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Third US senator banned from the Philippines over support of top government critic

Third US senator banned from the Philippines over support of top government critic

Officials in the Philippines confirmed Thursday that Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenators ask airlines to offer cash refunds for unused flight credits Civilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation MORE (D-Mass.) has been banned from entering the country, the third U.S. senator to be banned over support for a critic of the country’s government, CNN Philippines reported.

Salvador Panelo, a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte, told reporters at a Thursday press briefing that Markey will be blocked from entering the country. He cited the senator’s support for a resolution in the 2020 budget from Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinAmazon blocks 10B listings in crackdown on counterfeits DOJ faces big decision on home confinement America's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do MORE (D-Ill.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap On The Money: Democratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan | Progressives push on student debt relief No designated survivor chosen for Biden's joint address to Congress MORE (D-Vt.) that sought to deny any Philippine official involved in the jailing of Sen. Leila de Lima from entering the U.S. 

Markey hit back after the announcement Thursday, tweeting “President Duterte is sorely mistaken if he thinks he can silence my voice. He has already failed to silence @SenLeiladeLima and others who have spoken truth to power. I stand with the people of the Philippines in fighting against his strongman tactics.”

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De Lima was charged with drug offenses in 2017 after leading an investigation into mass killings amid Duterte’s anti-drug attacks. 

Duterte ordered the country’s Bureau of Immigration to immediately refuse entry to Durbin and Leahy last week. Panelo told reporters at the time that “we will not sit idly if they continue to interfere with our processes as a sovereign state.”

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Markey has been a vocal supporter of de Lima. He shared on Twitter last year “Sen. de Lima has been the target of very troubling partisan persecution. In an attempt to intimidate and silence voices critical of the government, de Lima has been jailed and not given the opportunity to defend herself. The Duterte administration should release her immediately.”

In November, he tweeted “A sad, shocking milestone: today marks 1,000 days in jail for Senator Leila de Lima – a sitting senator in the Philippines who dared to shine a light on Duterte's abuses. I introduced S.Res.142 because the government must release @SenLeiladeLima & halt its persecution of critics.” 

American citizens can currently enter the Philippines without a visa for up to 30 days, although the government threatened to tighten requirements last week amid the tensions with Leahy and Durbin.