Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario called the attention of the International Criminal Court to Chinese officials’ alleged crimes against humanity against the Philippines and our fishermen in the South China Sea, which is within the Philippine territory.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Ex-Ombudsman Morales denied entry to Hong Kong
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - May 21, 2019 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2,  6:43 p.m.) — Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who is also a retired Supreme Court justice, was denied entry to Hong Kong.

News5 reported that lawyer Anne Marie Corominas, Morales’ legal counsel, said the immigration officers stopped Morales from entering Hong Kong.

Quoting an unnamed source from DFA, News5 also reported that immigration authorities may have held Morales “presumably due to ICC case she filed against Chinese Xi Jinping.”

The 78-year-old Morales was separated from her family, the report added.

The former ombudsman arrived in Hong Kong at 11 a.m. Tuesday. She was with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren when she was stopped from entering Hong Kong. The former ombudsman is being detained at a holding area at the Hong Kong International Airport.

Morales and her family will fly back to Manila Tuesday night.

ICC communication vs China

Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario called the attention of the International Criminal Court to Chinese officials’ alleged crimes against humanity against the Philippines and our fishermen in the South China Sea, which is within the Philippine territory.

The two government officials submitted their communication two days before the country’s withdrawal from the international tribunal took effect.

The communication is filed specifically against Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The international tribunal is mandated to try individuals, not states, and hold them accountable for the most serious crimes such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crime of aggression in the international community.

Del Rosario and Morales argued that the ICC has jurisdiction over the "atrociously inhumane actions" of Chinese officials in the contested waterway as it occurred "within Philippine territory."

'Retaliation' for ICC communication

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, in a statement, said that the barring of entry of the former Ombudsman is a “retaliation” for her filing of communication against the Chinese leader.

“Knowing the former ombudsman this will not deter her from pursuing the case and as such the act of deporting her will only further strengthen her resolve. It has also exposed China’s resolve to go after those who oppose and refuse to accept their illegal acts committed in the West Philippine Sea,” the opposition senator added.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that he directed Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella to provide assistance to Morales and her family. He added that Abella sent assurances that the department is working on it.

Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval  said the bureau had no information on Morales' situation.

Barring of foreign visitors within country's prerogative

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, for his part, echoed that Morales’ filing of communication against Xi may have been the root of the Chinese immigration officials’ action.

But he stressed: “Regardless of the reason, however, we may not question the action taken by Chinese immigration officials, as the entry of foreigners or the refusal thereof is the exclusive and sovereign prerogative of any country.”

Deputy Consul Germina Aguilar-Usudan told ANC in a phone interview that the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong was not immediately informed of the reason Morales was barred from entering Hong Kong.

But she said that they received information past 3 p.m. that the former ombudsman was “given go signal” to enter Hong Kong. Morales opted to just go back to the Philippines.

Usudan also clarified that Morales stayed at the Immigration Office at Hong Kong International Airport and was not detained.  — with reports from News5/Zony Corazon and Dale De Vera

CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT XI JINPING
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