Why go to Hong Kong after suing the Chinese president?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 28, 2019 - 12:00am

Sometimes, the most brilliant people do tend to forget the most simple of rules. You don't insult the head of a family and then attempt to enter the house of that family. You don't accuse the master of a vessel of a crime and then insist on boarding that vessel. Even a child knows that most fundamental norm.

After he charged Chinese president Xi Jinping of crimes against the Filipino fishermen, before the International Criminal Court, did former DFA secretary Albert del Rosario really expect to be welcomed to Hong Kong, which is an integral part of the Peoples' Republic of China?

He knows, of course, the meaning of “persona non grata.” Assuming, for the sake of argument that his charges are meritorious, did he really think that the head of state that he antagonized and embarrassed before the international community of nations would order his immigration officers in Hong Kong to give Del Rosario a red carpet welcome? Oh, come on, Mr. Secretary, you are far too brilliant than that. And this also applies to former ombudsman and former Supreme Court associate justice Conchita Carpio-Morales.

The two luminaries very well know that sovereign nations have certain inherent and inalienable powers. Heads of state and heads of government have certain intrinsic authority. President Rodrigo Duterte himself, as a head of state, and head of government, has the perfect prerogative to direct the Philippine immigration officials to bar the entry of international activists masquerading as religious preachers.

Our own president has the full authority to order his subordinates in the Bureau of Immigration to deny entry to any suspected terrorists or suspected activists, who are here only to undermine the security of the state, or to propagate ideologies that are alien to the culture and core beliefs of our people. International law does not allow undue interference with the sovereign powers of independent states.

Thus, China, through the Hong Kong immigration front liners, has the perfect power to ban Del Rosario, in the same manner that the honorable Conchita Carpio-Morales was denied entry as well. Del Rosario was the DFA secretary when the Philippines filed a case against China before the International Arbitration Court under the Aquino administration. Of course, we nationalistic Filipinos do support Del Rosario’s initiatives to fight for our territorial integrity.

We believe that we have a valid cause of action against the Chinese. There should be no debate about that. What we question is why did Del Rosario and Morales still insist on entering Hong Kong. The Vienna Convention, with due respect to the lady lawyer of Del Rosario, does not have precedence over the inherent power of China to decide whom to welcome and whom to deny entry into their territory.

Former DFA Secretary del Rosario, being a veteran diplomat and an expert on international law, should be the last person to profess ignorance of the generally-accepted principle international law that every sovereign country has the inherent power to decide whom to welcome and whom to deny entry. China is a sovereign state and a superpower. No one can insult its president and then expect to be welcomed with open arms into their territory. Former associate justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, being a brilliant magistrate who has expertise in international law, among other fields of law, should have known better than to attempt to enter Hong Kong after filing that charge against Xi Jinping. Even a child should know that.

Sometimes, we do not comprehend the games that brilliant people play. Perhaps we are too naive and too uninformed of the nuances in international law. However, we know that when we unduly provoke a neighbor, we do not insist on going into his house. No Vienna Convention can ever alter that very fundamental rule.


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