Senator Risa Hontiveros today challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to protest the Chinese government’s four-hour holding of Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales at an airport in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Hontiveros said the act was a clear act of intimidation and retaliation for Morales’s filing charges against the Chinese government before the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding its alleged crimes against humanity in the West Philippine Sea.
“I challenge President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to defend one of the country’s most accomplished public servants and bring this directly to the Chinese government, lest it be accused of siding with China against one of our country’s own citizens,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros said that the Chinese government’s denial of entry to former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was “ludicrous.”
“Bullying a 78 year old former public servant who is known for her sterling public service record is ludicrous. I call on the Chinese government to explain why it held for four hours without any explanation a former high-ranking Philippine government official and a senior citizen who simply went to Hong Kong with her grandchildren to have a vacation,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros said that the Chinese government’s action against Morales, whom she said is leading the fight in holding China accountable for the massive environmental damage it has caused and continues to cause in the West Philippine Sea, clearly shows that its intentions are far from friendly.
The Senator feared that without a strong and definitive stand from the Philippine government, the incident could happen again to other Filipino citizens critical of China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
“The Duterte government must see to it that our citizens are not intimidated and shabbily treated by foreign governments for simply voicing out their opposition to our neighbor-states’ actions that tend to undermine our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Hontiveros.
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