MANILA -- Malacañang shot down Thursday a call to lodge a formal protest over a temporary travel ban Hong Kong imposed on former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the government to protest the supposed "intimidation and retaliation" against the retired official who filed a communication against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity.
"Kung binastos s'ya, kung ministreat s'ya, di pupuwede sa 'tin yun. We will definitely protest. Pero hindi naman," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.
(If she was disrespected, if she was mistreated, we will not allow that... But it wasn't the case.)
"Wala naman s'yang reklamong binastos s'ya. Naiinis lang s'ya. Nayayamot lang s'ya kasi nasira ang plano n'ya for the grandchildren," he added.
(She did not complain that she was disrespected. She was just irked that her plan for her grandchildren was ruined.)
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.
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.
"Wala tayong magagawa doon (we can't do anything about that) because it's their right," said Panelo.
"In the same way that we don't want to be subjected to interference with respect to how we treat people coming in, di rin tayo makikialam sa kanila (we don't meddle with them, too)," he added,