We in the Artists for the Removal of Gloria (Arrest Gloria) condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent gang-rape of a 22-year-old Filipina by six US Marine servicemen in Subic, Zambales. The perpetrators of this unthinkably bestial act ï¿½ Keith Silkwood, Daniel Smith, Albert Lara, Dominic Duplantis, Corey Barris and Chad Carpenter ï¿½ have been stationed in Subic for the past few months as participants in the joint US-RP military exercises in the former American naval base.
Based on initial findings from Subic police, the victim was visiting a karaoke bar Nov. 1 when she met the six American servicemen, who pretended to befriend her and invited her to go with them in a rented van. A few hours later, witnesses said, the young woman was seen being dumped unconscious from a van on the road.
We likewise condemn President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her deafening silence on this atrocity against the dignity of a Filipina.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo has been reported as having expressed ï¿½concernï¿½ about the ï¿½claimsï¿½ related to this crime, and said he would support all efforts at investigating, prosecuting, and trying the case. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez has gone public urging the US Embassy, which now has custody of the six US Marine servicemen, to present them once a case is filed against them in court.
While whether the two Cabinet secretaries will live up to their seemingly bold statements still remains to be seen and there is definitely a lot more that they could have said, it is disgusting that two underlings have beaten President Arroyo to the draw in issuing statements on this crime by foreigners against one of our own. President Arroyo, who calls herself Ina ng Bayan every chance she gets, carries the biggest responsibility in this issue ï¿½ having aggressively promoted the Balikatan military exercises which brought the six rapists to this country in the first place.
In late 2001 President Arroyo ï¿½ who had been installed into power just months before through a popular uprising ï¿½ was all over the papers and television practically pointing the dirty finger at all anti-Balikatan groups and personalities, calling them ï¿½un-Filipino.ï¿½ They included staunch nationalists Wigberto Taï¿½ada, Roland Simbulan, and Amado Gat. Inciong.
She fabricated the belief that with not a little help from the US troops, our soldiers will be able to wipe out terrorists. More than three years after the Balikatan military exercises commenced, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is all over the papers and television pushing for an Anti-Terrorism Bill that would supposedly help in their pursuit of the various groups it has chosen to label as ï¿½terrorist.ï¿½ We wonder what happened to all the help that US troops have supposedly been providing the Philippine military under the Balikatan.
President Arroyo pushed for the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), which grants US troops the ï¿½rightï¿½ to bring military equipment into the country from any entry point. The MLSA serves as a companion treaty to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which grants extraterritorial and extrajudicial ï¿½rightsï¿½ to visiting US servicemen. In 1998 and 1999, then Vice President Arroyo joined then President Joseph Estrada in pushing for the VFA, even doing a duet with him in calling its opponents the worst names.
All these, she repeatedly said, are needed to wipe out the ï¿½terroristï¿½ threat.
In arguing thus, she ignores the fact that our supposed military allies from the US have a record of abandoning us in our most trying moments. In World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur led in the evacuation of the bulk of American forces from the Philippines ï¿½ returning with his troops only when the war was practically over as our various guerrilla units had captured all top officials of the Japanese Imperial Army. The US similarly refused to commit military aid to us in the 1990s, when our claim on the Kalayaan Reef of the Spratlys was under threat from China ï¿½ despite the continued existence of the Mutual Defense Treaty.
She likewise ignores the fact that in the years when the Philippines hosted US military bases, American servicemen would every so often prey on hapless Filipinas and use the influence of their government to escape Philippine justice ï¿½ all while choosing to abandon the Philippines in its most trying moments, even as they were here supposedly for RP-US mutual defense.
This is the kind of President we now have in Malacaï¿½ang ï¿½ a President who chooses to uphold a farcical RP-US military alliance at the expense of the dignity of a fellow Filipina ï¿½ all while maintaining a presidency reacquired in the last election by fraudulent means and driving the people into deeper and deeper penury by the day. The country has no need for this kind of President.
Artists for the Removal of Gloria (ARREST Gloria)
November 4, 2005
Southern Tagalog Exposure
KASIBULAN Women Visual Artistsï¿½ Collective
KUMASA (Kulturang Ugnayan ng Manggagawa at Uring Anakpawis sa Timog Katagalugan)
ARTIST, Inc. (Arts Research and Training Institute in Southern Tagalog)
Kilometer 64 Poetry Group
Tambisan sa Sining
APLAYA (Artistang Pangkultura ng Mamamalakaya sa Timog Katagalugan)
Gian Paolo Mayuga
Lourd de Veyra