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‘Di na makaka-biyahe sa US! Trump OKs ban on De Lima’s jailers

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United States President Donald Trump has signed into law the 2020 national budget, which contains a provision banning the entry of Philippine officials behind Senator Leila de Lima’s detention.

The clause on banning Philippine officials is included in the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill 2020, which Trump signed as part of the US government’s $1.4-trillion budget.

Related story:Cayetano slams US ban on officials involved in De Lima detention: ‘Do we follow US or SC?’

The bill allows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “apply sub-section (c) to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of… Senator Leila De Lima who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”

Sub-section (c) refers to the Global Magnitsy Human Rights Accountability Act, a US law which allows the American government to ban suspected human rights violators from entering the US, as well as freeze their assets.

US Democrat Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy were behind the inclusion of the provision on banning De Lima’s jailers in the US government’s spending package.

De Lima previously named the following as responsible behind her detention for drug-related charges: President Rodrigo Duterte, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, former Presidential Communications Operations Office official Mocha Uson, Sass Rogando Sasot, and RJ Nieto, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, former Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Public Attorneys Office chief Persida Acosta, Sandra Cam, Dante Jimenez, Representatives Rey Umali and Rudy Fariñas.

De Lima has called the charges behind her as bogus and part of political persecution since she is a vocal administration critic.

Durbin and Leahy made the provision likewise applicable to Egyptian government officials involved in jailing American citizen Mustafa Kassem, and government officials of Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia who detained locally employed staff of a US diplomatic mission or a US citizen or national.

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