By JULLIE Y. DAZA
A glamorous grandmother several times over, with nary a line of a wrinkle on her face. A former justice of the Supreme Court. Former chief of the Office of the Ombudsman. And now, adding to her distinguished c.v., the most eyecatching title of them all, suspected security threat.
How Conchita Carpio Morales is going to relish that one! (She’s the lady whose reply to a Duterteism was, “Anong pakialam niya?” None of his business!) Who’s afraid of Conchita Carpio Morales? When her plane landed in Hong Kong, she had to ask for a wheelchair, not knowing that when she was assisted into one by ground crew, its destination would be the immigration office. There she was interrogated for one hour, after which she was given the green light to enter the city. No, thanks, she decided. Three hours later, she would be on the first plane back to Manila.
The laws of the universe give immigration agents the right to refuse entry to any arriving passenger for whatever or no reason, the same argument used by the spokesman speaking from Malacañang.
As mysteriously as Ms. Morales was barred and then cleared, there will continue to be questions raised without answers. Was she on HK’s watch list ever since she filed a human-rights case against Chinese President Xi Jinping? Or, was her impending arrival a tip flashed to HK from Manila based on the passenger manifest? The Philippine consulate is as much in the dark as we are, and so far the only response from the HK side is a legislator’s annoyance at their immigration office’s dragging HK into a diplomatic kerfuffle.
Our secretaries of justice and foreign affairs have spoken up, not exactly to assuage Ms. Morales, but perhaps ways could be found – a little “pakialam” – to assure her that things will be cleared up.
Lastly, will former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, a co-complainant in the case filed against President Xi, feel like visiting Hong Kong one of these days?