The ICTI also held Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for making the entire Philippine territory a haven for American war criminals through the RP-U.S. Non-Surrender Agreement. In May 2003, Macapagal-Arroyo granted the U.S. forces in the Philippines immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In so doing, Capulong said Macapagal-Arroyo violated the Rome Statute that established the ICC and the VFA itself.
The chief prosecutor recalled the criminal acts of U.S. military personnel in the Philippines when the U.S. military bases were still here. These acts included homicide, assault, physical injuries, rape, malicious mischief, possession of marijuana and other prohibited drugs.
From December 1985 to December 1986, 258 cases were filed against U.S. troops in Olongapo courts. Of these cases, however, three were archived and one resulted in an acquittal. During the same period, in Angeles City, out of 43 criminal cases, three were dismissed. Nine were classified as “pending arrest” since the accused were flown by U.S. authorities to another country.
Emmie de Jesus, secretary general of Gabriela, also filed a complaint before the ICTI. She said women are the most affected in the U.S. wars of aggression.
De Jesus said that prostitution is prevalent in areas where American soldiers are present. In the 1990s before the repeal of the Military Bases Agreement (MBA), there were 2,000 establishments for “rest and recreation.”
Cases of sexual abuse were filed but later on dismissed. From 1981 to 1988, there were 15 cases of sexual abuse which involved women aged 11 to 16. Eighty-two more cases of sexual abuse involved women aged 16 and above.
In 2001, two years after the ratification of the VFA, there were 429 new bar girls in Angeles City who provided “take-home service,” an apparent euphemism for prostitution. In 2002, Tanikala Inc., documented 36 women, as young as 13 years old, who were victims of sex trafficking from Davao to Zamboanga City, the latter reportedly having as many as 2,000 prostituted women.
Sexually-transmitted diseases were widespread particularly in Angeles and Olongapo where there were about 50,000 “hospitality girls” at the peak of the Vietnam war. It was also in these cities where AIDS infection cases were first reported in the Philippines.
De Jesus also decried another “souvenir” left by the American soldiers: Amerasians. According to her, tens of thousands of sons and daughters of American soldiers were left for good by their fathers.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Macapagal-Arroyo was the first leader in the region to pledge all-out support for Bush. In October 2001, Bush declared the Philippines as the second front in the global war on terror.