'Why blame me?': Bato 'bothered' that canceled visa led to VFA termination
"Ako ang sinisisi? My case was just the last straw. It was an actuation of gripes and disrespect na ginawa nila sa atin," the former police chief said. 
The Star/Mong Pintolo, file
'Why blame me?': Bato 'bothered' that canceled visa led to VFA termination
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - February 12, 2020 - 12:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said Tuesday that he regrets that the cancellation of his US visa was what led to President Duterte to terminate the country's Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States.

He stressed that his case was just the latest in a list of "gripes and disrespect" by the US government.

RELATED: Beyond Bato's US visa: A look at issues previously raised against VFA

Dela Rosa said the US Embassy had confirmed in January that his visa had been canceled although he said they did not tell him why.

"Bothered ako. Nakukunsyesya ako," he said. 

Shortly after the cancellation of his visa, Dela Rosa said he believes it was due to his former role in implementing the government's "war on drugs".

Dela Rosa was appointed chief of national police as President Rodrigo Duterte launched his campaign against illegal narcotics, which rights groups say has claimed over 27,000 lives in summary executions and killings.

The government has denied this but acknowledges more than 5,000 "drug personalities" have been killed in law enforcement operations because they allegedly violently resisted arrest. 

"Ako ang sinisisi? My case was just the last straw. It was an actuation of gripes and disrespect na ginawa nila sa atin," the former police chief said. 

US Senate seeks sanctions

This came after the United States Senate passed a resolution invoking the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and calling on US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Philippine officials involved in what they tagged the "wrongful" detention of De Lima and in alleged extrajudicial killings in the conduct of the government's crackdown against illegal drugs.

READ: 2020 US budget includes ban on people behind 'wrongful imprisonment' of De Lima

The aforementioned act allows the Executive Branch of the United States government to impose financial sanctions and travel restrictions on those they deem to be human rights violators. 

A separate resolution, included in the US budget law, calls for the banning of government officials involved in De Lima's continued detention. The government has said that this is interference in a domestic issue and has said that De Lima has the opportunity to defend herself in court. 

Although Dela Rosa insists the provision and the resulting visa cancellation had nothing to do with the agreement's termination, Duterte also threatened the abrogation almost immediately after news of Dela Rosa's visa cancellation broke. He even gave the US a month to "correct" the cancellation of the visa. 

RELATED: Fact check: Locsin says no provision in US federal budget banning De Lima jailers

The US Budget, though, is a public document that anyone can access online. 

'Not on a whim'

The Palace has asserted that the decision was not made on a whim and was a "a studied response to acts that the president deems to be not only an intrusion but an assault to the sovereignty of this country."

READ: 'Not on a whim': Duterte's VFA decision was studied, Palace says

2020 US BUDGET BILL GLOBAL MAGNITSKY HUMAN RIGHTS ACCOUNTABILITY ACT PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE
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