MALACANANG on Monday justified the government’s decision to block the entry into the country and deportation of a European politician, saying he was “a person we don’t want to be in our territory.”
Palace spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Akbayan Party condemned the deportation of Giacomo Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists, for criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs crackdown in 2017.
“In international law, it is always a sovereign decision whom they wish to allow into their territory. So we are not obliged to allow anyone into our territory if we do not want them in our territory,” Roque told reporters during a press conference.
“Unfortunately, the socialist leader was one of those that we determine as a person we don’t want to be in our territory. 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 added.
Akabayan had said Filibeck’s deportation “only shows how paranoid this government is in keeping the rest of the world blind from the damage Duterte has done to our country.”
But Roque dismissed the comment saying, “Let the people decide because Akbayan has never had anything good to say about the President.”
Filibeck was due to attend the two-day Akbayan Party Congress with about 20 other foreign delegates but was stopped at the immigration counter and handed a slip of paper informing him of the blacklist order for allegedly being engaged in illegal political activities, according to the party-list.
But Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said the Akbayan event in Cebu was not illegal and there was no prior notice about Filibeck’s inclusion in a blacklist order.
“Is this is a national policy which international organizations, human rights watchdogs, and officials of international bodies will now be barred from entering the Philippines if they have made comments or feedback on the human rights situation of the country?” Villarin said in an interview.
Filibeck was part of a human rights mission that visited Manila in 2017 to investigate alleged killings under Duterte’s war on drugs. The group also openly denounced the deaths.
Some 4,000 people have died while resisting arrests in police anti-narcotics operations since July 2016. CATHERINE S. VALENTE