The US Embassy reached out to Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to process his cancelled visa right after the phone call between President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump in April.
“Right after they talked, I was called by the [US] Embassy telling me that after the COVID [pandemic] and their staff are already reporting for work, then they will invite me to process my visa,” Dela Rosa said in a television interview Wednesday.
Last January, Duterte started the talks on abrogating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States after learning that the US visa of Dela Rosa, his confidant and the chief architect of his campaign against drugs, was cancelled by the embassy.
On 11 February, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. signed the notice of termination to officially scrap the VFA with the United States following the order of Duterte.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government suspended the process of VFA termination upon Duterte’s instruction.
This decision was also made “in light of political and other developments in the region,” according to the letter sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Embassy of the United States of America in Manila.