Ex-Ombudsman Conchita on HK detention: ‘That was bullying’

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales gestures as she prepares to board her vehicle upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Hong Kong where she was stopped by Immigration authorities, held in a room at the airport, and ordered to take a flight back to Manila on Tuesday, May 21. AP

MANILA – Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales claimed she was bullied after being barred from entering Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon due to “immigration reasons.”

Speaking to the media upon her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Tuesday night, Carpio-Morales said she was “detained” for four hours without explaining why she was barred from entering Hong Kong.

“Yes, that was bullying. How do you call it if it’s not bullying?” Carpio-Morales said. “They did not tell me anything about it. “I was insisting that they give me the ground. They said nothing.”

She added: “When they asked me to sign (a) document, there were blanks. Not so many, but one of them was my flight. I refused to sign. I told them to fill up all the entries.”

Carpio-Morales and her family arrived in Hong Kong at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday for a vacation, but she was held by immigration officers at the airport and was told to be deported back to the Philippines on the same night.

After hours in detention, Carpio-Morales was eventually allowed to enter Hong Kong. But she refused the offer and instead decided to return to the Philippines with her family.

“The spirit of my family has been broken. I’m just too enervated to stay in Hong Kong and enjoy. My family said, oh we will be on constant watch by the people in Hong Kong so we decided to come back,” Carpio-Morales said.

Carpio-Morales’ lawyer Anne Marie Corominas, in a separate interview, slammed the Hong Kong immigration officers for barring the entry of the former Ombudsman for being a “security threat.”

“How is a 78-year old former anti-corruption ombudswoman a security threat in HK-China?” Corominas said.

Morales and former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario earlier this year filed a communication against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court over “atrocious actions of Chinese officials in the South China Sea and within Philippine territory.”

The communication was filed by Morales and del Rosario on behalf of fishermen who were “persecuted and injured” by aggressive island-building and occupation of China in the West Philippine Sea./PN


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