The Philippines is set to pull out of the decades-long military agreement following the United States' denial of visa to President Rodrigo Duterte's ally. Following the denial, the Philippines President warned the US that they will pull back from the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) of 1998.
Duterte said that the Philippines is going to give the US one month's time to correct the situation before the country pulls out of the VFA. The visa was denied to Duterte's political ally Ronaldo del Rosa, who was a political inspector. He played a major role during Duterte's war on drugs. The US embassy in the Philippines did not explain the reason behind the denial of dela Rosa's visa.
Del Rosa is alleged to have been part of extrajudicial killings
The reason behind the denial of the entry are unknown. However, del Rosa said that he believes the reason to be the allegations of extrajudicial killings that he is alleged to have carried out during the crackdown on the drug mafia in the country.
It is said that more than 5,000 people were killed and the opponents have said that the deaths were unjustified. Human rights activists say that the death toll could be as high as 27,000.
During the campaign against narcotics, the Philippine senator Leila de Lima, a former justice minister was locked up in 2017 after she led an investigation against the anti-narcotics campaign that killed several thousands.
Last month, two US senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy were banned from entering the country following the introduction of a provision in the US Congress. The provision denied entry to anyone who was a part of locking up de Lima. Following the visa denial and the allegations, Duterte said "I'm warning you ... if you won't do the correction on this, I will terminate the ... Visiting Forces Agreement. I'll end that son of a b***h."
What is the Visiting Forces Agreement?
The Visiting Forces Agreement was signed in 1998 to allow the American forces to train in the Philippines. It also permits the US to retain jurisdiction over the military personnel deployed in the Philippines.
Duterte has never hid his disdain over the US actions during several occasions. The two countries have a strong military partnership because of what the VFA has construed for the states. There are millions of Filipinos who are US citizens as well. The discord can cause a major rift that can even affect the South China Sea.