Bayan Hits Romulo for Bungling Talks on Smith Custody

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan – New Patriotic Alliance) slammed the Arroyo government for ‘conveniently placing the future of the negotiations on the custody of convicted rapist Daniel Smith in the hands of so-called American treaty experts.’

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita yesterday said that Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo was told that US State Department lawyers specializing in treaties will ‘come here and help in untangling whatever misconception there might be in the Supreme Court ruling.’

In a statement, Renato M. Reyes, Jr., Bayan secretary general said, “By giving too much premium on what these so-called treaty experts from Washington have to say, the Philippine government effectively places itself on a losing position in the negotiations. It is utterly ridiculous to have American treaty experts interpret the Supreme Court ruling for us.”

Reyes said further, “Secretary Romulo, the same person responsible for putting us in this humiliating situation to begin with, has again given the US government tremendous leeway in stalling the negotiations. Romulo as usual has been too accommodating of American demands and interests.”

The group reiterated its demand to sack Romulo.

The group deemed that if the US invokes the ruling of the US Supreme Court in Medellin vs. Texas, which states that treaties entered into by the US are not enforceable under US law without legislation, Smith can remain in US custody.

Reyes said the ‘simplest and most principled solution would be the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).’

“With this accord out of the way, the Philippine government has all the reason to take custody of Smith. There would no longer be any considerations and gray areas as to custody because there would be no more treaty to interpret. We definitely would not need the Washington treaty experts they are planning to send here,” Reyes said.

Bayan will lead a protest action tomorrow in front of the Senate to support growing calls for the abrogation of the VFA. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will also conduct a hearing on the VFA tomorrow. Bayan counsels in the VFA petition, Neri Javier Colmenares and former UP Law Dean Pacifico Agabin are among the invited resource persons in the hearing. (

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