Recto: US cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa “wrong” but PHL response should be “commensurate”

(Eagle News)–Senator Ralph Recto believes the United States’ cancellation of Senator Ronald Dela Rosa’s visa was “wrong,” noting that the former national police chief had even been given the red carpet when he visited the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But according to Recto, the country’s response to the US’ move should be “commensurate.”

“Kung dapat mang ibasura ang (Visiting Forces Agreement), kailangang ipakita na it has been unfavorable to us, that we are getting the short end of the bargain. Ibig sabihin, dehado ba tayo sa VFA at delikado ba ito sa ating bansa?” he said, referring to the agreement between the US and the Philippines that governs the conduct of American soldiers in the Southeast Asian country.

President Rodrigo Duterte had threatened to scrap the agreement following the US cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa.

Dela Rosa said Duterte’s threat was because of one-sided foreign relations.

“We must be able to separate the national interest from the personal. The national harm done by the VFA is an issue separate from the actions taken by the other government on a certain individual,” Recto said.

In short, he said if there was to be an abrogation of VFA, it should be for “weightier reasons,” which can be established by the Senate and the Department of Justice.

Senator Koko Pimentel has said the Senate would start the review of the VFA and other Philippine-US military agreements next week.

The DOJ, for its part, was ordered to study the process of termination of the pact and to conduct an impact assessment of such a termination.

“Dapat malalim ang dahilan. It should go beyond the denial of a US visa to a senator,” Recto said.

“Paano kung bukas sasabihin ng Amerika na restored na ang visa ni Bato, ano gagawin natin? Is that the remedial action we are seeking or are we motivated by reasons more profound?” Recto asked.