PH to require visas for Americans if US ban on Filipino execs is enforced
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines would require Americans to secure visas before entering the country after Washington effectively banned Filipino officials from entering the United States over the continuing detention of opposition Sen. Leila de Lima.
“Should a ban from entry into US 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,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte “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.”
US President Donald Trump earlier signed their 2020 national budget, which included a provision that prohibits the entry of those involved in the detention of De Lima into the United States.
Panelo insisted that De Lima’s case “is not one of persecution, but of prosecution.”
He said “the Philippine Supreme Court, the highest court of our land, has affirmed the incarceration of Senator de Lima as valid and lawful.”
“No other state can dictate upon our officials, judges, and justices the method upon which we enforce or interpret our laws vis-à-vis those who are believed to have committed a violation against the same,” he said.
The drug cases lodged against De Lima have yet to reach the SC, contrary to Panelo’s claims, as these are still being heard at the Muntinlupa and Quezon City regional trial courts.
Panelo insisted that De Lima, who has been in detention since February 2017, was not “wrongfully imprisoned.”
“We reiterate that the Philippines is an independent and sovereign state. It stands in parity with all other states, including the US, and any form of pressure that is tantamount to an interference into its established justice system shall be reciprocated in accordance with our municipal law, as well as public international law or the law of the nations,” he said.
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