BANGKOK, Thailand -- "Do not politicize and do not link it up with other domestic issues."
This was the message of one former foreign affairs secretary, Alan Peter Cayetano, to another, Albert del Rosario, after the latter was denied entry to Hong Kong last Friday.
Commenting on the incident, Taguig City Representative-elect Cayetano said the Chinese administrative region has the right to deny entry to any foreigner.
“Ang karapatan magpapasok o hindi magpapasok sa isang bansa ay karapatan ng bansang iyon," he said.
(The right to allow or deny entry in a certain country is the right of that country.)
Del Rosario, the country's top diplomat during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, flew to Hong Kong for a business meeting on Friday but was barred entry for unspecified immigration reasons.
Last month, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales experienced the same ordeal when she flew to Hong Kong for a family vacation.
Unlike Morales, Del Rosario, however, used a diplomatic passport for his trip.
Cayetano said the 2 former Philippine officials should have expected to be denied entry in Hong Kong after they hauled Chinese President Xi Jinping to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.
Morales and Del Rosario sought an investigation into Beijing's "systematic plan to control the South China Sea."
“Ang tanong ko lang naman kay Sec. Del Rosario at former ombudsman, alam niyo naman na nakikipag-ganunan kayo sa liderato ng bansang ‘yun, so dapat in-expect niyo [na hindi papasukin sa Hong Kong]," Cayetano said.
(My only message to Sec. Del Rosario and to the former ombudsman is that they should have expected the ordeal given that they mess with the Chinese leadership.)
Cayetano, meanwhile, refused to comment on whether it was proper for Del Rosario to use his diplomatic passport for the nixed Hong Kong trip.
The Department of Foreign Affairs on Saturday said it would soon cancel all diplomatic passports given to former foreign affairs chiefs and Philippine envoys, and halt the courtesy issuance.
Del Rosario said he would not challenge the DFA's plan as he asserted he did not misuse his diplomatic passport -- which was issued in 2016 as privilege accorded a former DFA chief --- for his Hong Kong trip.
-- report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News