MANILA, Philippines — Only when the United States Senate approves the amendment to a budget bill seeking a US ban on Philippine officials involved in the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima would he discuss the issue with President Donald Trump or the US state department, President Rodrigo Duterte said at a media briefing on Tuesday shortly before leaving for a five-day visit to Russia.
“I do not deal individually with the congressmen or senators there … [The amendment] is not an act of state. It does not carry the mandate of the entire Senate,” the President said.
If the measure is adopted, then it would be a matter between two states, he added.
“That is the time maybe [when] the state department or Trump and I will have to talk. And I will talk,” the President said.
The US Senate appropriations committee had approved the amendment introduced by Democrat senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy, which seeks to ban Philippine officials involved in De Lima’s “politically motivated” detention from entering the United States.
Malacañang had denounced the ban as an intrusion into the country’s “domestic legal processes.”
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US ban on PH officials in De Lima case played down