GMA, A War Criminal –
tribunal found President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as guilty as U.S.
President George W. Bush for committing crimes against humanity and the
By RONALYN V. OLEA
GUILTY: Participants declare their
verdict on U.S. President George W. Bush, Philippine President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Ronalyn V. Olea
This was the
verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for Iraq (ICTI) on
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as an accomplice of U.S. President
George W. Bush’s wars of aggression against Iraq and other countries.
Held on Oct. 16
at the Camelot Hotel in Quezon City, the ICTI public hearing was joined by
prominent international jurors and prosecutors.
The ICTI is an
anti-war peace movement organized by the concerned people's and peace
advocates of Japan. The public hearing in Manila was the eighth of the
series and the first outside Japan.
has 200 public prosecutors from different countries in Asia. Philippine
human rights lawyer Romeo Capulong acts as the chief prosecutor. In the
Oct. 16 hearing, Capulong who is also Ad Litem Judge of the UN’s
International Crime Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTFY) was joined
by Japanese prosecutors Akiko Narumi and Narihiko Ito.
institution, the ICTI stands on high moral ground. In his opening remarks,
Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo stressed, “The ICTI may not have any legal
standing among the governments but it has high moral standing among the
peoples of the world who value genuine peace and justice.”
Macapagal-Arroyo’s support has virtually for Bush made the Philippines an
unwilling partner in the U.S. wars of aggression not only against
Afghanistan and Iraq but also other countries which may be attacked by the
stands guilty of violating the independence and sovereignty of these
countries as well as the Philippines’ 1987 Constitution which mandates a
peaceful foreign policy, its own commitment to the United Nations and to
international law to use peaceful measures in resolving conflicts between
nations and the prohibition of acts of aggression by one state against
another,” Capulong said.
the ICTI, Macapagal-Arroyo allowed the use of Clark, Subic and other
airfields and harbors in the Philippines including Batanes, Mactan and
General Santos City in the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.
1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the U.S. and the Philippines have
conducted at least 18 bilateral military exercises involving a rotating
presence of about 2,000 American troops. In violation of the VFA and the
Philippine Constitution, Capulong said U.S. forces were allowed to engage
in combat operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Moro
It may be
recalled that Buyong-Buyong Isnijal, a suspected Abu Sayyaf member, was
shot and seriously wounded by an American sergeant on July 25, 2002. The
incident happened during U.S.-Philippine war exercises and patrol
operations in Basilan province, said to be a hotbed of the Abu Sayyaf
2002 Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows the U.S. to
stockpile its military supplies and equipment in the Philippine territory
and consequently use the country’s resources for its wars of aggression in
any part of the world.
“The flattering designation of the Philippines as a major non-NATO (North
Atlantic Treaty Organization) ally likewise facilitates the stockpiling of
U.S. war material in the Philippines.”
also sent a 51-member Philippine military and police contingent who served
under the U.S.-led occupation forces in central Iraq. The Philippine
National Police (PNP) officers joined in the training of Iraqi police and
spoke before a team of Iraqis for a seminar on “democracy.”
As a component
of Macapagal-Arroyo’s commitment to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, she sent
4,200 overseas Filipino workers in Iraq. Capulong said that these
Filipino workers are in fact performing essential logistics and auxiliary
services for the coalition forces that are normally done by combatants.
Bragas-Regalado, chairperson of Migrante International, said that
Macapagal-Arroyo’s all-out support for the war in Iraq has already caused
the death of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Among those killed in U.S.
military camps were Rodrigo Reyes, Raul Carlos Flores and Raymond
Natividad. Another OFW, Jing Soliman, was wounded.
also said Macapagal-Arroyo’s support endangers the lives of 1.5 million
OFWs in the entire Middle East. A global alliance of 95 Filipino migrant
organizations in 22 country states and cities, Migrante International
filed a complaint before the ICTI.
the deployment of OFWs in Iraq violates the Philippine government’s
labor-export policy which states that OFWs may only be deployed in
peaceful and secure countries and only for employment.
money from OFWs
International also said the Macapagal-Arroyo administration robbed the
money of OFWs entrusted to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
In March 2003,
Macapagal-Arroyo approved the release of $293,500 from OWWA. The said
money was allegedly intended for the “preparatory activities of Kuwait and
six other posts on the U.S.-Iraq crisis.” Another P5 million ($88,786.29,
based on an exchange rate of P56.315 per US dollar) was released from OWWA
in May 2003.
demanded an impartial investigation of what she described as illegal
disbursement of OWWA funds. She stressed that Macapagal-Arroyo, then
Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and OWWA Administrator Virgilio Angelo
must be prosecuted for the loss of OFW funds as support to Iraq war.
The ICTI also
held Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for making the entire Philippine
territory a haven for American war criminals through the RP-U.S.
Non-Surrender Agreement. In May 2003, Macapagal-Arroyo granted the U.S.
forces in the Philippines immunity from prosecution before the
International Criminal Court (ICC).
In so doing,
Capulong said Macapagal-Arroyo violated the Rome Statute that established
the ICC and the VFA itself.
prosecutor recalled the criminal acts of U.S. military personnel in the
Philippines when the U.S. military bases were still here. These acts
included homicide, assault, physical injuries, rape, malicious mischief,
possession of marijuana and other prohibited drugs.
1985 to December 1986, 258 cases were filed against U.S. troops in
Olongapo courts. Of these cases, however, three were archived and one
resulted in an acquittal. During the same period, in Angeles City, out of
43 criminal cases, three were dismissed. Nine were classified as “pending
arrest” since the accused were flown by U.S. authorities to another
Emmie de Jesus,
secretary general of Gabriela, also filed a complaint before the ICTI.
She said women are the most affected in the U.S. wars of aggression.
De Jesus said
that prostitution is prevalent in areas where American soldiers are
present. In the 1990s before the repeal of the Military Bases Agreement
(MBA), there were 2,000 establishments for “rest and recreation.”
Cases of sexual
abuse were filed but later on dismissed. From 1981 to 1988, there were 15
cases of sexual abuse which involved women aged 11 to 16. Eighty-two more
cases of sexual abuse involved women aged 16 and above.
In 2001, two
years after the ratification of the VFA, there were 429 new bar girls in
Angeles City who provided “take-home service,” an apparent euphemism for
prostitution. In 2002, Tanikala Inc., documented 36 women, as young as 13
years old, who were victims of sex trafficking from Davao to Zamboanga
City, the latter reportedly having as many as 2,000 prostituted women.
Sexually-transmitted diseases were widespread particularly in Angeles and
Olongapo where there were about 50,000 “hospitality girls” at the peak of
the Vietnam war. It was also in these cities where AIDS infection cases
were first reported in the Philippines.
De Jesus also
decried another “souvenir” left by the American soldiers: Amerasians.
According to her, tens of thousands of sons and daughters of American
soldiers were left for good by their fathers.
Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Macapagal-Arroyo was the first leader in the
region to pledge all-out support for Bush. In October 2001, Bush declared
the Philippines as the second front in the global war on terror.
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