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Ex-Phil Foreign Secretary Del Rosario on way home after being held at HK airport

21 June 2019

Ex-DFA chief denied entry to Hong Kong
Ex-Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario at the U.N. (AP file photo)
By The SUN

Former Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario is on his way back to Manila after being held for about six hours at Hong Kong International Airport for reasons that were not made clear.

The country’s former top diplomat arrived in Hong Kong from Manila on board a Cathay Pacific flight at about 7:30 am today, Jun 21, to attend a Board meeting of the First Pacific Group of Companies.

He flew back to Manila aboard another Cathay flight that was scheduled to land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 4:25pm.

His lawyer, Anne Marie Corominas, said Del Rosario was holding a diplomatic passport and Hong Kong authorities were informed about his visit but did not give any indication that he would be barred entry.
She said all that the Secretary was told was that he was being held because of “immigration reasons.”

Corominas said, “That raises the question of where Hong Kong is getting instructions from.”

Del Rosario’s  ordeal came just a month after the Philippines’ former Ombudswoman, Conchita Carpio-Morales, was also barred entry to Hong Kong.

The two jointly filed a case against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court over China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea, which many observers say could have triggered the decision to bar them both from Hong Kong.
As in Carpio-Morales’ case, Del Rosario was reportedly held in isolation for a few hours before Philippine Consulate officers were allowed to join them.

But Corominas said there was a difference in the two cases. Carpio-Morales visited Hong Kong as a tourist, holding a regular passport, while Del Rosario was here on official visit.

“He (Del Rosario) was traveling on a diplomatic passport and got permission to use it,” she said.

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After a few hours of being kept in a private room along with his protocol officer, Consul General Antonio Morales and Consul Paul Saret were allowed to join him.

Asked for his mood during the detention, Corominas said the elder statesman was patient at first, but as the hours passed, she said it was just his strong faith in God that helped him bear the diplomatic snub.
“God is more powerful than China,” he reportedly said.
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