Dela Rosa says he did not beg, talk to Duterte to have his US visa fixed
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday denied making any personal request to President Rodrigo Duterte to have his visa cancellation rectified.
This, after the neophyte senator disclosed that the US Embassy in Manila offered to process his visa following a phone call between Duterte and US President Donald Trump last April regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hindi ko po kinausap si Presidente tungkol diyan na i-workout niya na maibalik. No. In fact, yung nagalit siya about my visa, hindi ko siya tinawagan, nalaman lang niya sa balita na ganun nangyari, ganun ang naging reaksyon niya,” Dela Rosa told reporters in an online media interview.
(I did not ask the President to work out my visa issue. No. In fact, when he got angry about my visa being cancelled before, I did not call him, he only learned of it in the news, and that was how he reacted).
“That’s really unbecoming on my part na senador ka na, tapos magmamakaawa ka pa sa kanila na ibalik nila. Kung ayaw nila, ‘wag, pero kung gusto nila, e ‘di ibalik. Ganun naman ang stand natin. Kawawa naman ang Pilipinas na senador ng Pilipinas, magmakaawa sa kanila (US) na ibalik yung visa ko. Alam naman natin na privilege lang ‘yan,” he added.
(That’s really unbecoming on my part as a senator that I would plead for them to fix my visa. If they don’t want to, then so be it. The Philippines will look pitiful if one of its senators would beg the US government for a visa. We know that it’s a privilege).
The senator further disclosed that he thanked Duterte via text message when he learned that he can have his visa processed.
“After nung nasabihan ako na ibabalik, then nagtext ako sakanya (Duterte) nagpapasalamat. nagpasalamat ako sakanya na ibabalik na yung aking visa,” Dela Rosa said.
(After I was informed that my visa will be fixed, I texted him and said thank you).
Last January 23, President Rodrigo Duterte gave the US government 30 days to rectify the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa or else he would abrogate the two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement.
The Philippines officially pulled out from the defense agreement on February 11. However, the government suspended the VFA termination in light of the pandemic and “heightened superpower tensions.”
Dela Rosa also admitted feeling happy that the US Embassy offered to fix his visa.
“Masaya dahil ‘yun nga, nalungkot tayo nung nawala, masaya naman tayo kung ibabalik nila. But nevertheless, balik nila o hindi, alam naman natin na privilege lang ‘yan kung gusto nilang ibigay so hindi tayo makapag-insist,” he said.
(I’m happy because I felt sad when they cancelled my visa, so I feel happy now. But nevertheless, should they choose to fix it or not, we know that it’s a privilege so we really can’t insist).
“Pero ngayon na tinawagan tayo, ang initiative nanggagaling sakanila na aayusin nila yung visa then, pasalamat tayo. Masaya tayo,” the senator added.
(But they are the ones who took the initiative to fix my visa so I’m grateful. I’m happy).
The US government gave no reason for the cancellation of his visa but Dela Rosa suspects it might have been because of his role in the government’s brutal war on drugs especially during his time at the Philippine National Police (PNP).
As then chief of the PNP, Dela Rosa led the bloody drug war that resulted in the deaths of thousands of drug suspects.
While the senator said he was hurt after he earlier learned that his visa was cancelled, he said he could “live without” it.
“Nagtampo lang ako sandali, pero after that wala na…We can live without that,” he said during the online interview.
(I felt sad for a bit but after that it was okay…We can live without it).
“Kung hindi ako pwedeng makabisita sa kapatid, sila na lang pauwiin ko dito,” he added.
(If I can’t visit my siblings there, then I would ask them to come here instead).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.