by Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News
Amidst questions raised by supporters of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about the U.S.’ entry ban against Philippine government officials behind the arrest and detention of Senator Leila de Lima.
A confirmation coming from no less than an influential staff member of one of the U.S. senators who pushed for the ban.
Tim Rieser, foreign policy aide of Senator Patrick Leahy tells ABS-CBN News that Senators Richard Durbin and Leahy included a provision in the Senate appropriations committee report that accompanies the annual appropriations bill.
Directing the u-s secretary of state to apply the law banning human rights violators from entering american soil to De Lima’s case.
Rieser admits it will ultimately be up to Pompeo to implement the congressional directive — but it will be hard to ignore, given the information from the U.S. state department, the United Nations, and human rights groups all saying De Lima is wrongly detained.
Rieser explains that concern for De Lima’s rights prompted the 2 U.S. Senators to propose the amendment.
In response, Malacanang banned the two senators from entering the Philippines, and on Monday, a third senator was added – Senator Edward Markey – who supports the ban.
Panelo reiterated the threat to require Americans to secure visas.