Entry ban on De Lima jailers not in final budget signed by Trump - blogger | Inquirer News

Entry ban on De Lima jailers not in final budget signed by Trump – blogger

/ 03:14 PM December 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Pro-Duterte blogger RJ Nieto has claimed that a provision banning the entry to the United States of those proven to be involved in the detention of Senator Leila de Lima was “nowhere to be found” in the final version of the 2020 national budget that US President Donald Trump recently signed.

In his Manila Bulletin column, Nieto said the “story about the supposed entry ban on Senator De Lima’s supposed persecutors is, for the lack of a better term, more f*cked up than you think it is.”



Last December 20, Trump signed the 2020 national budget, which included a provision that bans entry of those involved in the detention of Senator Leila De Lima into the United States.


The provision was specifically contained in the 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.

Under the said provision, the “Secretary of State shall apply subsection (c) to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of… Senator Leila De Lima, who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”

The subsection (c) referred to is the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of the United States, which allows the US to sanction foreign government officials it sees as human rights abusers.

“As expected, the Liberal Party and its supporters eagerly vocalized their abject happiness over the supposed development, while many administration members and their allies denounced it,” he wrote in his column.

“But here’s the problem: all of the jubilation and condemnation was for nothing,” he added.

Nieto said “the nearest thing related to the De Lima issue that can be found in the final text” was a certain section which stated that “officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members about whom the Secretary of State has credible information have been involved in significant corruption, including corruption related to the extraction of natural resources, or a gross violation of human rights shall be ineligible for entry into the United States.”


“As shown above, the clause on entry bans is the standard text in US Budget Laws since 2015 at the latest. In the absence of any provision that specifically pertains to the detained Senator De Lima, along with the lack of any new Trump executive order similar to the one in 2016, it logically follows that no such ban as reported over the past week exists,” he said.

But in a tweet last December 18, Senator Dick Durbin said the “amendment I passed with (Senator Patrick Leahy) restricting U.S. visas to all those involved in the troubling detention of Filipina Senator Leila de Lima (was) included in the final FY20 appropriations bill.”

“It’s time for her politically motivated imprisonment to come to an end,” Durbin’s tweet further read.

De Lima, who earlier included Nieto in the initial list of those responsible for her arrest and detention, also refuted the blogger’s claims and slammed him for merely “looking at one document and, thereafter, promptly concluding that it does not contain the provision banning my persecutors from entry into the US.”

READ: De Lima slams blogger on entry ban: What fake documents?

“In this case, the US Congress passed a large, single appropriations bill called an ‘omnibus bill’, in which the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations (SFOPs) language is included. The Final Bill is what you have presumably browsed,” the senator said.

“But the omnibus bill includes by reference as an intrinsic part thereof the Final Explanatory Statement, which makes reference to accompanying guiding reports,” she added.

De Lima explained that “on the first page of the Explanatory Statement, it states that unless specifically negated therein, the Report language originally included in the House and Senate SFOPs bill remains in force.”

De Lima said “the provision banning my persecutors” stated in the Senate SFOPs bill report “was not specifically negated by the Explanatory Report.”

“Go back to the Explanatory Statement and ask yourself—does it specifically negate the language you found on page 93? You will see that it does not,” the senator told Nieto.

“Therefore, the entry ban is in effect. In short, it’s not fake news,” she went on.

Malacañang has since downplayed the ban.

It also ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny the entry of Durbin and Leahy into the Philippines.

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De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fiercest critics, has been in detention since February 2017 at the custodial center at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City over alleged “trumped up” drug charges.

TAGS: Leila de Lima, Nation, News, RJ Nieto, Rodrigo Duterte, US ban

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