Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa
Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa got an unwanted gift on his 58th birthday: the revocation of his US visa.
“What a good birthday gift! (The US Embassy) informed me that my visa is no longer valid for travel to the US (a day before my birthday),” the former police general told reporters on Wednesday.
Dela Rosa said he sent a letter to the US Embassy in Manila last month asking about the status of his visa after hearing “rumors” last year that it had been canceled.
Because of such rumors, he did not travel to the United States in July last year to personally watch the match between boxing champ and fellow Sen. Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Keith Thurman, Dela Rosa said.
He said he received the US Embassy’s reply, dated Dec. 27, 2019, on Jan. 20, the eve of his birthday.
“I have been expecting (the cancellation) because I already have prior information. I just wanted an official confirmation from them,” Dela Rosa said.
He said the US Embassy did not cite the reason for the cancellation of his visa, but he surmised that it could be related to his role as primary enforcer of President Duterte’s war on drugs that, human rights groups said, has resulted in the extrajudicial killing of thousands of drug suspects.
“I’m only human,” Dela Rosa said. “It’s (natural) for me to be disheartened. I have been helping my counterparts from the US (law) enforcement agencies. We (used to) work together. But after all that, they took away (my visa),” he said.Dela Rosa said he was ready to join Mr. Duterte should the President decide to accept US President Donald Trump’s invitation to the US Summit with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in March.
“(That is) if they would grant me a visa again,” the senator said.
Asked if he would still seek an official explanation from the US Embassy on why his visa was voided, Dela Rosa said he saw no reason to further bug the American authorities about it.“(But) I would be grateful if they grant me a visa again. Who does not want to travel to the US? I will be a hypocrite if I say that I don’t. I have siblings and (other relatives) there,” he said.