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STOP YOUR SUPPORT TO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATOR AND CORRUPT US-Arroyo Regime

by Alliance-Philippines (AJLPP) Friday, Sep. 11, 2009 at 3:20 PM
ajlpp_socal@yahoo.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Deeply inspired by your promise of “Change We Could Believe In” during the last presidential campaign we would like to reiterate our support to your administration. We believed you would put a stop to the bankrupt policies espoused by your opponent, Senator John McCain and his fellow Republicans. With regard to the Philippines, our country of ancestry, we hoped that the “Change” you were talking about would mean a re-thinking of U.S. support for the administration of incumbent President Gloria Arroyo, whose record of corruption and violation of human rights has now surpassed that of the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos.

STOP YOUR SUPPORT TO...
18a_00054.jpg, image/jpeg, 2400x1600

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

By Alliance-Philippines (AJLPP)



AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:STOP YOUR SUPPORT TO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATOR AND CORRUPT PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT ARROYO

(On the Occasion of the U.S Visit of Philippine Def. Sec. Gilbert C. Teodoro, Jr.)

September 9, 2009



Dear President Obama:

Deeply inspired by your promise of “Change We Could Believe In” during the last presidential campaign we would like to reiterate our support to your administration. We believed you would put a stop to the bankrupt policies espoused by your opponent, Senator John McCain and his fellow Republicans.

With regard to the Philippines, our country of ancestry, we hoped that the “Change” you were talking about would mean a re-thinking of U.S. support for the administration of incumbent President Gloria Arroyo, whose record of corruption and violation of human rights has now surpassed that of the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos.

Ironically, the Arroyo administration was praised by the former Bush administration for its implementation of domestic policies in support of Bush’s “War on Terror.” This includes “Oplan Bantay Laya” or “Operation Freedom Watch,” a counter-insurgency program that has been criticized by organizations like the UN, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch for the way it has targeted legal civil society organizations (labor unions, progressive political parties, community organizations, church and lawyers groups) that are exercising their constitutional right to dissent and advocating for social and political reform.

We also hoped, in contrast to the Bush Administration, that you would make good on your promise to be more transparent in your decisions and policy-making processes.

With due respect, Mr. President, allow us to cite the following circumstances that led us to conclude that you are supporting an administration that is corrupt and a violator of human rights.

1. On March 13, 2009, you telephoned President Arroyo complementing her on the U.S.-led global "war on terrorism". According to the White House Statement you both "… reaffirmed [your] long standing alliance, including the VFA which remains critical to the bilateral relations and our strategic interests."

2. On June 1, 2009 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made a surprise visit in the Philippines and met with his counterpart, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and top-ranking Generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

3. On July 12, 2009, CIA Director Leon Panetta, accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador visited Malacanang Palace and conferred with President Arroyo, Defense Secretary Teodoro, Jr., National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, and top Philippine intelligence officials. Panetta conveyed the invitation of President Obama for Mrs. Arroyo to visit the U.S. Other matters discussed were NOT REVEALED TO THE PRESS.

4. On July 30, 2009, you, Mr. President received Mrs. Arroyo in the White House. He honored her as a great ally. In your statement, you said:

"The Philippines will be the coordinating country in the U.S. relations with ASEAN, the primary organization. ..the strategic organization for Southeast Asian countries. In addition, the Philippines will be chairing the Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference that will be taking place next year so we [the U.S. and the Philippines] will be having a busy agenda together working to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and in improving the multilateral partnership in Asia."

5. On August 20, 2009, the New York Times reported "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has decided to keep an elite 600-troop COUNTER-INSURGENCY OPERATION deployed in the Philippines despite pressure to re-assign its members to fulfill urgent needs elsewhere... "

6. On Wednesday, September 9, 2009, Philippine Defense Secretary Teodoro made a return visit to his counterpart in the Pentagon he also met with top intelligence officials (Blair and CIA Director Panetta).

We are concerned with the secretive nature of these meetings but more importantly with the implications of these meetings and statements.

Your leadership declared in unequivocal terms your intention to review America’s foreign policy most especially its dealings with foreign governments on the basis of fundamental principles and values that America has stood for. Supportive of your good intentions, we hope you would do the same in the case of the Philippines whose government has espoused policies and committed wrongs that are clearly poles apart from those of America.

We have asked in the past that U.S. military aid to the Philippines be restricted because of the gross human rights violations committed by security forces in the Philippines. But we wonder how much money has been promised to the corrupt government of President Arroyo as compensation for the stationing of U.S. troops in the Philippines.

This is a violation of the Philippines and the Filipino’s sovereign right as a country and people, Mr. President.

We ask you not to renege on your promise to change the foreign policies of Bush that has brought about destruction in the lives of thousands of people in the world and has hurt the economy of the U.S. as well.

We ask you to not abandon your promise to be more transparent in your policy-making process.

And most of all, Mr. President, we appeal to you not to coddle and support corrupt regimes, like the Arroyo administration, which perpetuate the abduction, torture, enforced disappearances, and killings of unarmed civilians who openly oppose policies and projects that violate human rights of the people.

Allow us to believe that your administration, which stands on high moral ground for hope and recovery in these troubled times, not only in the U.S. but all throughout the world as well, will continue to be the precursor for change that is for the betterment of our lives.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed)

Arnedo S. Valera, Esquire

Member, Advisory Board, KATARUNGAN: CENTER FOR PEACE, JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

(Signed)

Dr. Dante Simbulan

Member, Advisory Board, KATARUNGAN:CENTER FOR PEACE, JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS



*******

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