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Weather weather lang? Militant leader: Ending VFA shouldn’t be based on cancellation of Bato’s visa

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A militant leader who has long been calling for the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States isn’t rejoicing over President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to finally do it.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. expressed his dismay Friday (January 24) over Duterte’s announcement that he will end the VFA in retaliation against the US’ move to cancel Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s US visa.

Reyes tweeted that the cancellation of VFA should’ve been premised on the supposed abuses that American soldiers were able to commit in the Philippines because of it.

“Simplehan na lang po natin. Ang pagbasura sa VFA ay di dapat nakasalalay sa kung bibigyan ba o hindi ng US visa si Bato. Ang pagbasura sa VFA ay matagal nang dapat ginawa dahil ito ay di pantay. Kung gagawing sangkalan ito para magka-visa si Bato, anong klaseng policy ito?” he said.

Duterte on Thursday (January 23) threatened to terminate the VFA if the US doesn’t reverse its decision to cancel Dela Rosa’s visa.

The senator, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, confirmed to the media recently that his tourist visa to the US had been cancelled. However, he said the US embassy in Manila didn’t disclose the reason why it was revoked.

Politiko first reported in December last year that Dela Rosa’s US visa was cancelled in accordance with the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which imposes sanctions on individuals or entities which violate human rights.

Dela Rosa is accused of complicity in the Duterte administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs when he was PNP chief.

Reyes said the VFA’s cancellation should not be used as a bargaining chip for Dela Rosa to be granted a US visa.

“Now comes Digong threatening to terminate the VFA over the cancellation of Sen. Bato dela Rosa’s US visa. Either Duterte is again posturing or just trivializing the issue,” he said.

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