Dispatch from Crame No. 710: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the basis of the cancellation of Sen. Dela Rosa’s US visa


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Certain news reports appear to attribute the revocation of the US Visa of former PNP Director-General (now Senator) Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa – and, perhaps, those of other police generals – to the Prohibition on Entry Provision in the 2020 US Appropriations Act and US Senate Resolution No. 142.

I do not think this is accurate.

To be sure, S. Res. No. 142 calls for, among others, the imposition of the Global Magnitsky sanctions, e.g., an entry ban, on those responsible for my persecution and also on perpetrators of EJKs. But, like the Approp Act, it could not have been (or not yet) the basis for the cancellation of Sen. Bato’s US visa.

Note, that although the “rumors” about said cancellation was confirmed only recently, such rumors have been floating even prior to the enactment of both the Approp. Act and S. Res. No. 142, as triggered last July 2019 when Sen. Bato wanted to fly to Las Vegas to watch a boxing match but, instead, had to settle for watching it in a theater in Rockwell.

Hence, the recent US legislative measures relating to my persecution and continued detention could not have been the basis for Sen. Bato’s visa problems.

While the Global Magnitsky Act, as referenced in S. Res. No. 142 relative to “members of the security forces and officials of the Government of the Philippines responsible for extrajudicial killings,” may also be the basis, it would seem that the real basis, given the timeline, is most likely a separate US law, the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (the “ARIA” law, not to be confused with my “Arya List”) which was signed by President Trump as far back as December 31, 2018.

Said law is the US Government’s explicit confirmation that the values of universal human rights, freedom of the press, rule of law, good governance and democracy are primary pillars of its foreign policy direction in the Indo-Pacific region. Most significantly, it aims to safeguard against the use of US taxpayers’ money and other resources to (inadvertently) funding or otherwise assisting the perpetration of human rights abuses, the dismantling of the rule of law or the erosion of democratic values in the region. Thus, one of the key provisions is Section 408, which mandates the US President to “impose targeted financial penalties and visa ban sanctions… on any individual or entity that (1) violates human rights or religious freedoms; or (2) engages in censorship activities.”

That, I believe, is the real source of Sen. Bato’s first world woes. He was tragically deprived of the privilege to watch a boxing match in Las Vegas live because of the poor Filipinos he had helped deprive of life and justice. Meantime, big time drug lords like Peter Lim are at large, likely living the high life, as he continues to evade justice because of his friendship with people in high places.

In any case, all these pieces of US legislation are interrelated mechanisms of accountability that aim to secure and promote human rights, press freedom, good governance, the rule of law and and democracy. Like ARIA, the Global Magnitsky Act is a particularly potent weapon against abuses.

I just hope that more people, particularly our public officials, would appreciate and embrace the value of these mechanisms, which promote universal values that transcend geographies and are profoundly beneficial to humanity.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 710, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._710)

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