Ex-Department of Foreign Affairs Chief Albert del Rosario was denied entry into Hong Kong on Friday for reasons he vehemently believe stem from his filing a complaint with former ombudsman Conchita Carpio against China in the International Criminal Court (ICC) over their actions in the West Philippine Sea. He does not think his denial had anything to do with the small fact that he was traveling on a diplomatic passport, despite not being a currently seated government official or even going to attend any government related functions.
Reportedly, del Rosario arrived in the Hong Kong International Airport at around 7:40 a.m. Friday, was held for nearly 6 hours for “immigration reasons”, and arrived back in Manila by 4:30 p.m. the same day.
The ex-DFA chief was entering Hong Kong to attend the First Pacific’s board and shareholders meeting as a private citizen.
In a statement about the incident, del Rosario defended his right to use a diplomatic passport, despite Senate president Vicente Sotto III’s statements which clarify that they are absolutely not available to former Cabinet Secretaries.
Specifically, since del Rosario’s purpose was “in no way related to government or foreign service”, our question is why on earth did he think he could travel as a diplomat?
Sotto also clarified that before each use, a diplomatic passport should be revalidated with a travel order.
Del Rosario, in his statement, said that he told the DFA he would be leaving the country using his diplomatic passport prior to his departure from Manila. He said that the DFA forwarded this information to the Hong Kong consulate and they were meant to be briefer, but when he arrived the letter from the Hong Kong consulate was nowhere to be found.
Further, he said he’d traveled multiple times on his diplomatic passport, even as a private citizen, and it’s only now he’s received any grief.
Del Rosario may need reminding that his power does not come innately, but it is a privilege bestowed upon him by the Republic. This denial of a special privilege that he’s not even entitled to is nothing more than Hong Kong enforcing its rules on to someone who thinks he’s above them.