PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday threatened to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) if Washington does not reverse its cancellation of the visa Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
In his speech during his visit to Leyte, the President said he was giving the US government a month to “correct” the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa.
“Now they won’t let Bato go to America. That I’m warning you — this is the first time — if you don’t correct it, one, I will terminate the bases Visiting Forces Agreement. I’ll end that son of a b****,” Duterte said in a mix of Filipino, English and Bisaya.
“I’m giving notice and they begin to count. I’m giving government, and the American government one month from now, for us to talk. I will terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement,” he said.
The President also threatened to ban US senators who voted for a resolution that prohibited those involved in Sen. Leila De Lima’s detention from entering the Philippines.
“Second, I will ban the senators who voted for that resolution in the committee level from entering the Philippines in addition to Senator (Dick) Dublin and that damned — his name is… That’s true. Do you know why? This is just in honor of — my sentiments for the people, the Filipinos, the children, and the wives that they killed,” Duterte said.
“They refuse to believe De Lima is a criminal, that she was collecting money to use in her campaign. She’s ambitious. She wanted to run for senator because she wanted to run for president),” he said in part.
Duterte’s declaration came after Dela Rosa on Wednesday confirmed that the US had canceled his visa.
The senator said he wrote to the US Embassy in Manila in December 2019 to ask if his visa, which was supposed to expire in 2022, had been canceled.
“I sent an official letter to the US Embassy inquiring from them, if really my visa was cancelled,” said Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
“I received the official answer, the day before my birthday, January 20. It was a good birthday gift. They informed me that my visa is no longer valid for travel to US,” he said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE