Palace on US ban: ‘We are not bothered by it’
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration is “not bothered” by United States President Donald Trump’s approval of a ban against those involved in the imprisonment of Senator Leila De Lima.
The prohibition is contained in the 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill signed by Trump on Friday, December 20.
In a Palace briefing, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the US law required “credible information” before they could deny entry to a Philippine government official into the US.
“We’re not bothered by it,” Panelo said. “First, that’s their process. We cannot intrude in the same way we react when they intrude in our process. Number two, the very provision says there should be credible information before they ban any official in the Philippines.”
The Palace official expressed confidence that the US government would not be able to establish “credible information” in the alleged “wrongful” detention of De Lima as he insisted that the senator’s imprisonment went through the proper judicial process.
According to the prohibition, the “Secretary of State shall apply subsection to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of: (1) Mustafa Kassem, an American citizen imprisoned by the Government of Egypt and whose health is failing; and (2) Senator Leila De Lima, who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”
The stipulation was a part of an amendment of the law that was earlier proposed by US Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy.
Panelo said they will let the Department of Foreign Affairs decide whether it will file a formal communication to the US government to discuss the issue.
Edited by KGA
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