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Visa brouhaha

January 26, 2020 - Sunday 4:01 AM by Chito Fuentes

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Senator Ronald de la Rosa received a rude birthday gift from the United States when his visa was cancelled on January 20, a day before his birthday.

There was no immediate explanation on the circumstances surrounding the visa revocation of the senator nicknamed "Bato." The US is not obligated to do so.

The yellows immediately went to town, linking it to Bato's role in the war on drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte. We know the playbook so give them something to dream on.

It's true that it is the prerogative of the US whom to allow into its territory and whom to deny, but this particular denial has far-reaching implications.

No doubt, it is a morale booster to the ranks of the dwindling anti-Duterte forces.

Actually, it is no big deal because Bato, who probably has gone farther in his life than he ever imagined possible, surely would not die if he will not step foot on American soil the rest of his life.

And while it stinks that the Philippine Star used a file photo of him shedding tears during a Senate investigation to accompany the news of the revocation, there is no harm done except to his macho image. Still, while we're at it, he is partly to blame for that for casually -- some say habitually -- publicly shedding tears prior to his Senate candidacy.

As expected, President Duterte did not take this sitting down. He has given the United States 30 days to sort things out or he will cancel the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

So now, the ball is in the hands of the US -- but from the looks of things, the visa brouhaha is playing into the hands of the wily Filipino president.

President Duterte has no love lost for America so scrapping the VFA surely brings him pleasure. The visa revocation simply gave him the justification -- or excuse -- to do it.

On the other hand, if the US balked and grants Bato a new visa, President Duterte scores yet another propaganda coup that, to be honest, he does not necessarily need at this point considering his soaring popularity rating.

Whoever thought about the idea of using Bato as a pawn in this high-stakes tit-for-tat is simply no match for President Duterte. This is one and done.

Next gimmick please.