Nicole Rape Trial
Highlights U.S. Defense Pacts’ Threat to RP Sovereignty
verdict in the trial of four U.S. servicemen for the alleged rape of
“Nicole” should be an occasion to reflect on how defense agreements with
the U.S. infringe on the country’s sovereignty.
Posted by Bulatlat
The impending verdict in the trial of
four U.S. servicemen for the alleged rape of “Nicole” should be an
occasion to reflect on how defense agreements with U.S. infringe on the
According to IBON research director
Antonio Tujan, U.S.-RP defense agreements such as the Visiting Forces
Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement threaten
Philippine autonomy since they allow U.S. soldiers to get away with crimes
committed on local soil, among others.
He cited Article V that allows U.S.
servicemen who have committed a crime to remain under the custody of the
U.S. embassy or U.S. authorities, as well as calling for a one-year
deadline to finish proceedings against soldiers accused of a crime.
Tujan also pointed out that the VFA, a
form of Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), has become controversial in
countries with U.S. bases such as Japan. He cited the Japanese-American
SOFA which American authorities use to shield accused soldiers from
Tujan also cited figures in a petition
issued by Okinawa governor Keiichi Inamine for the renegotiation of the
SOFA, which revealed that from 1972 to 2002, U.S. troops, Pentagon
civilians and military dependents had committed 5,157 crimes, of which 533
were major crimes like murder and rape. Okinawa supports roughly 75
percent of all U.S. troops in Japan.
He also pointed out that the
Philippines is further promoting U.S. interests in the region by pushing
to complete an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention
on Counter-terrorism in the upcoming 12th Summit in December, which the
country is hosting as this year’s ASEAN chair. The U.S. could use such a
convention to justify intensified military presence in the Southeast Asian
region, which it considers as a “front line” in its “War on Terror”.
Hence, Tujan called for the abrogation
of the VFA and other unequal RP-U.S. defense agreements in order to defend
the country’s sovereignty and its independence.
He added that an international network
of research NGOs is organizing a conference to discuss the issues arising
from U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia. The Asia-Pacific Research
Network, of which Tujan chairs, will hold the Conference on U.S.
Militarism and the War on Terror in the Asia Pacific on December 9-10 in
Cebu. Ibon Foundation/posted by Bulatlat
IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development
institution established in 1978 that provides research, education,
publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic
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