Manila – The Philippines on Friday banned the entry of 2 US senators who supported detained Senator Leila de Lima amid possible US bans on Filipino officials behind the arrest.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny Philippine entry to US Senators Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin after seeking to ban Filipino officials involved in what they called “false imprisonment” by De Lima, a critical critic of administration.
“The President immediately ordered the Bureau of Immigration to reject US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, the ill-prepared, unorganized and persuasive American lawmakers who introduced the subject matter into the US 2020 Budget, entering the Philippines, “Duterte spokesman Salvador Panelo said Friday.
De Lima’s restraint is included in the provisions of the $ 1.4-trillion 2020 government budget signed by US President Donald Trump earlier this month.
A “Prohibition on Entry” budget provision allows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to block US government officials from entering the US if he has “credential information” on their involvement in ” false imprisonment “to De Lima.
If the US pushes the ban on Filipino officials in the De Lima case, Panelo said Americans planning to visit the Philippines will be required to secure a visa.
“Should a ban be imposed on entering US territory against Philippine officials involved – or in due course – in Senator de Lima’s legal detention, this government will require all American plotters to come forward Philippines to apply for and secure a visa before they can enter the Philippine Territory, ”Panelo said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the ban on 2 U.S. lawmakers was effective immediately as the possible visa requirement for Americans still depends on how Washington would enforce its ban in connection with the De Lima case.
“It appears therefore that the President’s counterpart depends on the actual implementation of the US ban on certain Filipino individuals,” Guevarra said.
De Lima has been jailed since February 2017 over allegations that he received payments from incarcerated drug lords during his time as chief justice. He repeatedly denied the allegations, exploding his detention as “political persecution.”
This report is from, ABS-CBN News