Ball now in US court after Duterte’s threat to junk VFA – Lorenzana
MANILA, Philippines — The United States will now have to deal with and respond to President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) after Washington canceled the visa of Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.
“The ball is in the US’ hands. Let’s see how they react to PRRD’s (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s) statement,” Lorenzana told reporters.
Duterte on Thursday lashed out at the US government for canceling the visa of Dela Rosa, his political ally, likely due to the former police chief’s key role in the administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign which claimed thousands of lives.
The President gave the US one month to fix the canceled visa of Dela Rosa, which was supposedly set to expire in 2022.
“I’m giving notice. I’m giving the American government one month from now,” he said.
Lorenzana, who initially declined to comment on the President’s statements, now said he understood where the President was coming from.
“I can understand why PRRD is peeved by the cancellation of Senator Bato’s visa because of alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with the drug war,” he said.
Lorenzana said the US government’s action was a “direct affront to PRRD being the architect of the drug war that he started upon his assumption of office.”
He said the President was “just being true to his promise” to take responsibility for the official actions of his men and that he would go to prison for them.
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