“The new Aguinaldos, Buencaminos and Paternos are still selling us down the river to foreign interests.”
MANILA – Saying that the fight against foreign intervention is far from over, progressives marched to the US embassy here today, Sept. 16, on the 24th year of the historic rejection of the US bases treaty by the Philippine Senate.
Before the traditional march to the embassy, protesters led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), first assembled in front of the Supreme Court where they called for the resolution of the petition to declare the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) as unconstitutional.
Earlier in the morning, a smaller group of youth and student activists held a lightning rally and defaced the US embassy seal with red paint bombs. Police arrested six youth leaders who led the protest.
The six were released later in the evening, as youth activists held a vigil in front of the Manila Police District headquarters, said Einstein Recedes, spokesperson of the Student Christian Movement.
The six arrested were: Aries Gupit, deputy secretary general of the League of Filipino Students, Orion Yoshida, executive vice chairperson of Anakbayan, Teddy Angeles of the National Union of Students of the Philippines-National Capital Region (NUSP-NCR), Gem Aramil, Gerardo Gaddi and Karl Anareta of Anakbayan.
Recedes said police charged the six with illegal assembly, in violation of the Martial Law-era Batas Pambansa 880, resisting arrest, physical injury and malicious mischief. The charges were withdrawn, leading to their release later in the evening.
Charisse Bañez, LFS spokesperson, said anti-riot police who arrested the students wounded one of the protesters, Ely Carbon of NUSP, who was hit in the foot with a truncheon. Bañez said the police intentionally aimed for the students’ feet with their truncheons.
One of the six arrested, Anareta, was wounded on the head, but was not given immediate medical treatment, even while they were brought to the hospital for medico-legal check-up.
‘Edca clearly unconstitutional’
The protesters said it is time for the SC to resolve the petitions, more than a year after these were filed.
Three petitions were filed against Edca, which the Philippine and US governments signed also just last year, right before the visit by US Pres. Barack Obama. The SC finished hearing oral arguments in November last year.
Teddy Casiño, Bayan spokesperson and one of the petitioners, said the agreement violates the Philippine Constitution, which bans foreign military troops and bases, unless on the strength of a treaty with Senate concurrence. He said the agreed locations allowed under Edca are no other than military bases, where troops, weaponry, war materiel and communication facilities will be stationed.
Casiño also cited recent reports and video about at least two suspected US troops, who were killed in the botched Mamasapano operations, along with the Special Action Force (SAF) 44 police men who went after suspected international terrorists.
“Now the truth is coming out about the involvement of American military contractors who were part of the assault team in Mamasapano,” he said.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said, “It was an operation directed, commanded and funded by the American government.”
New traitors of the Motherland
Reyes referred to the historical biopic ‘Heneral Luna,’ which showed how some Filipinos betrayed the Philippine independence movement.
“Fast forward to the present, it was the betrayal of the Aquino regime which reversed the victory of the Filipino people against the US bases in 1991,” Reyes said.
“The new Aguinaldos, Buencaminos and Paternos are still selling us down the river to foreign interests,” Reyes said.
“What Aquino did was to even invite the US to return: Dito na kayo sa ‘daang matwid,’ pwede ang baseng Amerikano dito, walang soberanya (Come here to the straight path, American bases are allowed here, there is no sovereignty),” Reyes said.