The government yesterday lodged a stern protest against the “one China” policy adopted by the Philippine Court of Appeals in a ruling over the deportation to China earlier this year of 14 Taiwanese accused of involvement in an international fraud ring.
It “made no sense” for the Philippines’ appellate court to “incorrectly” tie the deportation by the Bureau of Immigration with the “one China” policy, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) told reporters.
Wu said the judges in the appellate court “compounded the mistake” made by the bureau by ruling in its favor, adding that the judges were “ignorant.”
Manila deported 14 Taiwanese and 10 Chinese fraud suspects to China on Feb. 2. The move was made despite attempts by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office officials in Manila and lawyers to have the 14 Taiwanese deported to Taiwan, and despite the Philippine Court of Appeals issuing a writ of habeas corpus for six of the 14.
The Court of Appeals on Monday junked the habeas corpus petition filed by the six regarding their arrest, detention and deportation, thereby clearing the Department of Justice and the bureau of any irregularity in the incident.
The court said it had been legal for the Philippines to deport the Taiwanese to China because of its “one China” policy, in which Taiwan is regarded as a province of China and thus the Taiwanese should be deported to China, GMA news reported in Manila.
“It need not be overemphasized that it was more prudent for the government to deport the petitioners to Mainland China pursuant to the ‘one China’ policy, [whereby] the Philippines recognizes Taiwan is a province of China. As a matter of fact, during the hearing on 16 March 2011, the counsel for the petitioners admitted that the adherence by the government to the ‘one China’ policy is a political question,” the court said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei sent a protest by telegraph to Manila on Monday to express its concerns, while Philippine Representative to Taiwan Antonio Basilio was summoned by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳) yesterday.
“I told Basilio that the ruling was unacceptable to Taiwan when we met [on Monday],” Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said.
Deportations in cross-border crime cases should be a matter of concurrent jurisdiction rather than a political issue, Yang said.
“Since the beginning, the Philippines had decided to deport the 14 Taiwanese to China, even citing its adherence to a ‘one China’ policy as a reason,” Yang said. “[It] should not attach a political meaning to the matter, which was a simple legal issue. We need to find out what the real purpose was.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers called the court’s announcement another “slap in the face for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration” and its foreign and cross-strait policies.
“The decision by the Philippines is entirely because of Ma’s policies on ‘one China,’” DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said. “It was a slap in the face at the time … but really what the Philippine government is doing is simply abiding by [that principle].”
DPP spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) cited comments made by Ma, including that Taiwan and China did not have a state-to-state relationship, but rather a “special” relationship, as the most likely basis for Manila’s actions.