Palace hands off on ex-Ombudsman Carpio Morales' HK travel fiasco

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 06:23 PM

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales talks to reporters upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Hong Kong where she was stopped by Immigration authorities and was held in a room at Hong Kong's airport and ordered to take a flight back to Manila, Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA- Malacañang distanced itself Wednesday from the temporary travel ban Hong Kong imposed on former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

"We feel that its between former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and the Chinese government what transpired there," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters during a Palace press briefing.

Carpio Morales flew to Hong Kong on Tuesday with her children and grandchildren for a family vacation but was barred from entering the special administrative region of China.

Hong Kong authorities did not explain why she was banned, even as the Philippine consulate communicated with Hong Kong officials.

When she was eventually allowed to enter Hong Kong, Carpio Morales had already decided not to push through with the vacation and instead flew back to Manila Tuesday night.

While Panelo noted that the Philippines cannot intrude in Hong Kong's immigration laws, he assured Filipinos traveling abroad of government assistance.

"What we're interested in is that all Filipinos who go abroad and are confronted with problems that will affect their lives, security, and welfare, we will provide government assistance as we have provided the former Ombudsman. That's only our concern," he said.

"We cannot intrude in the immigration laws of any country in the same way that we expect that they cannot intrude into us," he added.

Carpio Morales and former Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert Del Rosario hauled Chinese President Xi Jinping to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity. 

The former Philippine officials sought an investigation into Beijing's "systematic plan to control the South China Sea."