The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has strongly condemned the gang rape by six US soldiers of a 22-year old Filipino woman in Subic Bay, Olongapo City on November 1, saying this despicable crime underscores the long-standing demand of the Filipino people to boot out the interventionist US soldiers and bases from the country and immediately abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and all other unequal military agreements between the US and Philippine governments.
CPP spokesperson Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal said the gang rape was just the latest of a long history of crimes by American soldiers against the Filipino people which have gone unpunished. At least 60 cases of rape and many, many more cases of murder, homicide, injuries and abuse against Filipinos, including those mistaken for “wild boar,” have been committed by US soldiers in and around US military bases since the 1950s. He added that none of the perpetrators of these crimes has ever been punished, and in all cases the US government in connivance with the puppet government had whisked out the US forces involved.
Going back longer into the history of the presence of US troops in the Philippines, Rosal said further that the vicious “pacification campaign” of the US in the Philippines in colonial days have directly and indirectly resulted in the death of more than a million Filipinos, the burning of entire villages and other vicious atrocities of an imperialist aggressor and colonializer.
On November 3, US authorities took custody of the six US servicemen and transferred them to “rest and recreation” after they were charged for gang raping the Filipino woman last Tuesday. They servicemen were identified by the driver of a rental van from which the woman was dumped onto the street practically naked.
The six soldiers from the aircraft carrier USS Essex were among the 4,000 US troops who participated in a joint military exercise with Philippine troops in Subic.The aircraft carrier (USS Essex) docked at the Subic Bay port on October 22 and sailed off yesterday without the six US soldiers.
Rosal urged the Filipino people to vigorously pursue the rape case and other acts of violence and crimes committed by US forces against Filipinos and to act vigilantly to ensure that justice will be attained. Rosal doubted whether the Filipino rape victim will ever attain justice if the case is left to Philippine and American officials, despite official statements that provisions of the VFA will be followed.
Rosal said that the refusal of the US authorities to turn over to Philippine authorities the US soldiers involved, despite the case supposedly being “under full Philippine jurisdiction,” smacks of the overbearing attitude of a superior to its minions and the subservient helplessness of a puppet government in dealing with its master.
Rosal recalled an incident where a US soldier named Reggie Lane shot Buyong-buyong Isnail in the thigh as he was roused from sleep at midnight in his own home in Tuburan, Basilan. Lane was then in the company of two Filipino soldiers who barged into the Isnail home purportedly looking for terrorists. The three soldiers were among US and Filipino soldiers taking part in US-Philippine military exercises. The US and Philippine military officials justified the harassment as part of their anti-terrorist drive and did not file any case against Lane and his two Filipino companions.
In another incident, Rosal said, three American servicemen accused of mauling Filipino taxi driver Marcelo Batestil in March 2000 were never punished. Using the provisions of the VFA, Philippine offials surrendered jurisdiction over the three soldiers to the US government.
Beyond the rape of the 22-year old Filipina and the various other incidents of US soldiers victimizing ordinary Filipinos, Rosal said, is the “bigger and more violent rape of Philippine sovereignty which the US has committed daily in the country for the past century.”
The CPP spokesperson reiterated the demand to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty which allows the US military virtually unhampered access to Philippine territory in violation of Philippine sovereignty. “These unequal agreements have been used by the US and Arroyo governments to step up US military intervention in the Philippines in the past several years in line with its campaign to establish its military and economic might around the globe.” (CPP Media Bureau)