Saturday, May 02, 2009

Our (Filipino) Indifference to a Rape

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: Note: Bold and/or Underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked postings/articles. Forwarding the postings to relatives and friends, especially in the homeland, is greatly appreciated.

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The disrespect for us Filipinos and our homeland by the American military/government was again recently demonstrated by the Subic Rape Case. Even with the expiration of the American-imposed Bases Agreement, we Filipinos are still having the same problems with the US military. This time thanks to the VFA (which includes BIA and SOFA provisions) railroaded by our perennially subservient rulers.

In the original posting, I predicted --but hoped to be wrong-- that the Subic Rape Case will be a whitewash, as all crimes/offenses by US military personnel ended in the past decades. Now, after our court let go the other American servicemen who were active participants in the crime and has convicted only one, our homeland's rulers in a very anti-Filipino decision, acted to further please the Americans by returning (in the middle of the night) to the US military the convicted American soldier-rapist and thus not serving his sentence in our homeland (only a strong and bully nation can impose on willing native accomplices/rulers).

All these crimes, all these foreign insults and disrespect to native Filipinos in our own homeland will not stop until we study our nationalist history to learn and understand ourselves, to know the "how, what, when, and why" we have lost our Filipino nationalism. Thus our mendicancy and colonial mentality remain unchallenged, which have perpetually kept us without national dignity and sovereignty in our own homeland.

Our traitorous rulers allow them to occur because majority of us natives are mainly illiterate. It is only by knowing ourselves can we act to free our caged minds, to strongly require our rulers to fight for and recover our national dignity and sovereignty as a people. With knowledge and understanding, we native Filipinos can unite, demand and ensure that our rulers do their job, i.e. for the native Filipinos.

It is long overdue that we learn, realize and remember that our homeland and we the Filipino people do not count in the eyes of the American government and its military. Thus in the case of military rape and any other crime committed in our homeland by American servicemen, we will only be continually taken for granted and pressured to remain on our knees, with extended hand begging and being unquestioningly conditioned to be pro-American and anti-Filipino.

In my most recent posting Rape in the US Military, about rapes by American servicemen, it is instructive to know how difficult it is for American military women, regardless of military rank, to pursue their rape charges against fellow American military men. What more for a Filipina, civilian woman?

It is long overdue that we destroy our Americanized minds for the good of the native Filipino - maybe too late for our generation - but for the sake of the next generations of native Filipinos.

In below article, Fr. Shay Cullen (PREDA), who for decades has persistently spoken, exposed and fought against sexual exploitation in our homeland wonders why we natives have been quiet.

I wonder if we Filipinos are what we oftentimes are:"ningas kugon."

- Bert

"Those who profess to favor freedom
and yet deprecate agitation

are men who want crops without
plowing up the ground;
they want rain without thunder and

They want the ocean without the
awful roar of its waters.
This struggle may be a moral one
or it may be a physical one

or it may be both moral and physical
but it must be a struggle.

Power concedes nothing without a
It never did, and never will." – Frederick Douglass
American Abolitionist, Lecturer, Author and Slave, 1817-1895)


The Inconvenient Contradictions
(republishing, copying, no restrictions)
By: Father Shay Cullen

A portrait of U.S. marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith displayed by protesters during a rally outside the U.S. embassy in Manila April 24, 2009 to condemn the acquittal of Smith.

The outpouring of public concern and outrage over the acquittal and overturning of a rape conviction and a life sentence by the Philippine Court of Appeals against US Navy Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, was less than expected. The public had been conditioned by the affidavit of desistance of the victim made last 8 March 2009. Soon after that the young woman, Nicole (not her real name), departed to the United States with a special immigrant visa, if not a green card and a generous financial gratuity by way of compensation. A deal had been done. The complainant was neutralized and the court could proceed with the expected acquittal.

The Court of Appeals division 11 is composed of three female judges. They ruled that they had ignored the affidavit of Nicole, but that she was not an innocent provincial girl but a woman of “indecorous behavior”. More or less saying that the victim had asked for it and was to blame. The ruling said in effect that the lower court had been wrong in convicting Smith of rape because the evidence showed that it was a “spontaneous unplanned romantic episode”. Indeed!

It ruled that semi-intoxicated Nicole, even though she was carried on the back of the marine to a van where the “spontaneous romantic episode” happened, gave her consent. Many have taken issue with this decision. But it was the only “political” decision possible.

For many Americans and Filipino officials and business leaders, it is unimaginable for a US marine to be imprisoned for life in a filthy, disease-ridden Philippine jail with criminals, rapists, rats and cockroaches. It would lead to unending protest rallies in the United States, and an end to all US investment and aid to the Philippines.

