PH bans entry of 2 US senators backing De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny two United States senators who pushed for the ban of Filipino officials who are allegedly behind the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima in the US.
“The President is immediately ordering the Bureau of Immigration to deny US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, the imperious, uninformed and gullible American legislators who introduced the subject provision in the US 2020 Budget, entry to the Philippines,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing Friday.
President Donald Trump has signed the US government’s $1.4-trillion 2020 budget, which included a provision that allows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to bar Philippine officials from entering the US if he has “credible information” that they were involved in the “wrongful imprisonment” of De Lima.
De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fiercest critics, has been detained at the custodial center at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City over alleged drug charges.
Since Trump signed the 2020 US budget that included a provision on the ban on Filipino officials, Duterte has not made any public comment regarding the issue.
Panelo has initially downplayed the ban, saying Malacañang is not bothered by it.
The Palace official said the US government would not be able to establish “credible information” in the alleged “wrongful” detention of De Lima.
But if the US would enforce the ban, Panelo said the Philippines would require Americans to secure visas before entering the country.