Foreigners Cannot Join Rallies?


“Foreigners have no business joining rallies here as it is tantamount to interfering in our country’s domestic political activities,” Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said in a statement. (Source:

Under the law, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has two broad responsibilities: (1) admit, register, and monitor desirable aliens; and (2) to exclude or deport undesirable aliens.

From the above-said assertion, it seems that if an alien joins a political rally (to be specific), he becomes undesirable under the eyes of the government.  Although there is an ocean of difference between being legally undesirable than merely being annoying, noxious or simply vigilant, Commissioner Libanan appears to see no distinction whatsoever.

The overbroad concept of undesirability as applied in this case is dangerous since it is open to abuse when it comes to its application or implementation.  For one, a domestic political activity may be considered as much an international in impact than local.  And with this era of interdependence between States in the community of nations, a country’s political situation cannot be totally brushed aside or ignored by other nations by simply saying that an otherwise harmless act committed by an alien meddles with a country’s domestic political activity.

Still, it can be argued that the proper person to raise or object or even express it’s view regarding their stand to other nation’s political issues is that other State(s) through diplomatic channels and not the wandering alien who owes the receiving State a little bit more of its allegiance and respect.  In international law, however, we have international organizations as recognized subjects or players in the international arena of politics.  Thus, these aliens who represent their international organization cannot be singled out as the ones who really become undesirable as they are only pions in this political masquerade of our times.

On the meager side of internationally binding covenants – the UDHR, among others – to deport or expel an alien for reasons of political belief or disbelief which do not even constitute a municipal law crime at the very least, is in a clear reckless disregard of a commitment timely-honored in the concept of pacta sunt servanda.

Rallies have at one time-another toppled Philippine governments.  Sadly, though, it is the act of rallying which became “Sauron’s Ring” and not the evil committed by guilty public officers.  We saw the crowd but not the purpose.  And that mentality has stuck into us already.

Lastly, nowhere in the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 is it stated that the mere act of rallying or joining a rally constitute an offense against the receiving State (Philippines) or its government.   I agree, however, that “foreigners have no business joining rallies here.”  But, to my mind, they are not per se committing any wrong against the Philippines if ever they join in one.

Graphics Credit: Murderdoll17 of

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