DOJ to ban US lawmakers should Duterte order it

By Kristine Joy Patag

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American lawmakers Randy Hultgren and Jim McGovern, who co-chair the US House of Representatives' human rights panel. Hultgren, McGovern offices/Released

MANILA, Philippines  The Department of Justice will have to put US lawmakers critical of President Rodrigo Duterte under a watch list should he order it.

At a briefing with Malacañang reporters on the sidelines of the APEC 2017 in Vietnam, the firebrand leader threatened that he will have US congressmen banned from entering the country.

Asked how the Department of Justice will act on Duterte's latest pronouncements, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, in a message to reporters, said: "We will obey if we are asked."

Duterte, in Vietnam, launched another volley of tirade at US Reps. Randy Hultgren and James McGovern:  "If you think you protest my coming into your country, why? Would you think also that I'd like to... You are also prohibited from entering mine, or I will protest if that is the farthest that I can go."

He did not drop any names but it may be surmised that he is referring to Hultgren and McGovern who recently wrote to US President Donald Trump, urging him to raise the current human rights situation in the Philippines with Duterte.

Hulthren and McGovern serve as co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at Capitol Hill. McGovern earlier said that he will lead a protest should Duterte visit the White House.

But Duterte said: "If you do not like me, I do not like you. We're even,"

“I will tell them, you are too presumptuous. What made you think that I am even planning or thinking about visiting your country? And I’d like to know their names also because I can include them in the immigration barred list. Totoo (it’s true),” he said.

Duterte and Trump are expected to have a bilateral meeting during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nation Meeting happening in Manila starting today until November 14.

The US leader is expected to arrive in the Philippines tomorrow, November 12.

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