Roque on deported EU pol party official: We don't want him in our territory

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — Malacañang on Monday defended the detention and deportation of an official of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said according to international law, it is up to the country if it will allow PES Deputy Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck in the territory.

"We are not obliged to allow anyone into our territory if we do not want them in our territory and fortunately, the socialist leader was one of those that we determined as a person that we don't want to be in our territory," Roque said.

The Akbayan party-list said in a statement Filibeck, who was supposed to join the Akbayan Party-list Congress as a guest of honor, was detained at the Cebu airport and immediately deported last Sunday.

Roque, however, said the administration was just practicing its sovereignty.

"There is no rule under international law that will compel us to admit anyone whom we do not want to admit in our territory. That's the exercise of sovereignty," he said.

Newly-appointed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra backed Roque's remark, saying, "It is unlawful for aliens staying in our country to engage in partisan political activities, and the government has the right to refuse entry to those who have committed these illegal acts in the past."

Akbayan, which is a sister party of the PES in the Philippines, decried the treatment of Filibeck.

"Akbayan condemns, in the strongest terms, the detention and deportation of European human rights leader Giacomo Filibeck...The deportation of Filibeck is a deplorable act of silencing the strong voices for human rights," it said.

PES President Sergei Stanishev also denounced the move, saying President Rodrigo Duterte aims to silence both his local and international critics.

"It is completely unacceptable that a PES political representative...should be treated as a criminal on the orders of the government and forcibly deported from the country," Stanishev said.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said he will seek a congressional inquiry on the matter, to see whether it "has implications on our international relations and in fact, whether this has an impact on our good standing in the international community."

He also seeks to question whether it would be a national policy to bar critics of the Duterte administration coming from international watchdogs.

Filibeck blacklisted

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday said it has blacklisted Filibeck because he "violated the conditions of his stay when he came to the Philippines last year."

Filibeck was part of the human rights delegation last October 2017, where members of the European Union denounced the killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's war against drugs.

"He was not supposed to do that because being a tourist he does not enjoy the rights and privileges of a Philippine citizen, particularly the exercise of political rights which are exclusively reserved to Filipinos," said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente in a press statement.

According to BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 dated 03 July 2015, foreign tourists in the Philippines "are enjoined to observe" the limits in exercising their political rights during their stay in the country.

"We cannot allow the entry of foreigners who have shown disrespect to our duly-constituted authorities by meddling and interfering in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation," Morente said.