MANILA -- Malacañang on Thursday said there is no need to file a protest against Hong Kong over how their immigration officials treated former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales when she was temporarily denied entry at the airport for allegedly being a “security threat.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark following a call made my Sen. Risa Hontiveros to protest what she described as “retaliation” against the former government official.
Panelo said that although some sectors were expecting the Palace to condemn how Morales was treated, the Philippine government respected Hong Kong’s immigration laws and would only protest if she was mistreated.
“Ang gusto yata ng iba bumanat tayo but you know, tinanong ko si ano (Morales) kumusta naman yung trato sa iyo, kung binastos siya, kung ministreat siya, ay hindi pupuwede sa ’tin yan (Some sectors want us to condemn the way she was treated but when I asked Morales how was she treated, because if she was mistreated, we can’t accept that) we will definitely protest,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“Pero hindi naman. Tinanong lang siya pero wala naman siyang reklamo na binastos siya (But she wasn’t mistreated. She was only questioned but she didn’t complain about being mistreated),” he added.
On March 13 this year, Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Chinese President Xi Jinping for alleged crimes against humanity in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Morales was eventually allowed to enter Hong Kong hours after she was questioned at the airport, but she chose to return to the Philippines instead.
Panelo, who got to speak to Morales over the phone, said the former Ombudsman simply said that she was annoyed because her plans for her family were ruined.
“Pinayagan naman siya, ayaw niya na lang, nainis lang siya (She was eventually allowed to enter Hong Kong, it’s just that she no longer wanted to. She got annoyed),” Panelo said.
The Presidential Spokesperson maintained that the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Consulate General in Hong Kong, has given Morales full assistance the same way it assisted every Filipino in distress abroad.
“We said that we will be providing government assistance to all those in need abroad and the first thing that I did when I heard about it coming from some of you, I called up the former Ombudsman and we talked on the phone,” Panelo said.
Morales and her family returned to the Philippines Tuesday night saying she decided to go back home because the spirits of her family had already been “broken.” (PNA)