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Militant Lawmakers and Opposition Stalwarts Condemns Philippine Arroyo's Puppetry

by AJLPP-USA Thursday, Jan. 04, 2007 at 8:13 PM
ajlpp_socal@yahoo.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

President Arroyo’s public admission that her administration buckled before US pressure in the custody dispute over a convicted rapist makes her government an awkward host for an upcoming summit that includes many countries that have defied American might. Militant legislators called President Arroyo’s action as “downright improper, illegal and bordering on treason.” “This is perhaps the most scandalous crime and most unconstitutional act ever committed by Mrs. Arroyo that makes Proclamation 1017, the Calibrated Preemptive Response, Executive Order 464 and the fake people’s initiative pale in comparison,” House Deputy Minority Leader Satur Ocampo said. Ocampo called the President a “serial violator of the Constitution and the rule of law.” “The opportunist that she is, it is farfetched that she will find shame over this scandal and feel the urge to resign,” he said. “Those incensed by her corruption and cheating are now more determined to compel her ouster due to her sellout of Philippine national interests.” Party-list Rep. Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis said Smith’s transfer in exchange for resumption of Balikatan exercises makes Nicole a victim all over again. “Is there anything President Arroyo will not do to secure Washington’s approval? Her approval for the transfer of convicted rapist US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith exposes how low she will go to make sure that she has the support of the US government: she is willing to throw aside Philippine law and ignore severe implications on national sovereignty. For the sake of her government’s one-sided relations with the US, she has abetted the eventual release of a convicted rapist.”

Militant Lawmakers and Opposition Stalwarts Condemns Philippine President Arroyo's Puppetry to the U.S. Over Smith Case.



By Maricel Cruz, Francis Earl Cueto, Manila Times Reporters

Manila-- President Arroyo’s public admission that her administration buckled before US pressure in the custody dispute over a convicted rapist makes her government an awkward host for an upcoming summit that includes many countries that have defied American might.

Militant legislators called President Arroyo’s action as “downright improper, illegal and bordering on treason.”

“This is perhaps the most scandalous crime and most unconstitutional act ever committed by Mrs. Arroyo that makes Proclamation 1017, the Calibrated Preemptive Response, Executive Order 464 and the fake people’s initiative pale in comparison,” House Deputy Minority Leader Satur Ocampo said.

Ocampo called the President a “serial violator of the Constitution and the rule of law.” “The opportunist that she is, it is farfetched that she will find shame over this scandal and feel the urge to resign,” he said. “Those incensed by her corruption and cheating are now more determined to compel her ouster due to her sellout of Philippine national interests.”

Party-list Rep. Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis said Smith’s transfer in exchange for resumption of Balikatan exercises makes Nicole a victim all over again.

“Is there anything President Arroyo will not do to secure Washington’s approval? Her approval for the transfer of convicted rapist US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith exposes how low she will go to make sure that she has the support of the US government: she is willing to throw aside Philippine law and ignore severe implications on national sovereignty. For the sake of her government’s one-sided relations with the US, she has abetted the eventual release of a convicted rapist.”

House Minority Leader Francis Escudero said the Arroyo administration’s efforts to exercise leadership would fall flat with its admission that US threats prompted the December 30 near-midnight transfer of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith from the Makati City Jail to the US Embassy.

“They can posture but other countries will know the truth,” he told a radio interview.

Escudero of Sorsogon, administration Rep. Antonio Cuenco of Cebu and Party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros of Ak bayan called on the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Senate to immediately review the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

“The illegal transfer . . . shows that the combination of a flawed agreement and an illegitimate government is serious and that the threat should be addressed without delay,” Hontiveros said. “It is now the moral obligation of the Senate to review and rescind the Visiting Forces Agreement.”

One-sided relations

Escudero lamented how President Arroyo favored a foreigner—a convicted rapist—over a Filipino.

“It is not acceptable. Nowhere in her oath of office did she swear to save RP-US relations,” the lawmaker said. “On the contrary, she swore to faithfully execute the laws and give justice to her fellow man.”

“If a Filipino is convicted of rape he is immediately sent to Bilibid but not if it’s an American,” he pointed out. “This government better make sure that Smith will not be spirited out of the country.”

Credibility

Mrs. Arroyo on Tuesday appealed for understanding from Filipinos, insisting the transfer did not violate any law and was done to prevent the further deterioration of bilateral ties with Washington.

The same day, the US Embassy lifted an earlier decision canceling the joint Balikatan war games. Washington had clearly liked the scuttling of Balikatan to the custody dispute over Smith.

On Wednesday, Malacañang parried mounting anger, insisting Philippine international credibility was restored when Manila turned over Smith to the US Embassy.

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said the transfer was in keeping with the provisions of the VFA on the legal status of US forces taking part in annual military exercises in the Philippines.

The treaty states that one party may seek temporary custody of the foreign soldier before all legal processes are completed, which Puno said meant until the appeals process has been completed.

The problem of having international agreements subjected to Monday morning judicial review renders all our international agreements conditional,” Puno told ABS-CBN television in an interview.

“We cannot treat our international agreements conditionally.”

Puno said Manila’s international credibility was “absolutely” at stake.

He rejected critics’ allegations that Mrs. Arroyo violated the Philippine judicial processes by ordering the transfer of custody.



--With Jefferson Antiporda

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