MANILA - Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday said Hong Kong's denial of entry to former top diplomat Albert del Rosario was a "retaliatory move."
The two officials earlier hauled Chinese President Xi Jinping to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity over China's excessive claims in the disputed South China Sea.
Last month, Morales was also barred from entering the territory when she flew there for a family vacation.
"It’s probably the same reason as that behind my denial of entry to Hong Kong, which had to do with the filing of communication at the Office of the Prosecutor in the ICC," she told ABS-CBN News.
"It’s a form of harassment, a form of bullying. It’s a retaliatory move against us. Maybe that is intended to scare us but on the contrary, instead of being scared, the more reason we’d like to push through with the complaint."
Morales added that Hong Kong violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations when it denied entry to Del Rosario.
"The denial of entry of the ambassador despite the fact that he holds a diplomatic passport is a violation of the Vienna Convention," she said.
"After all, he does not stay there for 24 hours, he arrives in Hong Kong in the morning, attends corporate meeting noontime, then returns afternoon or late in the day."
Morales, meantime, said Del Rosario could have not predicted that he would be barred from entering Hong Kong. This after Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Del Rosario should have learned from Morales' experience.
When asked about the silence of Malacañang on the incident, Morales said: "Either they don’t care or as they usually say, they want to get the facts first."