Monday, February 6, 2006

Anti-VFA Forces Fall Silent -- For Now

Since around noontime last Wednesday in Manila, when this CNN News World Report was aired on the thousands of minor age children languishing in Philippine prisons, there has not been another oral volcanic eruption from Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago demanding that the Visiting Forces Agreement be "terminated so it can be renegotiated" because it is "a stain on Philippine sovereignty." I have not seen a single new editorial, opinion piece, editorial cartoon, news article, or even blog posting on the Subic Bay rape case demanding Philippine custody of the four US Marines charged with rape. The self-proclaimed protectors of national sovereignty and the usual leftist sources have completely shut up on earlier stentorian demands that had made last week's headlines and editorials. Take the Philippine Daily Inquirer's editorial, "Unequal Relationship," in which the main tenets of 20th Century leftist nationalism are on full display --
PDI: "The US government’s disregard of the Philippine court’s warrant of arrest is a clear sign of disrespect for Philippine laws. The Bill Rights of the Philippine Constitution and the Philippine Rules of Court, patterned after those of the United States, give sufficient protection to the accused. There should be no concern that the rights of the Americans accused in the Subic rape case would be violated.

"It is unfortunate that a 22-year-old Filipino woman was allegedly violated in this first case that is also a test case of the provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement. But the case has shown very clearly that the VFA is disadvantageous to the Philippines. It is a case that strongly points up the need to terminate and renegotiate the agreement.

"Under the VFA, the Philippines and the United States are not equals. The VFA allows the US to treat the Philippines not as a co-equal, sovereign state but as colony, a vassal state. The agreement perpetuates the master-slave, patron-client relationship that was supposed to have ended when the US restored independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946."
Grow up you guys!

THE REAL REASON: The US government's actions are a clear sign that it intends to discharge is sworn duty to protect the Constitutional and human rights of its citizens, even soldiers accused of a heinous crime like rape. There has been NO disrespect for Philippine OR American laws. In the first place, all the proceedings are in accord with the VFA provisions. Trial under Philippine jurisdiction, but custody by the US Embassy in Manila. And yes, the reason -- the real reason that somehow can't be officially be stated diplomatically enough why custody has not been ceded to the Philippines, is simply that Philippine prisons are not fit for human incarceration. To deliver this rather embarrassing message --that is what the CNN reports on the way Filipinos treat their own children in conflict with the law, did with such great effectivity on Sen. Santiago and her erstwhile pals at the Inquirer and the Organized Left. The VFA has been greatly advantageous to both countries. It has only been disadvantageous to the leftist lynch mobs, grandstanding politicians, and the Church of Historical Resentment founded by Renato Constantino and his successors, like Jose Maria Sison.

Mercifully, there was no racist, hatemongering editorial from the see-pee-pee cell within the PDI, calling people "Little Brown Brothers" for not heeding their own little yellow journalism; no melodramatic fulmination by the wig-flipped Miriam Defensor Santiago that jurisdiction over the rape case is not enough and that lack of custody is a "stain on Philippine sovereignty" (even though she herself had signed the Visiting Forces Agreement years ago); not a single sassy, lawyerly remark from the virtual lynch mobs; no headlined manifestos of communist front organizations who claim America is the principal oppressor of the Filipino People and that is why her soldiers who gang-rape our women should be put in Philippine jails even before they are convicted. They would deny the American Government its duty to protect the Constitutional rights of its own citizens and would have the Philippine Government renege on a standing bilateral agreement that is of immense benefit to both countries' national security interests. But the sudden lack of enthusiastic chest-thumping for custody over the US Marines charged with raping a 22 year old Filipina in Subic last year, (who are held in the US Embassy in Manila and available for ALL court proceedings), had everything to do with that CNN World Report item on the thousands upon thousands of minor age children in Philippine prisons, and the inhuman, indecent conditions under which they are detained by the dysfunctional and corrupt Justice system in the Philippines. In a world of propaganda and international political theatre, people who live in glass houses ought to heed some old fashioned sayings about the throwing of stones. Then there is this letter to Father Shay Cullen, from "Cristina" ...

(via PREDA)


Dear Fr. Shay,

I think the cause of children in jails and abused children is especially compelling. The work of PREDA is a work of great spiritual mercy, a work that strives to help innocent children, the littlest ones. A friend noted that it was especially fitting that in the Gospel last Wednesday, the day CNN aired the news report on children in jails, Jesus admonishes us to protect "the littlest ones" and never to harm them.

Like many Filipinos I was disturbed by the recent CNN news reports on children and youth in Philippine jails. What disturbed me even more is that the problem seemed to be around a long time, festering, unsolved, still there. As long as there is one child in a Philippine adult jail that is one child too much.

I first learned about the inhumane treatment of children and delinquents by the Philippine authorities from an Australian Broadcasting news feature three years ago while in Sydney. ABC featured the pitiful plight of children in Cebu jails. I found the April 2002 report on children in Cebu jails so disturbing that within a few days of my return to Manila I sent a fax letter to DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman with a copy of the ABC report. Sec. Dinky was kind enough to take my phone call and I recall we had a brief conversation about the child prisoners report. My recollection is that Sec. Dinky's responded by saying that they were quite aware of the problem and something was being done about the problem. I do not blame Sec. Dinky for my reaction after that, which was to do. Nothing. Maybe I should have checked out other sources to verify what was really going on. Maybe if I had felt more passionately about this grave problem of our country, I would have done something more. Like other well-intentioned Filipinos, I assumed that something indeed was being done about the problem.

