By Daniel Llanto
The United States made good its threat to ban the entry of alleged human rights violators from the Philippines starting with the cancellation of the US entry visa of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief now Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
On reports that his US visa was thus canceled, Dela Rosa said the US was “very biased” as he questioned his supposed role in extra-judicial killings (EJKs) that prompted the US to include his name in the unwanted list of visitors.
“Kayo mismo nandito man kayo sa Pilipinas, kayongmedia, sige nga, ako ba’y nag-encouragena patayin ‘yung mgadrug suspects? Ako ba’y nag-utos na patayin? Ako ba’y nagco-cover up sa mga ginagawa na kalokohan ng ating kapulisan?” the Senator asked.
Dela Rosa was responding to a reporter’s question that the basis of the cancellation of his US visa was his supposed role in EJKs.
While he has yet to inquire from the US embassy about the status of his visa, the Senator said he has been hearing about the rumor even before it was reported over the weekend.
The Senator admitted that he was dismayed by such reports.
“Sino bang masaya? Hindi ko na mabisita mga kapatid ko sa Amerika; mga pamangkinko hindi ko na mabibisita. ‘Pag may laban si Sen. Pacquiao hindi na ako makakapanooddahil hindi na ako makapasok doonso, masama ang loob ko talaga,” Dela Rosa said.
But Dela Rosa also recognized that the issuance of visa by any country is a privilege being given to a person, not a right.
“Pribilihiyo na binigay nila na pwede tayong pumasok sa kanilang bansa, pasalamat tayo”, said the Senator.
“Kung ngayon ibabawal na hindi na ako makapasok, ok lang rin. Pasalamat din ako atleast nakatikim na ako ng Amerikaa couple of times already” Dela Rosa added.
As former PNP chief of the national police, Dela Rosa spearheaded the Duterte administration’s bloody war on illegal drugs.
Asked on his preferred destination that he is now banned in the US, Dela Rosa said it would be “China.”
“Ang daming lakad-lakad ko dun sa Great Wall of China, masaya ka na” ,the former top cop added.
“Granting that it’s true na angbasis of cancellation is ‘yunginvolvement in EJK, well, they are very biased, they are misinformed, they are misled by their informants,” he told reporters.
Apart from involvement in EJKs, another reason for the US coming down hard on Duterte administration officials is the supposed arbitrary detention of Sen. Leila de Lima.
A resolution approved by the US Senate committee on foreign relations called on President Donald Trump to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act against Philippine government officials responsible for EJKs and “orchestrating” De Lima’s arrest.
Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. dismissed this US Senate resolution calling for De Lima’s immediate release as “idiotic.”
In a tweet over the weekend, Locsin said “Even a Philippine Senate resolution is not one of the ways of ending a criminal trial; there’s only acquittal or conviction or dismissal by a demurrer to evidence.”
“But a US Senate resolution? Aside from separation of powers there’s the independence of nations,” he pointed out.
But De Lima argued that there are other ways to end a criminal trial. “You cannot be that naïve or close-minded in failing or refusing to see what the rest of the world sees: that the charges against me are pure fiction, a product of orchestrated lies assembled by certain officials and operators on explicit orders of Duterte as the highlight of his personal vendetta against me,” De Lima said in a statement from Camp Crame.
The detained Senator explained the US Senate does not really expect the Philippine government to follow its demand as if they had the authority to order it.