(July 09, 2020) – A lawmaker denied on Thursday that he asked President Rodrigo Duterte or the United States Embassy in the Philippines to restore his US visa.
Senator Ronald Dela Rosa confirmed yesterday that the US Embassy called him to arrange his visa after the pandemic. This happened after the phone call between Duterte and US President Donald Trump.
“Masaya dahil yun nga nalungkot tayo nung nawala,” Dela Rosa told reporters, “Nanggaling sa kanila yung initiative na aayusin nila yung visa, then pasalamat tayo.”
The senator denied though that he asked for it.
“That is really unbecoming on my part naman kasi senador ka na tapos magmamakaawa ka pa sa kanila na ibalik. Kung ayaw nila wag, kung ibalik nila eh di ibalik nila yun,” he said.
Dela Rosa also felt a bit slighted after Washington revoked his visa in a crackdown against human rights violators, particularly officials involved in the arrest and imprisonment of Senator Leila De Lima. The former national police chief, spearheaded Duterte’s drug war.
“Kahit na noon naman, di masama loob ko. Nagtampo lang ako sandali,” he shared.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque called out the US government for cancelling the visa of an elected lawmaker.
“Insulto ang nangyari, ‘di binigyang halaga na senador. Naliwanagan ang mga Amerikano na ‘di dapat ganyan ang pagtrato sa mga halal na opisyal,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque added on Thursday.
In response to the visa revocation, Duterte announced in February that the Philippines would be terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States. But last June, the Philippines suspended the abrogation for six months.
Dela Rosa said it was possible that military exercises could still continue between the two countries, a few days after the celebration of the Philippine-American Friendship Day.
“‘Baka pag gumanda ang relasyon natin, baka maibalik din, ‘di natin totally madisregard ang ating historical relations with the US, matagal na nating big brother ‘yan,” Dela Rosa said.
Roque though said the administration did not change its stand on the suspension of the VFA termination, which could be extended further for six more months. (Reports from Maeanne Los Baños, Ryan Ang | Katrina Elaine Alba/AGD)
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