DOJ, Immigration: Filibeck deported for violating tourist law
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice on Monday said that Italian activist Giacomo Filibeck has been put on a blacklist for violating the country’s immigration law.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra stressed Filibeck, as a tourist, is not allowed to engage in “partisan political activity.”
In a text message to reporters, the Justice chief said: “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.”
Filibeck, an official of the Party of European Socialists, was invited by Akbayan party-list to attend its congress in Cebu City.
But Akbayan, on Sunday, said that Filibeck was barred from entering the country and was immediately deported upon his arrival at Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente also said that Filibeck “was not supposed to do that (join partisan activities) because, being a tourist, he does not enjoy the rights and privileges of a Philippine citizen, particularly the exercise of political rights which are exclusively reserved to Filipinos.”
Morente also cited an immigrations operations order that states “foreign tourists in the Philippines are enjoined to observe the limitation on the exercise of their political rights during their stay in the Philippines.”
Filibeck was part of the PES mission that called for deeper probe into alleged extrajudicial killings under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. The seven-member delegation, in October 2017, denounced the rising spate of deaths believed to be carried under the government’s drug war.
The group’s pronouncement drew the ire of firebrand leader Duterte, who mistakenly attributed the criticism to the European Union.
A photo of the October 2017 press conference by Akbayan, the Progressive Alliance and the Party of European Socialists. Photo from Progressive Alliance website, file
The case of Beersum
Immigrations spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang, for her part, stressed that Filibeck was not the first foreigner expelled due to political activities.
She cited the case of Thomas Van Beersum, a Dutch political activist, who was deported in August 2013 after he was seen taunting a police officer in a rally.
Beersum participated in the rally against former President Benigno Aquino III during his State of the Nation Address.
The Dutch activist was photographed yelling at a weeping police officer who was stationed at the rally.
Mangrobang said: “He (Beersum) not only took part in a protest rally but he also berated and used foul words against the police officer.”
Beersum was later deported for violating the conditions of his tourist visa and was placed in the Immigration blacklist.