The Philippines banned two US senators from visiting and will put more restrictions on American citizens who want to visit the island nation if Washington enforces sanctions over the detention of a top government critic, the president’s spokesman said.
Volatile President Rodrigo Duterte banned US Senators Richard Durbin, of Illinois, and Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, both Democrats, from entering the county. He also said he will impose visa requirements on US nationals if any Philippine officials involved in the jailing of Senator Leila de Lima are denied entry to the United States. About 792,000 Americans visited the Philippines in the first nine months of the year, with visa-free entry for up to 30 days.
Duterte’s move comes after Congress approved a 2020 budget that contains a provision introduced by Durbin and Leahy against anyone involved in holding de Lima — who was charged with drug offenses in 2017 after she led an investigation into mass killings during Duterte’s war on drugs — keeping them from entering the U.S.