Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario must think of us as stupid. After former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was rejected entry to Hong Kong, Del Rosario also went there in the guise of a business trip, using his diplomatic passport. Naturally, he was held for questioning for 7 hours and denied entry, as well. To refresh, Del Rosario and Morales are petitioners in a communication protest against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In other words, the two are Yellow henchmen out to ruffle up ties between the Philippines and China, in an attempt to humiliate President Rodrigo Duterte in the international community.
This is obvious case-building for another petition or protest, or an attempt to bolster their existing protest, by cohorts Del Rosario and Morales, who both think they can outsmart China. In an interview, Del Rosario admitted that he expected this to happen, and that he wanted to “test” China to see if he would suffer the same fate. Getting what he deserved, the public should not feel sorry for him.
It is a deliberate attempt to provoke China, and Del Rosario shouldn’t have expected to have breezed through immigration gates of Hong Kong. But then again, the question is why was he using a diplomatic passport, as pointed out by Senate President Tito Sotto, citing the Philippine Passport Act of 1996. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo mentioned that Del Rosario “misused” his diplomatic passport, suggesting that he got what he deserved, to wit, “As the country’s former chief diplomat, Mr. del Rosario should have known or have been alerted to the proper use of diplomatic passports and other travel documents.”
True that Del Rosario may be privileged to have a diplomatic passport as former DFA Secretary, but what is the supposed “official business” that he has in Hong Kong when he is no longer part of the government? Del Rosario may have been alerted by DFA of his visit to Hong Kong as this was necessary for the revalidation of the diplomatic passport. He said, “Before I went to Hong Kong, I wrote to the Department of Foreign Affairs that I was going to be traveling on business and I would be using my diplomatic passport.”
Del Rosario is part of the Yellow Administration — is there something being cooked by the Yellows in Hong Kong? Del Rosario clarified that he was scheduled to attend meetings for the board and shareholders of First Pacific, a private company that has extensive business in the Philippines care of Manny Pangilinan. Thus, there is nothing “official” in the private endeavor since official the business must in relation to a government function.
It is as if the relationship between the Philippines and China isn’t complicated enough. With the sinking of the Filipino fishing boat after being hit by a Chinese vessel that purportedly left 22 fishermen to drown, the Yellows thought that they found a smoking gun against President Duterte. However, this was later resolved when the fishermen were finally talked to by representatives of the government and they flashed “Duterte fist” signs to signify support to the President. To hopefully sway them back to the Yellow side, Vice President Leni Robredo also went to meet the fishermen bearing cash gifts of P50,000 from her fund. Unfortunately, this is not enough to dissuade them from supporting the popular President.
The only option for the opposition now is to run to the international community since the President is just too popular in the Philippines. This is the same script being done by Rappler’s Maria Ressa — tour the world to ask for compassion, even get George Clooney to support you, and earn a cameo in a Madonna music video, but still get no sympathy in the Philippines. What the international community must know is that these people are violating Philippine laws, a fact that is purposely unsaid in the international meet ups they make.
Robredo, Ressa, Morales and Del Rosario should have a better script for them next time.
Perhaps, they can plan an outing altogether to Hong Kong Disneyland with all the other Yellow supporters and see who gets through Hong Kong immigration. Or they can all get on a fishing boat in Palawan and ram the first Chinese vessel they see. While they’re at it, they can bring with them bloggers and reporters to document the entire process and stream it on Facebook Live. This sounds desperate but who knows?