MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said on Saturday, December 14, that he has not received any official communication from the US regarding a report that his US visa was cancelled.
According to a Politiko report published earlier on Saturday, “Dela Rosa can no longer visit the United States after Washington intensified its crackdown on supposed violators of human rights.”
Citing an unnamed source, Politiko said Dela Rosa’s US visa was revoked in May under the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which allots $1.5 billion to US allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
Responding to queries from reporters, Dela Rosa’s staff forwarded a message from the senator, which read, “No official [communication] from US authorities yet.”
The US measure requires recipient states to promote the rule of law, democracy, and international human rights conventions. It also sanctions groups or persons who violate those conventions.
Dela Rosa, as PNP chief, was the primary operator of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs from July 2016 to April 2018. Thousands of people have been killed in the brutal campaign against illegal drug suspects – more than 20,000 to date, according to human rights groups.
Rappler sought comment from the US Embassy in Manila, but it has yet to issue an official response as of posting time.
On December 11, the US Senate foreign relations committee unanimously approved a resolution to sanction human rights offenders in the case of detained Senator Leila de Lima, and extrajudicial killings in the drug war.
Invoking the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that imposes travel bans on offenders and freezes their assets, the US Senate committee zeroed in on officials responsible for the drug war killings, and De Lima’s “arrest and prolonged detention.”
De Lima was arrested in February 2017 on drug charges based on testimonies from convicts. She had been leading a Senate investigation of extrajudicial killings in the drug war.
The US Senate panel’s resolution has yet to be approved in plenary, and is not yet implemented. – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.