Oct 192014
 
MAKABAYAN BLOC FILES JOINT RESOLUTION 17. JOINT RESOLUTION IMMEDIATELY ABROGATING THE RP-US VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT AND URGING PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III TO SEND NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF THE SAID AGREEMENT TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

MAKABAYAN BLOC FILES JOINT RESOLUTION 17. JOINT RESOLUTION IMMEDIATELY ABROGATING THE RP-US VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT AND URGING PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III TO SEND NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF THE SAID AGREEMENT TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


JOINT RESOLUTION

IMMEDIATELY ABROGATING THE RP-US VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT AND URGING
PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. AQUINO III TO SEND NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF THE
SAID AGREEMENT TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



WHEREAS, on October 11, 2014, Filipina transgender Jennifer Laude, 26,
was brutally killed in Olongapo City. The suspect, Private First Class
Joseph Scott Pemberton ,a member of  US Marine Corps 2nd Battalion 9th
Marines assigned at West Pace Express. Pemberton is among the US
military troops sent in the Philippines as part of the Joint RP-US
military exercises under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) signed by
the Philippine Senate in May 27, 1999;



WHEREAS, amid calls by various groups for the Philippine government to
take custody and prosecution of the suspect, the Department of Foreign
Affairs (DFA) said in news reports that while the Philippine
government has the jurisdiction of the case and will be tried in
Philippine Courts, there is no guarantee that the US will grant the
custody of the suspect. The DFA cited Article V, paragraph 6 of the
VFA that states “The custody of any United States personnel over whom
the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside
with US military authorities, if they so request, from the commission
of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings;”



WHEREAS, it is a big slap on the face of the Filipino nation and
downright revolting that the government failed to arrest and take
custody of the suspected assailant Pemberton and the US authority and
custody prevailed  over the American suspect of killing a Filipino on
Philippine soil;

=-
WHEREAS,  this incident proves once again the one-sided, pro-US and
anti-Filipino character of the VFA and highlighted the patently
onerous provisions of the VFA on the custody of the erring US troops,
prescription of criminal prosecution and waiver of jurisdiction that
essentially grants immunity from prosecution of US military personnel
who commit crimes against Filipinos effectively denying justice for
the victims and all Filipinos;



WHEREAS, this incident shows that VFA is unmistakably an affront to
the State’s sovereign power to enforce its laws within its territory
and makes a mockery of our justice system;



WHEREAS, the case of Laude is not an isolated case as there are
several other incidents wherein the country’s sovereignty, criminal
jurisdiction and the end of justice are undermined because of the VFA
These include: the rape of a Filipina named Nicole in Subic, Zambales
in 2005 by Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, the shooting of farmer
Buyong-Buyong Isnijal in Tuburan, Basilan in 2002 involving American
soldier Reggie Lane, the shooting of Arsid Baharon in Barangay San
Roque, Zamboanga City on June 21, 2004 by an American soldier whose
identity US authorities have withheld,  and other transgressions and
crimes  where American soldiers were allegedly involved;



WHEREAS, in explicit violation of Philippine laws and the VFA itself,
various incidents have revealed the US troops’ involvement in direct
combat operations especially in Mindanao. These include the August 14,
2007 incident in Indanan, Sulu where a team of US Special Forces was
spotted leading a convoy of Philippine Marines on a combat mission
near an area of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and where
two American soldiers were ambushed. US troops are also involved in
internal conflict resolution and counterinsurgency operations as joint
military exercises are also conducted in areas where there are
reported presence of  New People’s Army and MNLF and Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF);



WHEREAS, the VFA has been widely and rightfully criticized as an
onerous agreement that has paved the way for the permanent presence
of US troops in the country under the guise of year-round military
exercises including the “Balikatan” exercises. There are also reports
that the  US facilities here are used for surveillance of other
countries in Asia especially those that are conflict-ridden. Since
2002, there has been continuous presence of US troops  in the country
through successive military exercises. The Filipino people were
rendered clueless as to the duration of stay, the number of troops and
the areas where they can operate;



WHEREAS, despite the Philippine Senate’s ratification in 1999, the VFA
is not valid and unconstitutional since it is not recognized and
ratified as a treaty by the US as a contracting State as required by
their Constitution



WHEREAS,  Article IX of VFA I provides the manner of termination,
which states:  “This agreement shall remain in force until the
expiration of 180 days from the date on which either party gives the
other party notice in writing that it desires to terminate the
agreement;”



WHEREAS, foreign relations in domestic law are the prerogative of both
the President and the Congress. Congress through its plenary
law-making power and the President through the residual or personal
prerogatives. One cannot be compelled by the other but neither will an
act have force and effect without the other's concurrence;



WHEREAS, in the 15 years that the VFA has been in place, the country’s
sovereignty and national interest has been undermined in favor of US
strategic economic and politico-military interests in the country and
the Asia-Pacific region;



NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Congress, through a joint
resolution, abrogates the  US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement and
strongly urges President Benigno S. Aquino III to immediately transmit
the notice of termination of the said agreement to the United States
of America.







Adopted,









NERI JAVIER COLMENARES

Bayan Muna Party-list









CARLOS ISAGANI ZARATE                         FERNANDO HICAP

 Bayan Muna Party-list
Anakpawis Party-list













ANTONIO L. TINIO                                              TERRY RIDON

ACT Teachers Party-list
Kabataan Party-list

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.