Rep. James McGovern & Rep. Randy Hultgren


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wants to ban two American lawmakers from entering the Philippines for interfering in his drug war.

Duterte was referring to Representatives Randy Hultgren of Illinois and James McGovern of Massachusetts, co-chairmen of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, who had urged US President Donald Trump to “impress upon President Duterte the United States’ profound concern over reported extra-judicial killings associated with the Philippine government’s ‘war on drugs’” during their meeting in Manila next week.


Rep. James McGovern & Rep. Randy Hultgren


“And I’d like to know their names also because I can include them in the immigration barred list. For real. Or I will protest if that is the farthest that I can go,” Duterte told reporters in Vietnam, where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Duterte insisted that the illegal drug trade was a social problem that had spun out of control, and should be strongly addressed.

“Do not just look at the figures of those who died. You mean to say that all of them died in extra judicial way? What day was it? Where? How?” Duterte said.

“If you do not like me, I do not like you. We’re even,” he added.

In a letter dated November 2, Hultgren and McGovern told Trump “we were distressed to learn that police have killed 7,000 alleged drug dealers and users without charges or trial since the Philippine government launched its campaign against illicit drugs.”

“The Philippines is a valuable ally of the United States and major recipient of U.S. aid. For these reasons, it is paramount that human rights violations not be the consequences of the Philippines’ ‘war on drugs.’ It is the obligation of the United States to advocate for and defend those human rights as set forth in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the lawmaker said.

The Lantos Commission describes itself as a “bipartisan” caucus composed of members from the Republican and Democratic parties, established by the US House of Representatives in 2008.

“The Commission is charged with promoting, defending and advocating for international human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments,” it says on its website.

The panel is named after one of its founding co-chairmen, the late California congressman Tom Lantos.
In July, members of the Lantos Commission criticized Trump for inviting Duterte to visit the White House.
In reply, Duterte said he won’t ever visit the US because it was a “lousy” country.

Senate Majority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd on Friday also slammed the two US lawmakers for meddling in the Philippine government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Sotto said the two US lawmakers should mind their own business and let the Philippine government deal with the illegal drug problem.

“Mga pakialamero (Meddlers)!” Sotto said when asked for his reaction.

Sotto said he would also ask Duterte to take up with Trump the mass killings of American citizens by lone-wolf gunmen and the US government’s failure to regulate gun use.

“I’m urging President Duterte to do so!” Sotto added.

Calls for stricter gun laws continue to grow in US following a series of gun-related incidents that have claimed the lives of civilians.


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