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News :: Gender : Human Rights : International : Politics : War and Militarism
Philippines: shameless act of collaboration of the Arroyo regime and the U.S. government
by Task Force Subic Rape (TFSR)
02 Jan 2007
"It's an utterly shameless act of collaboration of the Arroyo regime
and the U.S. government."
This was the statement of Myrla Baldonado, spokesperson of Task Force
Subic Rape (TFSR) on the stealthy transfer of custody of Daniel Smith
from the Makati City Jail to the U.S. Embassy.
Brazen Arrogance of Power
Members of TFSR and other organizations that supported the victim in
the Subic Rape Case set aside their holiday plans to march along TM
Kalaw Street, Manila before noon today to protest the transfer of Smith. They
see connivance between the Philippine government and the U.S. Embassy
as the surreptitious operations done near midnight and at week's end
was not met with any statement of protest from the Arroyo government.
"Clearly, Ambassador Kenney's earlier pronouncements that the U.S.
government would respect the decision of the Philippine courts were
all empty talk. After Judge Pozon handed a decision, they did
everything to take custody of Smith. They talked the DOJ and the DFA
into taking their interpretation of the VFA. Kenney's reminding us of
the bulk of relief assistance it gave the typhoon victims and
threatening to stop the Balikatan exercises were rude and shameless.
Their latest move, a transgression of the decisions of the Regional
Trial Court and the Court of Appeals is not surprising given the
U.S.' arrogance for being the world's strongest superpower."
The rally lambasted the U.S. government, as it called for the
abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement. "Since the promulgation,
the DOJ and the DFA were one with the U.S. Embassy in saying that the
U.S. Embassy's custody of Smith is in accord with the provisions of
the VFA. This is one very clear reason for us to end this agreement.
The VFA clearly contravenes Philippine sovereignty."
"Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) is equally answerable for this gross
disrespect of Philippine courts by the U.S. Allowing the U.S. custody of Smith
against the decision of Philippine courts is power grabbing that falls along the
same pattern as their disregard for the Senate in their ConAss
attempt. Besides, we did not know of any instance whereby GMA
admonished DOJ Secretary Gonzalez for hurling insults at Judge Pozon
for his decision that was not contrary to the U.S. government's
wishes. Clearly, her concern is how not to displease her ally but to
ensure its support for her stay in power." Baldonado concluded.
December 30, 2006
Smith was convicted in December of raping a Filipino woman, identified only as “Nicole” to protect her privacy, while on leave from joint war games in the northern port of Subic. Three other US marines were acquitted.
Washington demanded Smith be turned over to its embassy, citing the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) of 1998 which says that jurisdiction over any American soldier convicted of crimes while on official tour should reside with American authorities.
But the Manila court which tried the case rejected that argument, stressing that rape was a "heinous" and non-bailable crime in this former American colony. It subsequently denied a request from Washington for custody of Smith.
This work is in the public domain