Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said on Saturday that there have been “favorable developments” in his application for a new US visa.
In an interview with radio DWIZ, Dela Rosa said he has been in talks with the United States representatives regarding his visa.
“There are favorable developments. We have been in contact with people and we are in discussions. Their chargé d’affaires, the deputy ambassador, has been nice, very nice, and we have been talking,” Dela Rosa said.
Pressed when his visa will be granted, he said: “I don’t have it yet, but at least our discussions are good so far.”
“Sen. Manny Pacquiao might have a fight there soon, and we might missed the chance to watch if I don’t have a visa,” he said in a jest
The US revoked Dela Rosa’s visa in December 2019 for an undisclosed reason, although it was speculated that it was due his role in the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs.
He was chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) when the anti-illegal drug campaign was launched in 2016. Local and international groups hit the drug war for allegedly enabling the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users and pushers, a claim Dela Rosa and other administration officials have repeatedly denied.
His visa cancellation was also said to be the “last straw” that prompted President Duterte, in February 2020, to abrogate the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US, supposedly following a series of “disrespectful” moves from the Americans.
In July, Dela Rosa disclosed that he was informed by the US embassy that he could re-apply for a new visa, following a phone conversation between Duterte and former US President Donald Trump.
Malacañang had said that Duterte’s stand on the termination of the VFA remains unchanged even with Dela Rosa getting a new US visa.
The Philippines, however, suspended the abrogation of the VFA twice in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.