo said.
“I think they were advised by lawyer to do things that would entitle them to immigration status,” he added. “I am thinking they may be joining the protest precisely for that purpose.”
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the couple “have to create condition so they can file petition for asylum and the court granted them that.
“Judge decision is misplaced. I think the judge was made to believe that there is widespread attack against journalists and human rights activists,” he said.
“These are the propaganda peddled by the opposition. Apparently because of the barrage of that kind of propaganda people of the US believe in that,” he added.
The Palace official said he is “concerned” that “a false propaganda against the administration is being believed.”
But he added that the government said it would not “affect the administration’s pursuit of the type of governance the President is pursuing.”
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