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.
“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.