Malacañang on Sunday confirmed through the Philippine Ambassador to the US that the provision banning the entry of Philippine officials involved in Senator Leila De Lima's detention does exist.
This was after pro-administration Facebook blog Thinking Pinoy, run by RJ Nieto, claimed in a post that the supposed provision on the entry ban under the US Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill was non-existent.
"The [Philippine] Ambassador to the US [Jose Manuel] 'Babe' Romualdez confirmed it but enforceable only when certain conditions imposed by the US law are met," Duterte's spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a message to reporters.
In his post, Nieto claimed that despite the many reports stating that the entry ban provision exists in US House Resolution 1865, it did not mention the words "de lima," "wrongful," and "imprisonment."
"I.e. there is no provision in the signed HR 1865 that contains the text as described in the various Philippine news reports published over the past week," it added.
De Lima was quick to criticize Nieto for jumping to conclusions after apparently reading only one document.
"Interpreting US appropriations Law requires more due diligence than just looking at one document and, thereafter, promptly concluding that it does not contain the provision banning my persecutors from entry into the US," De Lima said.
She added that the operations of the US Federal Government are "very broad and complex" and that preparing for its budget "will be more complicated" than what is done in the Philippines.
The entry ban provision has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order the ban of proponents US Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy from entering the Philippines.
He also threatened to require American citizens to secure a visa before entering the Philippines if the US pushes through with implementing the said provision.
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Sunday said it is pointless to file a diplomatic protest regarding the entry ban.
"Pointless na mag-diplomatic protest kasi conclusion ng mga legislator nila 'yun e. Wala nang epekto 'yun dito sa atin kasi meron tayong sariling process," Pimentel said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV aired on GMA News TV. —KG, GMA News