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Australian Professor Detained in Manila Calls Charges against Him Preposterous

The skyline of Manila with the Manila Central Post Office on the foreground

The skyline of Manila with the Manila Central Post Office on the foreground. Photo: Patrick Roque.

An 84-year-old Australian national detained by Philippine immigration authorities denied Monday alleged links with communist insurgents or any terror groups active in the country, including joining political rallies against government’s war on drugs that has left thousands of people dead.

Gil Boehringer, a professor from Australia who also holds an American passport, was prevented entry into Manila last Wednesday. He was charged with violating visa rules for allegedly joining protests against President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign.

The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) had also accused him of associating with “communist terror groups.”

“That is preposterous. It seems that in the Philippines today almost anyone can be labelled a terrorist or in association with terrorists. I deny the accusation. I certainly am not a supporter of terrorism from whatever source,” Boehringer told reporters.

He said that in February he did join a trip in the southern Mindanao region to visit a school for primary school children run by a tribal program.

But he said “there was no rally or political activity” there, and the trip was purely for research. Boehringer, a former dean at Macquarie University Law School in Sydney, said he was studying the circumstances for indigenous groups as an academician.

“I believe there is no basis for my exclusion from the Philippines in what was an educational experience for myself, the others who travelled with me into the mountain district, and also, I like to think, for those we met with there,” he said.

Boehringer’s lawyer, Maria Sol Taule, told reporters that the immigration bureau had yet to decide on a request for her client to stay in the country on medical grounds.

Taule said Boehringer still remained at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Monday, since his detention last week upon arrival from Sydney to visit his Filipina wife.

But Immigration spokeswoman Dana Krizia Sandoval explained that they denied the visit of the foreigner after he joined an anti-government demonstration in 2015 in violation of an order that prohibits foreigners from participating in political activities in the country.

Full story: BenarNews

Jeoffrey Maitem
Cotabato, Philippines. Felipe Villamor from Manila contributed to this report.

Copyright ©2018, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.