MANILA - The House of Representatives should investigate the deportation of a Socialist Party official from the European Union, a lawmaker whose party-list group invited him to the country said Monday.
Giacomo Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists, was supposed to attend an Akbayan event but was denied entry at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Sunday.
Immigration officials handed Filibeck a blacklist order and said he was barred from entering the country for allegedly being engaged in illegal political activities, according to Akbayan.
But Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said their event in Cebu was not illegal and there was no prior notice about Filibeck's inclusion in a blacklist order.
"Is this is a national policy which international organizations, human rights watchdogs, and officials of international bodies will now be barred from entering the Philippines if they have made comments or feedback on the human rights situation of the country?" he told ANC.
Filibeck was part of a human rights mission that visited Manila last year to investigate alleged killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. The group also openly denounced the deaths.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier justified the immigration bureau's action on Filibeck, saying foreigners could not be allowed to engage in "partisan political activities."
"The government has the right to refuse entry to those who have committed these illegal acts in the past," Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
Filibeck was with 20 other foreign delegates when he arrived at the Cebu airport. He was the only one barred by immigration officials.