Ex-Foreign Secretary Del Rosario held, questioned at Hong Kong airport

8:24:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who filed a case for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court against Chinese President Xi Jinping last March, was held and questioned at the Hong Kong International Airport as he arrived there at 7:40 a.m. today.

‘Still here. Been half hour wait…now in a staff lounge after answering a few questions. Asked to wait,’’ Del Rosario told the Inquirer around 8:30 a.m.

He said he was taken to a ‘small lounge’ and asked to wait.

Hong Kong immigration staff asked him questions like ‘’what is purpose of trip? How long? Where is business meet? Return date.’’

Del Rosario was to attend board and shareholders meetings of First Pacific and was travelling alone. He said two members of the Philippine consulate are with him in the airport staff lounge where he was being questioned.

It was a repeat of what happened to former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales last May 21, when she was barred from entering Hong Kong for being a ‘security threat.’’

Morales was Del Rosario’s co-complainant in the ICC case filed against Xi for depriving Filipino fishermen of their livelihood, aggression and environmental degradation in the West Philippine Sea.

Morales said it was bullying by China and clearly in retaliation for their filing of the ICC case against Xi.

The incident with Del Rosario comes two weeks after a Chinese fishing boat rammed a Filipino fishing vessel in the Recto Bank, leaving 22 fishermen floating in the sea for six hours before they were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.

Philippine officials first strongly denounced the incident, with Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. filing a diplomatic protest. But the tone changed after President Duterte said it was just a “little maritime incident.”

Before he left for Hong Kong this morning, Del Rosario issued this statement in reaction to China’s call for a joint investigation of the Recto Bank incident: ‘’The plan for a joint probe by the Ph and China is the worst news yet. It redounds to a potential partnership between one party (Ph who is out to seek the truth) against another party (China, the bully) who is out to suppress it. We should really feel sorry for our poor fishermen as the ultimate product of a joint probe  with Beijing is expected to be no more than a  bowl of fruit salad.

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