Philippines Sanctions US Senators, Threatens Harsher Entry Conditions for US Citizens

Banned from entering, for working to sanction Duterte's underlings

Process against De Lima is a political sham as is the norm in the Philippines — why that is any business of US lawmakers (in bed with everyone from Neo-Nazis to head-choppers to Hillary Clinton) is a mystery however

Editor’s note: In the grand scheme of things a pair of Dem senators who had no plans of traveling to the Philippines finding themselves blacklisted isn’t exactly a big deal, but symbolically we see a weak power fighting back, answering US sanctions with sanctions on US of its own. You don’t see that every day.

Not a big deal it does, but symbolically it’s a weak power sanctioning the US.

The Philippines has banned two U.S. lawmakers from visiting and will introduce tighter entry restrictions for U.S. citizens should Washington enforce sanctions over the detention of a top government critic, the president’s spokesman said on Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte will impose visa requirements on U.S. nationals should any Philippine officials involved in the incarceration of Senator Leila de Lima be denied entry to the United States, as sought by U.S. senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy.

Duterte’s move comes after the U.S. Congress approved a 2020 budget that contains a provision introduced by the senators against anyone involved in holding de Lima, who was charged with drug offences in 2017 after she led an investigation into mass killings during Duterte’s war on drugs.

“We will not sit idly if they continue to interfere with our processes as a sovereign state,” Philippine presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a news conference.

The Philippines grants visa-free entry for up to 30 days to Americans, 792,000 of whom visited in the first nine months of 2019, nearly 13% of foreign arrivals.

The U.S. embassy in Manila and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but Leahy’s spokesman David Carle called the charges against de Lima politically motivated, and added:

“This is about the right of Filipino citizens – and people everywhere – to freely express their opinions, including opinions that may be critical of government policies that involve the use of excessive force and the denial of due process.”

Panelo said travel restrictions over de Lima’s detention were nonsense because she was not wrongfully imprisoned but detained pending trial for crimes.

“The case of Senator de Lima is not one of persecution but of prosecution,” he said.

Duterte makes no secret of his disdain for the United States and what he considers its hypocrisy and interference, though he admits that most Filipinos and his military have high regard for their country’s former colonial ruler.

The United States is the Philippines biggest defense ally and millions of Filipinos have relatives who are U.S. citizens.

De Lima, a justice minister in a former administration, has won numerous awards from human rights groups, who consider her a prisoner of conscience.

She has called for an international investigation into Duterte’s war on drugs, in which thousands of people have been killed.

Police say those killed were drug dealers who resisted arrest, but activists say many of the killings were murders.

  1. Grand Nagus Zek says

    De Lima is a US state dept stooge.
    Duterte is right to tell the yanks to GFY – we need many more countries to do this.
    Trump is right to build the wall in the south; now if only he would build one to the north, along both coasts and put a roof on the place then we wouldn’t have to endure their scumbag empire

    1. David Bedford says

      I like him, he puts the interests of his own people ahead of those in the US.

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