There lies the catch.
Already the Arroyo government has been declaring that the negotiations for the transfer to Philippine custody of Smith would take a “slow process”. It has also been happily announcing that, in the meantime, the status quo would be maintained. Consistent with this, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney said that the SC decision has been “noted” and referred to Washington.
How long would it take before Smith is transferred to Philippine custody?
Gauging from the comments of Philippine and US officials, the negotiations and eventual transfer of Smith to Philippine custody may take forever or until the issue has died down and Smith could be spirited out of the country, that is, if he is still here. If he has already been spirited out of the country, then the US and Philippine governments are hoping that eventually the Filipino people would forget about Smith and the Subic rape case.
Unless, of course, the Filipino people remains vigilant and pursues the struggle for national sovereignty and justice.
By upholding the constitutionality of the VFA, the majority in the Supreme Court has done the Arroyo government – as well as the US- two favors. It has upheld the Arroyo government’s policy of allowing the permanent basing of US troops in the country, and it has given the Arroyo and US governments a way out for Smith.
If the Supreme Court declared the VFA as unconstitutional, there would no legal basis for the joint US-RP military exercises, and there would be no reason to delay the transfer of Smith to Philippine custody because there would be no need for negotiations. Smith’s case would then be treated as simply a criminal act committed by a foreigner in Philippine territory.
The Supreme Court, therefore, in giving the Arroyo government two favors, delivered a double whammy against the Filipino people: it denied us our right to national sovereignty and denied us justice.
The long arm of the Arroyo government has once again shown in the decision of the Supreme Court. Whoever said that the Supreme Court is immune from politics must be blind.
The fight for the country’s national sovereignty and justice not only for “Nicole” but for the Filipino people is also nothing less than a political struggle. (Bulatlat.com)