Watching the CNN feature a few days ago left me appalled by the Philippine authorities lack of political will to resolve this problem. If the Philippine Secretary of Social Welfare and other government authorities were aware of the problem of children in Philippine jails in 2002 when the Australian news report came out, then why is it that three years later, the problem remains serious and appalling enough to warrant being featured by the international program CNN World Report?

On your website I found it even more appalling to discover that you Fr. Shay have been an outspoken critic of the government authorities inhumane treatment of children in conflict with the law and have been writing about the problem as far back as 1991! Fr. Shay, that is nearly 15 years ago and there are still children in Philippine jails!

Discussing the problem with friends, I reached this insight‹we cannot blame just one Cabinet Secretary or three or even just one political administration. After all, President Cory was still in power when you first wrote about the problem of children in Subic jails. The department of Social Welfare is not completely free to do, as it would like to help the children in adult jails because the problem also lies with the police, the department of justice, and the judiciary. It is really a complex problem in one way, and yet, I think it could also be so easily solved. At the end of the day, like injustice in the Philippines, and poverty around the globe, it is a problem that also has a solution that lies partially in me the private individual.

People power may be passed in some ways, but maybe we have not marched even once in the name of Filipino children in jail. I wish that Filipinos from all walks of life could decide overnight that they want to march for this cause, because one more day that a child remains in a Philippine jail is one day too much.

We are thankful for the sake of the children and our country that there are people like you and organizations like PREDA committed to rescue all children still remaining in jails. I agree with the CNN journalist who commented that the continuing presence of children in Philippine jails is an atrocity committed by Philippine authorities that is an act against humanity, a despicable violation of the human rights of these children.

How do you convince other Filipinos of good will to feel like you Fr. Shay that another day must not pass that a child remains in a Philippine jail? That we must go to the jail in our cities and check if there is a child there and get him out? Why is a court order required? I found that the most preposterous. Why must Filipinos wait for a bill to be passed in Congress? What are these Congressmen waiting for? It was observed by a friend in government, if lawmakers and politicians were doing what they were supposed to be doing rather than deal making, muckraking, and plotting on how to perpetuate themselves in power, if they were doing what they were elected to do, which is to serve the country, then the problem of children in jails would have long ago been resolved, maybe as far back as 1991 when you Fr. Shay wrote your first article.

Would it help the cause of the child in an adult jail if concerned Filipinos filed a complaint with the Presidential Anti-Graft and Corruption agency about the utter corruption of concerned authorities who by their neglect, ignorance or incompetence or sheer indifference or even malice are allowing the plight of children in adult jails to go unsolved. Not another day must pass that a child sits in a Philippine jail. How does this society get up from its apathy to help the littlest one?


Fr. Shay Cullen himself has made "anti-imperialist" remarks from time to time. Perhaps you could make something out of that.


The Left and the Trapos United By GMA's Gambit
Sign This Petition To Save Children In Philippine Prison
Visiting Forces Aggrievement
Will GMA Do Another Angelo De La Cruz
A Little Yellow Journalism By Leftist Hatemongers

Manuel L. Quezon III has the roundup on the Tragedy of Wowowee last Saturday morning.

picked up on a comment I posted on PCIJ, right after seeing the news on TV--
Something that riled me was the reported desire of Willie Revillame "to go on with the show." Normally this would be considered a virtue in an entertainer - in cases where the lights have gone out in the theatre, part of his costume falls off, or one of the lead actors doesn't show up. But NOT after over seventy people were just crushed to death and practically still lying around dead. Maybe he thought he could save the situation with his usual boyish inanity.

But would someone please tell me I am all wrong in the impression that the audience - those who didn't die and were finally in the venue-seemed to be clapping for the show to indeed go on despite the tragedy, for the million bucks to be given away as planned. Knowing us, some were probably muttering, "What good does it do the living OR the dead, for the show not to go on?"

Perhaps they should've let him go on with the show and give away the million bucks. ABSCBN probably now stands to lose a lot more than that anyway.

It comes at a heavy price of human lives lost, but I think noon time shows are gonna have to change for the better, if they are to survive at all. These shows seem designed by salacious minds with a genius for commercializing the lowest common denominator in people - lewdness, stupidity, mendacity, opportunism and anything that titillates the seamy underside.

If the Lopezes are guilty of anything, it is their irresponsible liberal thinking in allowing these idiotarian shows to be aired, while they also do things like Bantay Bata, which would seem to balance things a little. But they don't. When they mix in children, midgets, old people and their scantily clad eye candy doing whorehouse aerobics in these shows, what happens to their Philantrophy but be a fig leaf if crassness and immorality are abetted by the main line of the business. Yet I am absolutely certain that they can make as much money without raising as much Cain.

I do hope that Willie Revillame is finished for good. And all his ilk. They're the ones that ought to be stampeded off the face of the earth.
I still think that is what should happen.

Mell Ditangco at DIVERGENT POLES, has the video of Willie Revillame after the tragedy.

Santiago at THE HAND'S EYE hits the nail on the head with Fueling the Gambling Frenzy.

BLOGGER's PROBLEMS during the last two days has forced a temporary dry-docking of the Comment Engine here at Philippine Commentary. My apologies to comment posters (all fifty millions of you) for disappearing-reappearing comments. I've turned Comments off temporarily to check things out offline. You can still email Rizalist.

Lots of other things didn't get blogged because of these technical problems...cartoons...Iran...Cabinet rigodon...wiretapping...and the fertilizer hit the fan!

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