That was the reason the US government insisted on keeping Smith in the US Embassy and not in a Filipino jail. They were right, those jails are unfit for human habitation. They are still the abode of Filipino children and we wish many Filipinos would consider it unimaginable that children would be incarcerated with adult criminals and rats and rally to have them released.

But what a campaign it was for the activist groups during the past three years that saw rallies, marches and denunciations of US military rapists and women abusers. There were even calls by some opposition politicians for the Philippines to rescind the Visiting Forces Agreement(VFA) that allows US ships and planes to use the Philippines ports and airports and conduct military exercises. It was the widespread sexual exploitation of women and children by US servicemen and sex tourists in the honky-tonk bars of Olongapo and Angeles City and elsewhere that led to the campaign to close the bases and convert them to economic zones.

That was a ten year campaign that succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. It started the day in 1983, when I discovered 12 children, the youngest was 9 years-old, infected with venereal diseases and hidden away from the public and media in the Olongapo city general hospital by the mayor and US admiral. Not even the Red Cross came to save them. Exposing that nearly cost me my life.

The bases are closed since 1992 and hundreds of manufacturing enterprises, hotels, and family tourist resorts employ as many as 80,000 Filipinos with dignified work. While the bases went away, the sex industry did not completely die. It reemerged in 1996 run by the international sex mafia with thousands of European and Australian sex tourists and retired US servicemen enjoying the sexual exploitation of young women and children they once enjoyed.

Today, sex slavery is growing and thousands of women and children are trafficked into the sex clubs that proliferate across the land from the cities to the seaside resorts. Child rape, prostitution of children, forced abortions and every kind of sexual exploitation is rampant. There are no campaigns, rallies nor marches for them. Why not? Thousands of foreigners are doing this every day and night in sex bars, clubs and hotels across the land and it is just as evil and wrong and outrageous as what the marchers and protesters said Daniel Smith did to Nicole and there is not a placard of protest to be seen. END


1 comment :

Bert M. Drona said...

Our country is once again at a crossroads. We are compelled to choose between rightfully asserting national sovereignty or surrendering it once more in the name of so-called "special relations."

The continuing detention of convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith at the US embassy in Manila is clear proof of the grossly unequal character of the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA. And despite the Philippine Supreme Court ruling declaring the Romulo-Kenney Agreement illegal and that Smith should be returned to the custody of Philippine authorities, the Arroyo government has not sought to regain custody of Smith. Instead, the Arroyo government continues to insist that Smith should remain in the US embassy until the highest court finally decides on his appeal. There is also every indication that the US will not surrender Smith to Philippine authorities at all.

The Smith case is only the most recent example of how grossly lopsided the VFA is in favor of the US. The VFA also falls short of the Philippine constitutional requirements for a valid treaty. It was ratified by the Philippine Senate but not by the US Senate and was merely recognized as a treaty by the US State Department.

While the Philippine government enforces the VFA in the country, it is not so in the US. With the recent US Supreme Court ruling in Medellin vs. Texas, treaties entered into by the US are deemed unenforceable in the US unless there is an implementing law or if the treaty is self-executory. The RP-US VFA falls short of these requirements set by the US Supreme Court.

With the unequal standards in the ratification and implementation of the agreement, no less than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines in his dissenting opinion has called the VFA unconstitutional and a "slur on our sovereignty".

The complimentary agreement VFA 2 further underscores the gross inequality and double-standards applied to US and Filipino troops. Filipino soldiers who are accused or convicted of crimes in the US will not have the same privileges that Daniel Smith enjoys today.VFA 2 highlights the utter absence of mutuality and reciprocity in the agreements.

Apart from being unconstitutional on its face, the VFA is also unconstitutional in its application. It allows the entry of an unlimited number of foreign troops for an indefinite period of time sans any basing treaty. Since 2002, US troops have been stationed in the Philippines under various pretexts and engaged in various questionable military operations.

For being patently unequal, unconstitutional and an affront to our national sovereignty, the VFA must be abrogated. The Executive branch, through President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, should exercise the right to terminate the agreement. With the abrogation of the VFA, the Arroyo government will have no other recourse but to impose Philippine laws and regain custody over Daniel Smith.

Our choice is simple and clear. We must choose sovereignty over supposed benefits from the VFA. We must choose national dignity over so-called "special relations" with the United States. The Philippines must conduct its foreign relations based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and non-intervention in each country’s internal affairs.

Junk the VFA now!

-from YONIP