By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to provide assistance to former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales amid reports she was held by immigration authorities at the Hong Kong airport.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government would help ensure the safe return of Morales and her family to the country, citing its commitment to help Filipinos in need regardless of political affiliation.
“We asked the Department of Foreign Affairs, through our Consulate General in Hong Kong, to render full assistance to the former Ombudswoman and her family for their safe and secure return to the Philippines,” Panelo said.
“The same government assistance shall be given to each and every Filipino in distress abroad, and this is regardless of political persuasion,” he added.
Panelo said news reports have reached the Palace that Morales has been refused entry to Hong Kong and is subject to deportation as she is considered a “security risk” by Chinese immigration authorities.
He said the government will defer to the immigration laws and rules of other countries much “as we expect foreign nations to respect our country’s internal rules.”
Earlier, Panelo said he contacted Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella to give assistance to former Ombudsman Morales and her family. “He already replied and said they are already on it,” he said.
Carpio reportedly traveled to Hong Kong with her family but was prevented from entering the special administrative region of China. She was reportedly asked to take a flight back to Manila Tuesday night.
The incident occurred after Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed a complaint against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity for his country’s actions in the South China Sea.
They have complained about China’s encroachment has resulted in environmental damage and deprived fishermen of their livelihood
President Duterte earlier told Chinese officials that government had nothing to do with the ICC complaint against Xi but it could not prevent anyone from pursuing such move.
Read more: Carpio-Morales held by Hong Kong immigration