Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III has slammed the United States for allegedly cancelling the visa of Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa for his supposed involvement in extrajudicial killings.

Tito Sotto blasts US over reported cancellation of Bato’s visa: Naniwala kayo sa kwentong kutsero!

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Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has slammed the United States for allegedly cancelling the visa of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa for his supposed involvement in extrajudicial killings.

In a radio interview Saturday (December 14), Sotto challenged the US government to show proof that the drug suspects who died during the Duterte administration were victims of extrajudicial killings.

Related story:Baka mapahiya ako! Bato admits skipping Pacquiao-Thurman fight over US visa issues

“Naniwala sila agad sa kuwentong kutsero. Bigay niyo sa akin ang listahan ng mga pangalan ng napatay. Susuportahan ko kayo. Pagbibintangan nila si Bato, eh ang ibang pagpatay nangyari umpisa pa lang ng [drug war] campaign. Sila-sila nagpapatayan,” he said.

Dela Rosa was chief of the Phiilippine National Police when the Duterte administration launched the war on drugs.

Sotto said the US government’s action, if confirmed, showed it believes unverified information about supposed extrajudicial killings.

“Hindi maganda kung totoo ‘yun kasi ‘di pa naman nila alam kung totoo ang EJK. Pag-aralan muna nila,” he said.

Politiko reported that the US had cancelled Dela Rosa’s visa since May 2019.

A soource told Politiko that US officials had cited the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) as basis for the cancellation of the senator’s visa.

ARIA allows the US to provide $1.5 billion in security assistance to its allies in the Indo-Pacific region on the basis of promoting democracy, human rights and rule of law.

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Ping thanks IATF for uniform travel protocols

Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Saturday thanked the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for approving uniform travel protocols.

Lacson said local travel restrictions should be left to the local government units since the local leaders know the situation on the ground.

“Thank you, for the sake of the country’s economy. Local travel restrictions should be left to the LGUs. Their leaders know their local conditions better than anybody else in the national government,” he said in a post on his Twitter account.

Malacañang earlier announced the IATF had approved uniform travel protocols for LGUs.

LGUs can now secure COVID-19 vaccine donations from rich cities, private sector – Tolentino

Administration Senator Francis Tolentino has lauded the swift passage of the “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act,” which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday.

The new law will expedite the procurement and administration vaccines for the deadly coronavirus disease.

The law allows local government units (LGUs) to accept donations of COVID-19 vaccines from fellow LGUs and private entities—a provision of the law Tolentino has introduced during the Senate deliberations earlier this month.

Tolentino explained that donated vaccines must be registered with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as proven by a valid Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and cleared by the FDA before they could be accepted by the LGU.

After acceptance, the donation must then be reported by the receiving LGU to the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF).

Tolentino stressed that the new law will enable well-off LGUs to donate part of their COVID-19 vaccine supply to poor LGUs which don’t have enough funds to procure vaccines for their citizens.

Meanwhile, the Senator clarified that the new law will not change existing laws on donations, particularly the provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines but will just be a temporary and time-bound measure. (JCC)

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Was there a so-called sell-bust? Were the operatives played by an informant? And who fired first?

These were the three angles raised by Sen. Panfilo Lacson as authorities prepare to look into the deadly encounter between police and anti-drug operatives in Quezon City.

At least four people were killed in the encounter between the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency near a mall last Feb. 24.

“There couldn’t be two drug buy-bust operations between the PDEA and PNP operatives. One party must be doing ‘sell-bust’ which is prohibited. If they had a common informant, they had been played. Then, find out who fired first. These are the three angles that the probe should focus on,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account.

Both the PNP and PDEA insisted their respective personnel were conducting legitimate and coordinated anti-drug operations at the time.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte tasked the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the incident.

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