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Del Rosario should have expected to be denied entry into HK – Palace

Malacañang on Friday suggested that former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, who, along with former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales had accused China’s President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity over Beijing's activities in the South China Sea, should have expected to be denied entry into Hong Kong.

“I cannot also understand the good ambassador. Why? He knew from the very start that the Hong Kong authorities have detained former Ombudsman [Conchita Carpio] Morales. Of course, we can only speculate that it could have been in relation to the case filed against China,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

“But having said that, because if I were Del Rosario, I would have not gone to Hong Kong because I’m sure, I would have anticipated, that I would be going [through] the same ordeal like the former Ombudsman did. Now why did he go there? That’s my question to him.”

Panelo added, “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?”

The Palace spokesperson, who was speaking on CNN Philippines, said that if he were Del Rosario, he would first have written the Hong Kong authorities that he planned to go there.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Del Rosario should have learned from Morales’ experience.

Diplomatic passport

Del Rosario argued with Hong Kong immigration authorities that he was traveling on a diplomatic passport and that they had no right to hold him under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

But, as far as Panelo was concerned, that was neither here nor there.

“Alam mo kahit na may diplomatic passport ka, pag sinabi ng isang bansa na you are a security risk, wala iyong mga diploma-diplomatic passport na iyan. 'Di ba? Hindi naman natin na maku-kuwestyun,” the Palace spokesperson claimed.

He added one cannot question the right of a country to stop or to investigate any visitor wanting to enter that particular country.

“That’s their exclusive domain,” he argued. “That’s absolute authority for a particular country to deny entry to their country.”

Del Rosario has accused Hong Kong immigration authorities of harassment after he was barred from entering Hong Kong, being held by immigration authorities for six hours. He was supposed to attend a shareholders meeting as non-executive director of First Pacific Company Limited.

Morales, in a trip to Hong Kong with her family on May 21, was also held for several hours at immigration.

Unlike Del Rosario, Morales was given clearance to enter the Chinese territory, but she and her family opted to return to the Philippines. — Virgil Lopez/DVM, GMA News