MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. believes there is no justification for the cancellation of Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa’s US visa.
In a tweet Wednesday, Locsin claimed that "the intention of the US to cancel Dela Rosa's visa is to insult Philippine sovereignty."
"The scale of the stupidity and hypocrisy is breathtaking,” he said.
The top envoy's statement came after Dela Rosa said he will not file a plea to the US government for the reinstatement of his visa.
“Hindi naman tayo mayabang na magdedemand. Kung ayaw mo, di huwag nyo. If you don’t like me, I don’t like you also,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa led the government's bloody war on drugs during his stint as police chief from 2016 to 2018. The US has taken issue with the administration's alleged disregard for human rights in carrying out its narcotics campaign.
President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to end Manila's Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Washington if they did not reinstate Dela Rosa's US visa in a month.
Last Friday, Malacañang said they started the process of terminating the military pact, and will no longer await Washington’s response.
The military engagements of the US and the Philippines, including joint exercises and training, are anchored on the two countries' 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. A key provision of the pact allows one party to aid the other in times of attack by a third party.
In 1998, the VFA was forged to provide guidelines on treating US forces in the country.
A third, complementary accord, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, was signed in 2014, providing American forces wider access to Philippine military facilities, and allowing them to build structures and preposition defense equipment, supplies and materiel. The executive agreement is intended to boost Philippine defense capabilities, as well as facilitate quicker humanitarian assistance and disaster relief by the US. - with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News