PH bars entry of 3rd U.S. senator backing De Lima release

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A third US senator has been barred by the Philippine government from entering the country for his calls to release detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima. 

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts is barred entry to the Philippines, The Philippine Star reported on Wednesday, January 1. 

Markey is the author of US Senate Resolution 142 which condemns De Lima's continued detention and denounces human rights offenders in extrajudicial killings as well as the harassment of the media in the Philippines, particularly of Rappler's Maria Ressa. 

Four other US senators joined Markey in filing the resolution. The US Senate foreign relations committee approved the resolution, which invoked the Global Magnitsky Act, on December 11. (READ: What we know so far: Proposed U.S. sanctions vs PH officials in drug war)

This is apart from the amendment in the 2020 US budget law signed by US President Donald Trump on December 20, which bars Philippine officials involved in De Lima's detention from entering the United States. De Lima is facing drug charges filed by government.

Markey's colleagues, US senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont) and Richard Durbin (Illinois), were already barred entry to the Philippines for pushing for the ban's inclusion in the US budget law.

Malacañang and other government officials have reacted strongly to these developments, saying these are "brazen interference" into Philippine sovereignty. – Rappler.com

(Editor's Note: Senator Markey is the author of US Senate Resolution 142, which is not the one included in the 2020 US budget law, as earlier reported.)