MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has banned another United States lawmaker from entering the Philippines.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed Wednesday that Duterte banned Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts for calling for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima, and for supporting the entry ban to the US of Filipino officials believed to have had a hand in her detention.
“Yes, same reason for banning Durbin and Leahy. Truth to tell we do not have to state any ground to ban a foreign national entry in the Philippines. That is an exercise of sovereign right,” Panelo told INQUIRER.net in a text message.
Duterte has earlier ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy entry to the Philippines for pushing for the ban of Filipino officials who are allegedly behind the detention of de Lima.
De Lima has been detained at the custodial center of the Phiippine National Police in Quezon City since 2017 due to alleged drug charges.
In December 2019, President Donald Trump signed into law the US government’s $1.4-trillion 2020 budget, which included a provision that allows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to bar Philippine officials from entering the US if he has “credible information” that they were involved in the “wrongful imprisonment” of De Lima.
If the US would enforce the ban, Panelo said the Philippines would require Americans to secure visas before entering the country.
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