Press Release
June 22, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 542:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on former DFA Secretary Del Rosario's harassment by China


There is no question that China, including its Hongkong Special Administrative Region, has the right to refuse entry to non-citizens into its territory. No doubt, in the cases of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, their lengthy detention at Hongkong immigration and the denial of entry to the latter; could only be due to their filing with the International Criminal Court against Chinese President Xi Jin Ping for crimes against humanity committed in the West Philippine Sea

Notably, the harassment of Sec. Del Rosario by Chinese immigration took place less than two weeks after a Chinese fishing vessel, largely believed to be a part of China's maritime militia, rammed the Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver 1 and left its Filipino crew for dead.

The Gem-Ver ramming is just the latest example of the crimes against humanity committed by China in the WPS. And thanks to Morales and Del Rosario, China has another reason to worry that it cannot go on committing these crimes, whether against Filipinos or other nationalities, without international consequences. China is clearly bothered with the Morales and Del Rosario ICC complaint, but petty enough to retaliate against the two by harassing and detaining them at the HK airport.

Such pettiness may be expected of China. After decades of being exploited and subjugated by Europe at the turn of the 20th century and by Japan during World War II, it has finally found the economic and military power to flex its muscle against its less powerful neighbors.

But mostly it has done so at the slightest of what it imagines to be provocations, including the Morales and Del Rosario ICC complaint.

China's message is clear. Like an abused child who grew up strong, it will no longer allow itself to be bullied again. Unfortunately, it has instead decided to be the bully. We accept this as a given.

What should not be a given is Malacañang's consistent acting as China's spokesperson. Indeed, when was the last time has Malacañang sided with Filipinos and the Philippine national interest when the issue of our country's dispute with China in the WPS arises? Not when our fishermen are water-hosed at Scarborough Shoal. Not when China puts missiles in the Spratlys. Not when it threatens to shoot down Philippine Air Force planes flying over the country's EEZ. Not when its maritime militia rams Philippine fishing boats and leaves their crew for dead. Not when it detains and harasses two defenseless senior citizens in its airport for filing a case against it.

Duterte called the Gem-Ver ramming a small maritime incident. This time, Panelo harped on Del Rosario's use of his diplomatic passport to defend China's harassment.

Pagdating sa China, wala nang silbi ang gobyernong Duterte sa mga Pilipino. Malinaw pa sa sikat ng araw, sila ay mamamatay para sa China, hindi para sa Pilipinas. "Ang mamatay ng dahil sa China" ang pambansang awit na kinakanta na ngayon sa Malacañang.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 542 here:

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