The Partido Liberal denounced the detention and deportation of Giacomo Filibeck, a Socialist Party official from the European Union, calling this a bureaucratic overkill.
“The Duterte administration should be able to make a distinction between expressing criticisms and fomenting unrest. The presence of the foreign guests definitely is not aimed at the latter,” said Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of Partido Liberal.
Philippine immigration authorities denied Filibeck denied entry at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport on Sunday and deported him.
Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists (PES), was in the country in October 2017 together with an international human rights fact-finding mission, which criticized the killings under the administration’s drug war.
Filibeck was supposed to attend the two-day Akbayan Party Congress with about 20 other foreign delegates when he was stopped at the immigration and was informed he was in the blacklist order.
“The cries for justice of the victims of the war on drugs are haunting the Duterte administration that it is beginning to believe that even well-meaning critics are dangerous,” said Pangilinan.
Filibeck’s detention and deportation also paints an ugly picture of the Philippines in the international community, as it showed the country as a place where visitors lose their right to free expression.
“This practice goes against the spirit of democracy,” said Pangilinan.
“We cannot forever conceal what is really happening in the country. If this administration has nothing to hide, what is it afraid of?” he added.