Akbayan party-list Rep. Tomasito “Tom” Villarin will ask Congress to investigate the deportation from the Philippines of an official of a European political party, who was among those who had visited the country last year and talked to families of alleged victims of extra-judicial killings in Metro Manila.
In an interview with DZRH on Monday, April 16, Villarin said he wanted to know whether the detention at Mactan-Cebu International Airport and the eventual deportation of Party of European Socialists deputy secretary-general Giacomo Filibeck is already part of the policy of the Duterte administration against its foreign critics.
“I’ll file a House resolution to investigate the incident na talagang polisiya na ba ngayon ang deportation sa mga sinasabi nating international, even members of parliament na officials of political parties na pag nag-criticize sa gobyerno or human rights ay idi-deport or I mean hindi papapasukin sa ating bansa,” Villarin said.
The lawmaker warned that if it is, the Philippines would have “diplomatic issues” with the Europe, whose officials, politicians, and rights groups are being accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of allegedly interfering in the Philippines’ domestic affairs amid the administration’s bloody war on drugs.
“And I think the party of Mr. Giacomo has already lodged a protest with the foreign minister of the European parliament of the EU…And most likely…mga…note verbale would likely come at itatanong din ng European Union itong polisiya ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas,” Villarin said.
Filibeck was among the seven members of Progressive Alliance, a group of international parliamentarians and civil society leaders that visited the Philippines in October 2017 and urged the Philippine government to stop killing suspected drug personalities and silencing dissent, including the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima.
Duterte threats ‘not empty’
Filibeck was supposed to again visit the Philippines to attend Akbayan’s Congress and deliver a solidarity message during the two-day event starting Monday, April 16. However, he was denied entry to the country last Sunday, April 15, over his alleged illegal political activity. Nineteen other foreign delegates were allowed entry except for the PES official.
“So obviously, he (Filibeck) was singled out because he was among” those who was part of the Progressive Alliance mission in the Philippines last year, according to Villarin.
“It’s really uncalled for dahil ‘yong naging papel naman ni [because the only role of] Mr. Giocomo Filibeck last year was just really to express the sense of outrage about extrajudicial killings dahil sila mismo ang naka-witness do’n sa mga nangyaring EJKs sa [because they were the ones who had witnessed the extrajudicial killings happening in] Metro Manila communities because they were here for almost a week last year,” the Akbayan lawmaker added.
Villarin said Filibeck’ detention and deportation appeared to be connected with Duterte’s threat against the International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who was recently threatened by the chief executive of getting arrested if he pushes through with his investigation of the Philippines’ war on drugs campaign based on a complaint by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio.
“So mukhang itong mga threats ni Duterte ay talagang tototohanin n’ya. Nakita naman natin na isang member of parliament na kabahagi ng mga political parties in Europe ay talagang pina-deport n’ya [So it seems that Duterte will make true his threats. We saw how he had a member of a parliament, who is part of the political parties in Europe, deported],” said Villarin.
“So ibig sabihin [So that means] these are not empty threats against…parliamentarians and even officials of established political parties in Europe. Na talagang gagawin n’ya ‘yong mga threats na ‘yon [That he would really make these threats true],” he added.