Two Democratic senators have been banned from visiting the Phillippines by its president, Rodrigo Duterte, for their support of a prominent critic.
Duterte also has warned any Americans who want to enter the Philippines will be required to get a visa if the United States refuses entry to those involved in the jailing of Philippines Senator Leila de Lima, who has harshly criticized Duterte’s bloody drug crackdowns.
About 792,000 Americans visited the Philippines in the first nine months of the year, with visa-free entry for up to 30 days, the New York Post reported.
The move comes after Congress okayed a 2020 budget that contains a provision introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont against anyone involved in holding de Lima, who was charged with drug offenses in 2017 after leading a probe into mass killings during Duterte’s war on drugs.
“We will not sit idly if they continue to interfere in our processes as a sovereign state,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at a briefing Friday about the ban on Leahy and Durbin.
De Lima has been jailed for more than two years on drug charges that she's denied.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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