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Deportation of EU politiko shows Duterte’s paranoia, insecurity – De Lima

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Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday scoffed at President Duterte for placing Italian activist Giacomo Filibeck in the immigration’s blacklist.

“Voicing out one’s opinion in a political event does not constitute a crime, thus, should not be grounds for deportation. The move to blackist Filibeck is obviously just a product of Duterte’s paranoia and insecurity,” she said.

De Lima was referring to the incident in Oct. 2017 where Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists (PES), was in the country together with an international human rights fact-finding mission that criticized the killings under the administration’s drug war. The group also called for the immediate release from detention of De Lima.

Filibeck was supposed to attend the two-day Akbayan Party congress in Cebu last Sunday with about 20 other foreign delegates when he was stopped at the immigration and was informed he was in the blacklist order.

Contrary to the assertions of the administration, the senator said Filibeck did not commit any crime or interfere in the country’s internal affairs as a sovereign nation by voicing out his valid and legitimate criticism against the spate of extrajudicial killings in the government’s all-out war on drugs.

“The decision to blacklist another international human rights defender only proves that this administration dreads critics—both local and foreign— and will go the extra mile to silence them, just for the sake of protecting its indefensible policies,” she said.

The President, De Lima said, is stifling dissent by making it appear that any person who dares to speak out against his administration and its flawed and crooked policies is out to destabilize the government

“As part of the community of nations, the government should be able to accept criticisms from the international community, whether or not we agree with them,” she said.
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De Lima, in criticizing the administration move, pointed out that democratic countries like the Philippines should always welcome criticisms and not suppress dissent.

“Let us be reminded that the freedom to hold and express opinions without intrusion by the authorities is essential to a functioning democracy, even for foreign visitors,” she said.

“Foreign intervention is when a foreign government and its agents use malevolent schemes, whether within or outside the Philippines, to undermine its independence and territorial integrity, like what China is doing without any action from this administration,” she pointed out.

“None of the EU parliamentarians and officials who criticized Duterte’s human rights record have so far grabbed Philippine territories, only China did. Yet, all we hear is Duterte’s declaration of love for the Chinese President,” the senator added.