PES representative detained and expelled from Philippines
The Party of European Socialists protests in the strongest possible terms the unjustified detention and deportation today (Sunday) of one of its senior representatives by the government of the Philippines.
PES deputy secretary general Giacomo Filibeck was detained by border police as he travelled to Cebu to attend the party congress of Akbayan, PES’s sister party in the Philippines and a fellow member of the Progressive Alliance. He was subsequently informed that he had been blacklisted for participating in illegal political activities and deported by plane.
The PES has informed the office of Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign and security policy, of the incident.
PES president Sergei Stanishev said:
"It is completely unacceptable that a PES political representative, travelling to take up an invitation to attend Akbayan’s party congress as guest of honour, should be treated as a criminal on the orders of the government and forcibly deported from the country.
"I understand from our colleagues in the Philippines that this is the first time a foreign national has been expelled from the country for political reasons. The sinister motive behind this outrageous act is clear: our political family is on the front line in the fight to defend human rights in the Philippines.
"In October, Mr Filibeck, MEPs and representatives members of progressive European parties publicly called for a probe into the brutal 'drug war' of President Duterte. Clearly, the president intends to silence criticism of his deadly policies both at home and abroad.
"As a united political family, we refuse to be silenced. We will continue to express our solidarity with the democratic opposition to Mr Duterte’s increasingly authoritarian rule in the Philippines."
A statement from Akbayan, issued on Sunday afternoon (CET), said:
"The deportation of Filibeck is a deplorable act of silencing the strong voices for human rights. Filibeck was part of the international human rights mission on October 2017 where EU parliamentarians and NGO leaders denounced the killings under President Duterte's campaign against drugs. The ridiculous charge of 'illegal political activities' is Duterte's way of saying he wants to criminalize criticisms."