UPDATED: The Philippine government will require all Americans to apply and secure visa before entering Philippine territory if the United States government will ban from entering US territory a Philippine government official involved in Senator Leila de Lima’s imprisonment, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo said December 27.
“While some media outlets have been twisting this information in their headlines as an outright ban against Philippine officials involved in the case of Senator de Lima from travelling to the US, the Palace has explained that the subject provision is inefficacious given that the Filipina Senator is not “wrongfully imprisoned” and therefore, the impossibility for the US Secretary of State to receive “credible information” with regard thereto,” Secretary Panelo said.
“Should a ban from entry into US territory be enforced against Philippine officials involved in or by reason of Senator de Lima’s lawful imprisonment, this government will require all Americans intending to come to the Philippines to apply and secure a visa before they can enter Philippine territory,” Panelo said.
Moreover, Secretary Panelo said the Bureau of Immigration is ordered to deny entry to Senators Richard Joseph Durbin and Patrick Leahy, the proponents of the said ban.
“Meanwhile, the Philippines is immediately ordering the Bureau of Immigration to deny US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy – the imperious, uninformed, and gullible American legislator who introduced the subject provisions in [US] 2020 budget,” he added.
Panelo said that the case of Senator de Lima is not a persecution, but a prosecution. He added that the case is already being tried by Philippine courts.
“No less than the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, has ruled on the validity of her detention,” Panelo said.
“We will not sit idly if they continue to interfere with our processes as a sovereign state,” he noted.