Albert del Rosario
Philippines' former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario (L) speaks while Conchita Morales, former head of the anti-graft body listens during a press conference in Manila on March 22, 2019. The two former Philippine officials submitted a communication at the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking the tribunal to investigate the alleged crimes perpetrated by Chinese President Xi Jingping and other Chinese officials against Filipino fishermen in the disputed South China Sea.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Del Rosario camp sees silver lining in Hong Kong's denial of entry
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 21, 2019 - 4:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — Consecutive denials to enter Hong Kong of two former top Philippine government officials only bolster their resolve against China to defend Filipino fishermen, their lawyer said Friday.

In a span of a month, Hong Kong barred both former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario who both accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court earlier this year.

Lawyer Anne Marie Corominas, counsel of Del Rosario and Morales, finds the Hong Kong Immigration authorities’ actions fueling the intent behind the March 21 filing of the communication against the Chinese leader.

“I think that this will definitely increase the resolve of those former Ombudsman Carpio-Morales and former [Foreign Affairs] Secretary del Rosario to pursue the case on behalf of the Filipino fishermen,” Corominas told Philstar.com in a phone interview.

On May 21, Morales, also a retired Supreme Court justice, was held for hours at the Hong Kong International Airport for “immigration reasons.”

Exactly a month later, Del Rosario, who was on a business trip and was a bearer of a diplomatic passport, was also denied entry to Hong Kong due to “vague” immigration reasons.

Hours before his arrival in Hong Kong on June 21, Del Rosario called China “a bully,” in a statement questioning the government’s move for a joint investigation with Beijing into the collision on Reed (Recto) Bank.

In March, Del Rosario and Morales submitted a communication to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on behalf of Filipino fishermen “persecuted and injured” by Chinese officials.

“The situation presented is both unique and relevant in that it presents one of the most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment in humanity’s history, which has not only adversely affected and injured myriad of groups of vulnerable fishermen, but present and future generations of people across nations,” the communication read.

Morales earlier said that when Hong Kong officials rejected her entry, it kept her and Del Rosario “more resolved to pursue the case to bring the level of the case to crescendo.”

“We will fight for examination,” the former Ombudsman added.

Morales will meet Del Rosario at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday afternoon.

ALBERT DEL ROSARIO CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA XI JINPING
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