Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines has banned two U.S Senators from entering his country. He further threatened to mandate all US citizens to apply for a visa.
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said the president has directed the Bureau of Immigration to reject the application of Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy to enter the Philipines. Both Senators are US citizens.
The decision was in retaliation to a provision in the U.S national budget that bans the Philippines officials implicated in the alleged detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lime on charges of illegal drug dealing in the United States.
Senators Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin introduced the provision in the US national budget
According to Salvador Panelo,
“Should a ban from entry into U.S territory be enforced against Philippine officials involved in or by reason of Senator de Lima’s lawful imprisonment.
“This government will require all Americans intending to come to the Philippines to apply and secure a visa before they can enter Philippine territory,’’ Panelo said.
Salvador noted that Durbin and Leahy were imperious, uninformed and gullible for assuming that de Lima was wrongfully imprisoned.
“The case of Senator de Lima is not one of persecution but of prosecution, Panelo said. “In fact, it is already being heard by our courts.’’
De Lima was detained in February 2017 on the charge that she received bribes from illegal drug lords who were imprisoned when she was head of the Department of Justice.
De Lima denied the allegations and accused the Duterte administration of political persecution.