Thursday, January 23, 2020

US cancels Bato’s visa

Dela Rosa: For role as PNP chief in war on drugs MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa confirmed yesterday that the United States government has cancelled his visa, and he believes it is connected to the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs, which was launched during his stint as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

In a letter last December, Dela Rosa said he inquired with the US embassy about the status of his visa. “The reply was dated Dec. 27, but we received the official answer the day before my birthday, Jan. 20,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

He said the US embassy did not specify when the visa was cancelled or why. Dela Rosa said he was informed that he could still apply for a new visa.

“Basta mag-apply lang daw ako ulit kung gusto ko kasi the present visa was cancelled,” he said. Last December, it was reported that Dela Rosa had been banned from entering the US.

Dela Rosa believed the revocation of his 10-year visa was connected to allegations of extrajudicial killings perpetrated when he was PNP chief. He said he has no intention of asking for an explanation from the US government.

“I’m disappointed. We are just human. I’ve been helping my counterparts from the US government, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and other agencies. We have worked together, and now they cancelled my visa?” the senator said. “Who’s gonna be happy? I won’t be able to go there.” Dela Rosa said he would still apply for a visa if and when President Duterte accepts the invitation of US President Donald Trump to attend the special summit in the US. 

Last year, Trump signed the 2020 US budget that includes a provision authorizing the Secretary of State to prevent the entry of any Philippine official allegedly involved in the “wrongful detention” of Sen. Leila de Lima. Earlier this month, the US Senate also passed a resolution seeking sanctions against Philippine officials who supposedly had knowledge about De Lima’s detention and extrajudicial killings in the conduct of the Duterte administration’s campaign against drugs.

US Senate Resolution 142, authored by Sen. Edward Markey (Massachusetts), called on Trump to impose sanctions against Philippine officials pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The Magnitsky Act allows the US government to impose sanctions on foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses in any part of the world.