As expected, the US rejected the request of our country to have custody of four Marines charged with raping a Filipina back in Dec2005. More details on the news here.
What struck me though was the line that the rape case “did not inflame any serious anti-American sentiment among the public.” Sure, there were protests in front of the US Embassy by some groups but that’s about it. They did the usual chanting but that did not cause much stir.
Honestly, I don’t think anyone should hate America. America is not the problem.
Who the we should despise are those who signed the VFA. The Visiting Forces Agreement substantially protects US military personnel from our laws. There’s just too much privilege for them and not enough protection for us. And when cases like this pops-up, there’s very little that our government can do. Except comply, of course.
Perhaps (and I say again, perhaps), back then, we needed the VFA for whatever reason, whether in terms of monetary and military aid or whathaveyou. But in light of this recent rape case, I believe it is time to review the VFA again and make some crucial changes asap. Or simply scrap it altogether.
The Philippine government may find herself in constant need of aid from other nations, especially from the US, but the rights of our nation and of our people should not – or never! – be undermined by entering such an agreement with the US – or any nation, for that matter.