On Malacañang’s stand on the case, Ursua said, “They are not with us in the fight to assert custody.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a note verbale to the US Embassy asking for custody. The U.S. Embassy rejected the request. Ursua said, “They gave up instantly.”
New US-RP accord
Meanwhile, Dr. Carol Araullo, chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) condemned the signing of the new US-RP accord on May 24, three days before the seventh anniversary of VFA.
Under the new arrangement, a security engagement board (SEB), composed of US and Philippine military and civilian officials, will be set up to counter the non-traditional threats.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved the creation of the board in a memorandum issued on April 21. No treaties were signed.
Araullo said, “The new accord only strengthens and widens the scope of US intervention in the Philippines. The definition of non-traditional threats is very vague and broad. That makes it very dangerous. Both governments could use the term, just as how they abruptly use the term terrorism, to further infringe upon the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Non-traditional threats include piracy, transnational crimes, maritime safety and security, man-made disasters, natural calamities and epidemics. “They may use any of these to justify deployment of U.S. troops and personnel to the Philippines.”
Araullo said, “The Philippine government has committed treason of the highest degree by entering into this agreement. Like the VFA, the new accord disregards the constitutional ban on the entry of foreign troops sans a treaty and further undermines the national sovereignty.”
The Bayan leader added, “The manner by which the Philippine government entered into this agreement is anomalous. The Philippine government clearly intends to elude strong opposition not only from lawmakers but from the Filipino people in general.”
Some 70 members of Bayan and allied organizations held a rally in Manila on May 26, condemning the SEB. Elements of the Western Police District of the Philippine National Police barred the protesters from getting near the U.S. Embassy. (Bulatlat.com)