Senator Leila De Lima insisted Saturday (December 28) that a provision in the United States 2020 national budget bans her jailers from setting foot in the US, amid critics’ claim that the clause is non-existent.
In a statement addressed to blogger RJ Nieto, De Lima said scrutinizing the US appropriations law “requires more diligence than just looking at one document.” She said it cannot be concluded that the provision banning her jailers from entering the US does not exist simply because it cannot be found in the copy of the law signed by US President Donald Trump.
She said the controversial provision is in the explanatory report, which is supposedly included in the final explanatory statement that forms part of the appropriations bill.
“The provision banning my persecutors is stated therein and it was not specifically negated by the Explanatory Report. Hence, it remains in force,” De Lima said.
The senator then listed down the steps to verify the existence of the provision in the US spending plan.
“Step 1. Look at the Final Bill, which refers to the Explanatory Statement.
Step 2. Now, look at the Explanatory Statement, which makes reference to the House and Senate SFOPs bill Reports.
Step 3. Look at the Senate SFOPs bill Report, specifically top of page 93. There you will see what you are looking for. It’s the “Prohibition on Entry” provision which specifically mentions, and made applicable to, my situation.
Step 4. Go back to the Explanatory Statement and ask yourself—does it specifically negate the language you found on page 93? You will see that it does not,” she said.
“Therefore, the entry ban is in effect. In short, it’s not fake news,” De Lima added.
The controversial provision in the US national budget 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.