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Palace describes US-PH ties ‘lukewarm’

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By Prince Golez

The relationship between Washington and Manila is “not as warm as before,” according to Malacañang.

Spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the remark Friday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to abrogate the country’s visiting forces agreement with the United States if the latter fails to “correct” its cancellation of Senator Bato dela Rosa’s visa.

“We can say that it’s not as warm as before. It’s lukewarm,” added Panelo.

Asked whether the government is cutting ties with the U.S., the Palace official told reporters: “Di ko alam.”

In a speech in Leyte on Thursday, Duterte said that U.S. senators who voted for a resolution condemning the continued detention of Senator Leila de Lima will be banned from visiting the Philippines.

“Those senators who voted for that resolution in the committee level, I will bar them from entering the Philippines in addition to Senators Dublin and (Leahy).

“They refused to believe De Lima is a criminal. That she was collecting money to use in her campaign. She just wants — that’s ambition. She wanted to run for senator because she wanted to run for president,” the President claimed.

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