(Eagle News) — There is no such thing as a United States entry ban on Filipino government officials behind the detention of Senator Leila de Lima in the US 2020 budget signed into law.
Political blogger RJ Nieto made the revelation in a Facebook post on Friday. Dec. 28, after news broke in the Philippines that US President Donald Trump had signed the budget that supposedly included the amendment made by Senators Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin, both of the Democratic Party.
According to Nieto, in the first place, the provision that specifically states that the US Secretary of State “shall 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 are arrested in the Philippines in 2017″ was not included in HR 1865 or the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 signed by Trump on Dec. 20.
The provision is also not present in HR 1865 signed by the US President on the same day, the same day some Philippine news outlets broke the story.
Both Trump signings into law were announced in an official statement posted on the White House website.
According to Nieto, “the nearest thing related to the De Lima issue that can be found in the final text (of HR 1865) is in Section 7031 (c)(1)(A).”
That provision in HR 1865 only reads: “Officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members about whom the Secretary of State has credible information have been involved, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, including corruption related to the extraction of natural resources, or a gross violation of human rights shall be ineligible for entry into the United States.”
“But here’s the thing: it’s standard text (READ: not an amendment) in at least four other US budget laws (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018..),” Nieto explained.
“So what amendment were US senators Durbin and Leahy, along with 3% of the Philippines, raving about?” Nieto asked.
Several news outlets had said the prohibition ban was contained in the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill 2020.
Based on the US Congress website, the prohibition ban that specifically mentioned De Lima was contained in S. report 116-126 that accompanied S. 2583, but, according to the tracker, S. 2583 is not a law and is still pending.