sal panelo spokesman
Presidential spokesman Sec. Salvador Panelo

Malacañang will require all Americans intending to come to the Philippines to apply and secure a visa before they can enter Philippine territory, “should a ban from entry into US territory be enforced against Philippine officials involved in Senator de Lima’s lawful imprisonment.”

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo also announced that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy, who introduced the subject provision in the US 2020 Budget, entry to the Philippines.

Sec. Panelo asserted that the case of Senator de Lima is not one of persecution but of prosecution.

“In fact, it is already being heard by our courts. The Philippine Supreme Court, the highest court of our land, has affirmed the incarceration of Senator de Lima as valid and lawful. No other state can dictate upon our officials, judges, and justices the method upon which we enforce or interpret our laws vis-à-vis those who are believed to have committed a violation against the same,” Panelo said in a statement.

“We reiterate that the Philippines is an independent and sovereign state. It stands in parity with all other states, including the US, and any form of pressure that is tantamount to an interference into its established justice system shall be reciprocated in accordance with our municipal law, as well as public international law or the law of the nations.”

Based on the data from Department of Tourism (DOT), about 872,335 US tourists already entered the Philippines this year, placing third following South Korea and Chinese tourists arrivals.