DOJ begins termination process of VFA

And so it begins. President Duterte has ordered the Department of Justice to start the termination process of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed this on Friday when asked to comment on Mr. Duterte’s ‘threat’ to terminate VFA following the cancelation of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s United States visa.

Dela Rosa, a former chief of the Philippine National Police before he joined the Senate, is a staunch ally of the President.

“All I can say is that the DOJ has been tasked to study the proper procedure to terminate the VFA. We are doing it now,” Guevarra said.

Dela Rosa on Wednesday disclosed that his U.S. visa had been canceled and was told he can re-apply to secure a visa again.

Recently, US President Donald Trump has signed into law the US 2020 budget that included a provision banning jailers of Senator Leila de Lima from setting foot on American soil

A provision on “Prohibition on Entry” bared that the US Secretary of State “shall apply subsection (c) to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of… de Lima who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”

Likewise, the provision, an amendment in the 2020 State and foreign operations appropriations bill, banned government officials from Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia over the “wrongful detention” of American citizens or staff of a US diplomatic mission.

De Lima, who is now detained at the PNP Custodial Center on charges of illegal drugs, earlier identified Filipino officials allegedly involved in her wrongful incarceration.

US Senators Richard Durbin (Illinois) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont) sought the amendment on the 2020 state and foreign operations appropriations bill.

It was approved by the Senate appropriations committee and House of Representatives and was included in the final 2020 appropriations bill.

De Lima identified some of her jailers as
President Duterte, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, online bloggers Mocha Uson, Sass Rogando Sasot, and RJ Nieto.

De Lima also named the following former and incumbent officials: former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Public Attorney Office Chief Persida Acosta, Sandra Cam, Dante Jimenez, and Congressmen Rey Umali and Rudy Fariñas.

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