EU seeks clarification on party official's deportation

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2018 03:08 PM

Giacomo Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists (PES), was denied entry at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Akbayan

MANILA -- The European Union said Thursday it sought clarification from the Philippine government on the deportation of a Socialist Party official.

Brussels' envoy to Manila, Franz Jessen, said he met with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs over the case of Giacomo Filibeck, who was denied entry into the country last Sunday.

"We are aware of the case and we have been asking for clarification on that and we are in the process of getting that clarification and then we’ll see how we take that forward," Jessen told reporters.

Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists, was supposed to attend an Akbayan event but was barred from entering the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Immigration officials told Filibeck that he was dnied entry due to alleged illegal political activities, according to Akbayan. 

Filibeck was in the country in October 2017 together with an international human rights fact-finding mission, which denounced the killings allegedly made under President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drugs campaign.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier justified the immigration bureau's action on Filibeck, saying it was within government's rights.

"It is unlawful for aliens staying in our country to engage in partisan political activities, and 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 on Tuesday.

Jessen said the partnership and cooperation agreements that exist between the Philippines and EU that allows “a very active exchange of ideas and views at all different levels.”

"A country can always accept or refuse entry of a person. That’s of course a sovereign right. That’s not really the issue, for me. The issue is more that we are friends. We do have a partnership and cooperation agreement..." he said.