I am really upset over the alleged sexual assault by six US servicemen on a young Filipino woman in Subic. Together with the whole nation, I share and feel the anguish being felt by the victim and her family over this tragic incident.
I find this assault a terrible affront to our country’s pride and dignity. The barbaric act of the accused clearly showed a complete lack of respect for the Filipino people’s culture and human rights. When they left the helpless victim on the side of the road, it is almost as if the attackers are boldly challenging us, taunting us.
Rape is a violent and heinous crime. Its perpetrators must immediately be put under the custody of the Philippine government. It is only the only way we can ensure that the suspects will not be unfairly protected by the American government. That is why we strongly denounce efforts of some quarters to transfer the servicemen to Okinawa.
Mrs. Arroyo should assert our sovereignty and defend the diginity of the Filipino people over this injustice. Her seeming indifference and lack of decisive action against the matter is infuriating. She should have ordered the immediate suspension of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) at the very least. Instead her administration’s actions appeared to favor the servicemen. By dismissing this case as an isolated one, authorities showed their ignorance and utter insensitivity to the plight of the victim. Since the time of the US bases and the ratification of the VFA, we have been seeing this abhorrent behavior among US servicemen who treated the whole country as their own personal playground. . It is now the time to put an end to these never-ending abuses against our people. The soldiers must be punished and the VFA should be terminated immediately. No more to American military presence in our country!
The nation will be closely watching this case. If the Arroyo government bungles this one we are sure that the Filipino people will rise up in anger to exact justice and seek retribution. When that time comes Mrs. Arroyo’s government will be history. And that will be a big relief.