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Philippines Duterte's government accused of gagging dissent after deporting an EU official

An Italian Socialist Party MP was sent packing from Cebu airport for engaging in ‘illegal political activities’

THE Philippine government was accused of gagging dissent today after yesterday’s deportation of an EU party official for engaging in “illegal political activities.”

Italian Socialist Party MP Giacomo Filibeck was refused entry to the country. He was due to attend a congress at the invitation of opposition party Akbayan.

Mr Filbeck, the deputy general secretary of the Party of European Socialists (PES), was part of a fact-finding delegation in October 2017 that accused Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte of the “extrajudicial killings” of thousands of people in his “anti-drug war.”

Part of an international delegation due to attend the two-day conference, he was detained shortly after landing at Cebu airport and forced to leave the country. His fellow delegates were allowed to enter.

In a statement today Akbayan condemned Mr Filibeck’s deportation “in the strongest terms.

“This unfortunate incident only shows how paranoid this government is in keeping the rest of the world blind [to] the damage President Duterte has done to our country.”

Akbayan spokesman Tom Villarin said: “This is a gag order to all and sundry that you cannot look into the human rights situation in the Philippines.”

He warned that the actions of the Duterte government showed that the degree of impunity had “risen to the level of a dictatorship.”

PES president Sergei Stanishev slammed the forced deportation of Mr Filibeck as “unacceptable,” adding: “Clearly, the president intends to silence criticism of his deadly policies both at home and abroad.”

But Philippines Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra claimed that Mr Filibeck had been blacklisted for breaking the country’s immigration laws that ban foreign visitors from taking part in political activities.

Mr Duterte has organised a brutal crackdown on opposition to his rule since being elected in 2016, pledging to rid the country of “drug-dealers.”

He has been engaged in a brutal war with the New People’s Army, threatening to shoot its women in the vagina and offering a £340 cash reward to those who kill communists.

Thousands have been killed in the crackdown and Mr Duterte is now under investigation by the International Criminal Court.

The incident has been reported to EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini.

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