Put Fil-Am abduction on defense meet agenda
MANILA, Philippines—The abduction of a Filipino-American citizen by suspected members of the military, as well as the latest rape case of a Filipina allegedly by a United States serviceman, should be among the issues at the forefront of discussions between the defense secretaries of the two countries.
This was the suggestion of the militant organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New People’s Alliance) for today’s meeting between Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on defense cooperation matters and ways to further boost security cooperation between the Philippines and the United States.
The plane carrying Gates, his wife Becky, and other US military officials arrived at the Balagbag area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City at exactly 10:55 a.m. Monday from Singapore, where he attended a meeting with military officials of other Asian nations.
US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Teodoro welcomed Gates and his entourage.
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said Philippine officials should demand action from the US government on the alleged rape of a college student, Vanessa, by a US serviceman belonging to the Joint US military assistance group (Jusmag) last April.
”Such an incident comes right after the Subic rape incident. In the event a case is filed, will there be a repeat of the Smith debacle,” Reyes said in a text message referring to the rape case of Filipina, Nicole, by Marine Corporal Daniel Smith, which was dismissed by the court in April.
Reyes also said that Gates should inquire about the abduction of Filipino-American Melissa Roxas by suspected members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines while doing volunteer work with two others in Tarlac late last month.
”What has the Department of National Defense done to investigate this, after all, the AFP receives US aid? Is Gates just going to turn a blind eye to this, in the same way he did to the controversies in Guantanamo, Cuba, and Abi Gharib in Iraq?” he asked.
The Bayan official said the abduction has already been brought to the attention of the US embassy in the country.
In a separate statement, Reyes slammed the visit, saying this affirms the status of the country as a “US colonial outpost and doormat.”
“Gates is a relic of the Bush regime and does not represent any policy changes insofar as RP-US relations are concerned. We’re still the US doormat in Southeast Asia. The VFA is still devoid of mutuality and reciprocity. The VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) is clearly one-sided as evidenced by what happened in the Subic rape case,” Reyes said.
The group insisted that the VFA violates provisions of the Constitution against the presence of foreign troops.
“From 2002 up to the present, US troops have been stationed in Mindanao, 365 days a year, in clear violation of the Constitution which does not allow the basing of troops sans any basing treaty. Even if the US troops are on rotation, their presence in Mindanao has become permanent,” Reyes said.
With reports from Marlon Ramos, PDI
Copyright 2013 INQUIRER.net and content partners. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.