MANILA - Former Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales slammed on Tuesday the government's deportation of foreigners for alleged engagement in "partisan political activities."
Speaking to ANC, Rosales stressed this move by the Bureau of Immigration is an act of cowardice and paranoia. She reminded the agency that it is mandated to respect human rights.
"It's an act of cowardice. It smacks of paranoia. They're criminalizing criticism," she said.
Last Sunday, European Socialist Party official Giacomo Filibeck who was supposed to attend the Akbayan Party-list Congress in Cebu was deported.
The bureau said Filibeck showed "disrespect" when he denounced the killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war in his 2017 Manila visit.
But Rosales, a chairperson emeritus of Akbayan, said Filibeck, part of a human rights mission that came to Manila, merely expressed concern upon learning about the killings.
"They came out with a concern—expressed a lot of concern that hopefully we can work together, that hopefully the European delegation could help on putting a stop to all killings," she said.
That delegation, Rosales added, even wants to help the people improve their lives and even help in ending the drug menace.
After Filibeck, 71-year-old Australian nun Patricia Fox was also detained and now faces possible deportation for the same accusation.
Rosales said the government should review their actions and be circumspect on their next decisions as these will have repercussions in the international community.