Taiwan’s gesture of diplomatic goodwill just set an unnerving precedent that affects over 150,000 Filipinos working legally on the island.
The News Lens
By: Nick Aspinwall
Angelito Banayo, the Philippines’ top envoy to Taipei, thanked Taiwan last week for deporting Ricardo “Ardot” Parojinog, a former city councilor who is suspected of drug trafficking in his home country, in a move that could affect Taiwan’s 150,000-strong Filipino population.
Under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine police have extrajudicially killed between 4,000 and 20,000 suspected drug traffickers and users, and Duterte insists that the practice of denying drug suspects due process will continue. Taiwan’s cooperation thus comes as bad news for any Filipino who is accused of drug crimes by Taiwanese or Philippine authorities, and human rights advocates are deeply worried.
“As a matter of policy, the Taiwanese government should suspend any deportations of Filipinos who have been accused of drug-related offenses in their home country,” Andrea Giorgetta, director of the Asia desk of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), told The News Lens.
In 2017, U.S. federal immigration courts in Hawaii and California blocked the deportations of Filipinos convicted of drug charges when judges said their extraditions, under the Duterte administration, would amount to death sentences, citing the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Torture in the California case.