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Duterte orders entry ban on 2 US senators, threatens to require US travelers to secure PHL visa —Palace

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered an entry ban on American Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy to the Philippines, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Friday.

It was Durbin and Leahy who introduced the provision in the United States 2020 federal budget prohibiting the entry of Philippine government officials involved in the detention of Senator Leila de Lima.

“The President is immediately ordering the Bureau of Immigration to deny US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, the imperious, uninformed, and gullible American legislators who introduced the subject provision in the US 2020 Budget, entry to the Philippines,” Panelo read statement during a briefing in Malacanang.

He added the government would also require American citizens to secure a visa before entering the Philippines if the US will impose the entry ban.

“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,” he said.

Asked if it includes dual citizens or Filipinos who are now US citizens, Panelo answered in the affirmative.

“All Americans e, if you are US citizen then you are an American,” he said.

He added that a visa will be required regardless of the purpose of the visit.

“We will not sit idly if they continue to interfere with our processes as a sovereign estate,” said Panelo.

He also reiterated that the case of De Lima is not one of persecution but of prosecution, adding that her case is already being heard by the courts with the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, affirming her incarceration as valid and lawful.

“No other state can dictate upon our officials, judges, and justices the method upon which we enforce or interpret our laws vis-à-vis those who are believed to have committed a violation against the same,” he said. — MDM, GMA News