Caving in to U.S. Bullying
This incident is once
more threatening to blow up in Mrs. Arroyo’s face revealing just how shaky
her regime is and how fearful it is of losing the backing of the U.S. That
is the real meaning of “strategic RP-U.S. relations” for this client
regime - as it has been for those that preceded it.
Posted by Bulatlat
On top of everything else – the lying, stealing, cheating and murdering
spree against those her regime has demonized as “enemies of the state” –
Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today takes the cake as super toady to the
Superpower bully, the United States of America. In the process she has
managed to stir up latent nationalist sentiments that have been all but
smothered by ubiquitous propaganda about “globalization” and the hype
about a borderless “war against terrorism” fought with the mighty US war
By authorizing the hasty, clandestine and deceitful transfer of convicted
rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith to the custody of the US government by
means of his illegal, non-court authorized release (prosecution lawyers
have categorically labeled it as an assisted escape of a convicted felon)
from detention in the Makati City Jail and delivery to the U.S. Embassy,
Mrs. Arroyo has proven that she is indeed the U.S. puppet repeatedly
condemned in countless protest rallies and demonstrations.
Why does Mrs. Arroyo’s belated admission that it was her decision to get
the convicted American soldier out of a Philippine jail and her plea for
“understanding” sound pretty much like her "I'm sorry" spiel after being
caught red-handed engaging in wholesale electoral fraud? Why are we
reminded all over again of her emotional "I will not run (for president)"
speech, a promise she promptly abandoned after manufacturing a spurious
groundswell of support as well as allegedly receiving divine inspiration
to run anyway?
There are three reasons: first, is the familiar ring of insincerity; two,
the blatant lying about the grounds for her highly questionable and
legally untenable actions; and third, the thinly-veiled attempt to assuage
an enraged populace whose reaction to this latest atrocity, Malacanang has
This time Mrs. Arroyo’s offense -- or rather, offenses -- is much, much
worse. She used her high office to undermine the rule of law, undercut
the judicial process as well as surrender national sovereignty to a
It was bad enough that her government did little to help, or more
accurately, helped to sabotage the fight of the Subic rape victim, Nicole,
to attain justice by way of the damaging pronouncements and decisions of
the Justice Secretary and his deliberately bungling set of public
prosecutors. Furthermore, the executive department automatically and
consistently concurred with the U.S. interpretation of the RP-U.S.
Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provisions on criminal jurisdiction that
clearly favored the accused U.S. marine over the Filipina rape victim.
The Arroyo regime, in fact, lawyered for the U.S. government (and,
effectively, the accused U.S. soldiers) on the issue of custody from day 1
of the commission of the crime.
With the unmistakable show of U.S. displeasure as expressed in U.S.
President George Bush’s pronouncement and the abrupt and unilateral
cancellation of the annual RP-U.S. joint war exercises known as Balikatan
as well as humanitarian assistance to typhoon-ravaged areas, the Arroyo
regime literally caved in. It did the unthinkable – gross, ill-disguised
flouting of the independence of the judiciary and grave abuse of authority
– in springing Smith from his Makati prison and delivering him to the U.S.
embassy in true-blue lackey fashion.
The Arroyo administration could not wait for the legal fig leaf of a court
order when it failed to get a favorable ruling from RTC Judge Pozon, who
had earlier found Mr. Smith guilty, sentenced him to 40 years imprisonment
and ordered his temporary incarceration in the Makati city jail until the
court decides otherwise, pending diplomatic negotiations between the
and the U.S. as to what detention facility, on Philippine territory, would
be used to jail the convict. Failure as well to get a Temporary
Restraining Order from the Court of Appeals on Judge Pozon’s order to
retain custody over Mr. Smith by incarcerating him in a Philippine jail
apparently caused alarm on the part of both Malacanang and the U.S.
Thus the legal cover used by Mrs. Arroyo’s hatchet men amounted to nothing
more than the U.S. position that the VFA grants it custody of its erring
soldiers no matter that the crime committed is a heinous one under
Philippine laws, it had nothing to do with Mr. Smith’s duties as a member
of the U.S. military, and he was, in fact, off duty when he committed the
rape. In the guise of fidelity to its obligations under the VFA, the
Arroyo regime attempts now to cover-up its latest impeachable crimes.
This incident is once more threatening to blow up in Mrs. Arroyo’s face
revealing just how shaky her regime is and how fearful it is of losing the
backing of the U.S. That is the real meaning of “strategic RP-U.S.
relations” for this client regime as it has been for those that preceded
it. (The last time this same line was invoked was during the Senate
debates on the renewal of the RP-U.S. Bases Agreement when then President
Corazon Aquino even led a street march to the Senate to dramatize her
support for the bases’ continued stay and thus endeared her to U.S.
On the part of the U.S., it exposes the narrow and aggressive mindset of
the current neoconservative leadership of the lone Superpower, used to
getting its way unchecked by international law and international public
opinion. It also reveals just how much respect the U.S. political
leadership has for the dignity and independence of its former colony, now
reduced to nothing more, it appears, than disdain for a current neocolony,
a vassal state of the Big White Father.
The Balikatan war exercises are certainly a critical part of U.S. military
strategy – having to do with the continuous deployment of U.S. forces and
materiel in key regions so as to ensure military readiness and
maneuverability in exercising its hegemony. Is the decision to cancel it
a measure of its concern for its troops? We think not.
The U.S. makes clear that it doesn’t want another bad precedent of a
client state (aka “ally”) reneging or failing to implement lop-sided
military agreements that protect U.S. interests and not get punished for
it. The U.S. clearly twisted the arm of the Arroyo regime and got what it
wanted. Of course U.S. spokespersons maintained the propaganda line that
this was about implementing the VFA; that this was about protecting its
troops. In truth it is about the U.S. having its way in complete disregard
of a sovereign country’s justice system and sovereignty and delivering
that message loud and clear to the entire world.
U.S. imperialist objectives are of course so much easier to achieve when
it deals with a subservient government desperate to cling to power like
that of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Posted by Bulatlat
*Published in Business World
5-6 January 2007
PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION ■
© 2006 Bulatlat
Alipato Media Center
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