AN official of European Union socialist party who had been critical of the Philippine government was barred on Sunday from entering the country.
In a press statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed that Giacomo Filibeck was blacklisted because he violated the conditions of his stay as a tourist when he came to the Philippines last year.
“He was not supposed to do that because being a tourist he does not enjoy the rights and privileges of a Philippine citizen, particularly the exercise of political rights which are exclusively reserved to Filipinos,” Morente said.
The BI chief also cited BI Operations Order No. SBM-2015-025 dated 03 July 2015, which prohibits foreign tourists from engaging in political activities in the country, “foreign tourists in the Philippines are enjoined to observe the limitation on the exercise of their political rights during their stay in the Philippines.”
Morente added that “we cannot allow the entry of foreigners who have shown disrespect to our duly-constituted authorities by meddling and interfering in our internal affairs as a sovereign nation.”
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday defended the move of immigration authorities to deny entry to Filibeck, deputy secretary general of the Party of European Socialists (PES).
Guevarra said immigration authorities were justified in stopping Filibeck at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport because of his past partisan political activity.
“It is un1lawful for aliens staying in our country to engage in partisan political activities, and the government has the right to refuse entry to those who have committed these illegal acts in the past,” Guevarra said.
Filibeck was in the country last October together with an international human rights fact-finding team which condemned the killings under the anti-drug campaign of the Duterte administration.
He was due to attend the two-day Akbayan Party Congress with about 20 other foreign delegates when he was stopped by immigration authorities. His companions were allowed entry by the authorities.
Malacañang also defended the deportation of Filibeck.
“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 in our territory if we do not want them in our territory,” Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.
Akbayan had said Filibeck’s deportation “only shows how paranoid this government is in keeping the rest of the world blind from the damage President Duterte has done to our country.”
Roque dismissed the comment saying, “Let the people decide kasi Akbayan naman has never had anything good to say about the President.”
Filibeck was due to attend the 2-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, according to the party-list.
The other foreigners were allowed entry.
In Europe, PES also protested “in the strongest possible terms the unjustified detention and deportation” of one of its senior officials in the Philippines.
Sergei Stanishev, PES president, said it was “unacceptable” that a member of the party “should (be) treated as a criminal on orders of the government and forcibly deported from the country.”
“Clearly, the president intends to silence criticism of his deadly policies both at home and abroad,” he added.
Filibeck was in the country in October 2017 together with an international human rights fact-finding mission, which denounced the killings under Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign.
Some 4,000 people have died while resisting arrests in police anti-narcotics operations since July 2016.
Duterte is under scrutiny by the international community, including the International Criminal Court, for the killings.