Friday, February 20, 2009

Joker and PDI: In Flagrante Innuendo

[Cross posting at Filipino Voices]

Well it looks like the VFA brouhaha has taken a turn towards the hilarious as the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Senator Joker Arroyo have kissed and made up a whopper of a headline today in SECRET VFA PAPER BARED. Their Love Quarrel over the Neri Executive Session is now forgotten and forgiven as together they battle US Imperialism. The accompanying "news" story is a breathless masterpiece of PDI's trademark innuendo wrapped in the purple, black and blue of nationalistic self-flagellation, with Joker Arroyo in the unlikely role of Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, complete with his own "Deep Throat"! The newspaper has obviously not verified or independently confirmed the authenticity of the alleged IRR as required by their own Code of Ethics, but they love it. Joker is playing the newspaper like a fiddle for the Palace, but I wonder if they haven't gotten him into some serious legal and ethical trouble with this, IF the story is not a Fairy Tale...

Joker Arroyo claims in a PDI news report that a mysterious "Learned Jurist" gave him the 14 page document purporting to be the "SECRET" Implementing Rules and Regulations of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement signed by then Foreign Affairs Sec. Domingo Siazon (presently ambassador to Japan) and US Amb. Thomas Hubbard. But if the headline and report are true, then Senator Joker Arroyo and the Learned Jurist have apparently broken several heavy jail-time National Defense and Security laws and Senate Rules, with the newspaper as an accomplice. Who is the Mysterious Learned Jurist that is Joker Arroyo's source of something that both the Presidency and the Senate have deemed wise to keep a State Secret all this time?

Maybe it is Joker Arroyo himself, in his and Miriam's fantasies as Justices of the Supreme Court! But Joker Arroyo is too smart of a lawyer to leave himself exposed to serious criminal prosecution or ethical sanction by the Senate. I think his "out" and the dead-giveaway clue that this is all one big BOLA is the claim in the front page article that the VFA's secret IRR was signed on October 9, 1998. This is one day BEFORE the VFA went into force when it was duly concurred in by the Philippine Senate on October 10, 1998. But the Spring cannot rise higher than the Source, nor the IRR come be approved BEFORE the Agreement it is to implement itself does!

The Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines (SCORP) has now ruled twice, in Bayan v. Zamora (Oct. 2000) and Nicolas v. Romulo (Feb. 2009) that the RP US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) complies with the 1987 Constitutional requirement on foreign military bases, troops and facilities in the Philippines:
Sec. 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

But the most important thing people interested in this issue ought to know about is that the Visiting Forces Agreement is NOT the instrument or treaty that allows the presence of US troops in the Philippines under joint exercises like Balikatan. It's crystal clear from the VFA's Preamble that the legality of such presence is already assumed by the VFA's negotiators. The VFA is an implementation of the the 1952 Mutual Defense Treaty, duly concurred in by both Philippine and US Senates that IS the real basis for such presence. Moreover, since it was ratified the US Congress has expended funds to implement and execute the 1952 MDT on numerous occasions. Neither the VFA nor the 1952 MDT were considered by SCotUS to be among the treaties referred to in the "supervening event" of Medellin v. Texas, as even J. Antonio Carpio admits in his Dissenting Opinion.


Anonymous said...


Excuse me kababayan, but the other articles on TIQ's front page caught me eye to be more interesting front liners: Jueteng is back and The Alabang Boy tipster.

We already know that Joker is a joke and has questionable credibility, at best.


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