Philippine envoy to US confirms entry ban of some officials believed part of senator's detention
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez has confirmed the entry ban of Philippine officials believed to be involved in the detention of Senator Leila de Lima, according to a Malacanang official on Sunday.
In an interview over Radyo Inquirer, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the ban against government officials is true after US President Donald Trump signed their 2020 budget.
“When I was talking to US Ambassador Babes Romualdez, he said there is such law. The ban is true,” Panelo said.
Despite the confirmation, Panelo said the ban doesn’t matter to the administration.
“What's important to us (is) if they ban any government official, then what I said (earlier), we will require them to apply for visa and the ban on the two senators,” he said.
Panelo said Romualdez has talked to the two senators but their minds are already set.
The presidential spokesperson said the incident will not affect the bilateral relationship of the two countries.
“What we don’t want is for them to meddle on our process,” he said.
Panelo made the clarification after a pro-Duterte blogger claimed in his newspaper column that the ban against Philippine officials were fake as it is not included in the final version of what Trump signed.
US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy pushed for the inclusion of a provision in the US budget law banning Filipino government officials responsible for the detention of De Lima.
They are urging the government to release the senator or give her a fair trial but according to Panelo, their statements showed just how “ignorant” they are.
“That only shows they are ignorant. We have already explained many times that fair he is saying. Problem is they don’t study first before speaking,” he said.
On the visa requirements for Filipinos who obtained US citizenship, Panelo said they might have different requirements. He did not elaborate. Ella Dionisio/DMS