Pilipinas at Amerika, magkaiba ang interpretasyon sa usapin ng kustodiya sa VFA — De Lima

admin   •   December 18, 2014   •   4774

MANILA, Philippines – May ilang probisyon ng Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) na hindi malinaw dahil sa magkakaibang interpretasyon ng Pilipinas at Estados Unidos.

Ayon kay Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, kabilang rito ay ang usapin ng kustodiya at depinisyon ng “extraordinary circumstances”.

“Pareho naman nagwo-work within the preview of the VFA, nagkakaroon lang ng pagkakaiba sa pag-iinterpret. May isang provision which says that in extraordinary circumscumstances, we request for the custody and they shall consider. So sa extraordinary circumscumstances pa lang hindi na nag-a-agree, walang definition.”

Nitong Miyerkules ay hindi pinagbigyan ng US Embassy ang hiling ng Pilipinas na makuha ang kustodiya ni Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton na suspek sa pagpatay kay Jeffrey Laude alyas Jennifer sa Olongapo City noong Oktubre.

Ngunit pagtitiyak ni De Lima, maoobliga ang Estados Unidos na ibigay ang kustodiya ni Pemberton kung convicted na ang US Marine.

Maaari pa naman aniyang muling hilingin ng Pilipinas ang kustodiya ni Pemberton, subalit magdedepende pa rin sa US Embassy kung pagbibigyan ito.

“Ang talagang sigurado na ma-compel sila ay pag ma-convict na. Pero ganitong stages, may mga provision na subject to varying and differing interpretations.”

Sinabi pa ni De Lima na matagal nang tinatrabaho ng ehekutibo ang pag-repaso sa mga probisyon ng VFA.

Mayroon na ring mga pag-uusap ang Pilipinas at Estados Unidos hinggil sa implementing guidelines ng VFA. Ito ay bilang sagot sa panawagan ni Senate President Franklin Drilon na pagrebisa sa mga kasunduang nakapaloob sa VFA.

“Ang impel guidelines ‘til now hindi mabuo. 2-3 years na yang tinatrabaho. May certain aspects na di nagkakasundo. Provisions are prone to varying interpretations kaya kailangan ng imple guidelines,” saad pa ni De Lima. (Bianca Dava / Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

NBI nabs four individuals for human trafficking

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 11, 2021

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday (August 11) announced the arrest of four (4) individuals by the operatives of NBI- Olongapo District Office (NBI-OLDO) for Human Trafficking in Olongapo City.

NBI Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Director Eric Distor said the operation stemmed from an intelligence report provided by Destiny Rescue Filipinas.

According to the group, a certain Jackylou Lastimado and Monica Corum were allegedly conducting human trafficking activities in Olangapo and in nearby municipalities.

The report said both  Lastimado and Corum acted as pimps to prospective clients by procuring, offering, promoting, facilitating or inducing minors specifically high school students and out of school youths by taking advantage of their vulnerability to engage in prostitution and other sexual activities in exchange for monetary consideration.

After validating the report, 2 operations in different venues/hotels were planned by the NBI- Olongapo District Office (NBI-OLDO). Arrested during the operation are Jackylou Lastimado, Ramil Enterno, Monica Labandelo and Jesthony Telan.

The operations also led to the rescue of 10 trafficked victims, six of whom are minors. The minors were turned- over to the City’s Social Welfare and Development Office.

The arrested subjects were presented for onquest proceedings before the City Prosecutor’s Office of Olongapo City on August 5, 2021 for 5 counts of human trafficking under R.A. 9208 otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and 5 counts for violation of R.A. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. AAC

US gov’t welcomes Duterte decision to recall termination of VFA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2021

The government of the United States on Friday welcomed the Philippines’ decision to retract the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, earlier in the day, announced the development after President Rodrigo Duterte met with visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III.

“We strongly believe that the VFA, and the broader alliance that the VFA enables, strengthens not only the security of our two nations but also the rules-based order that benefits all nations in the Indo-Pacific,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

Duterte and Austin met in Malacañang on Thursday.

Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

His visit coincides with the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations of the US and the Philippines and the 70th Anniversary of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty this year.

The PH-US visiting forces deal came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines.

The pact also includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops, and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.

Duterte last year ordered the abrogation of the VFA, which is anchored in the PH-US 1951 defense treaty.

The termination of the pact, however, was suspended citing the coronavirus pandemic and the relevant developments in the region.

Non-Abrogation of VFA, no longer a surprise — Bayan Muna

Maris Federez   •   July 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Friday said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to recall the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is “no longer a surprise as it was already an expected move and part of the administration’s Janus-faced foreign policy.”

Zarate said the president was never serious with its decision to abrogate the VFA even from the start.

“We have said it before that he is not really bent on abrogating the VFA. If at all, the prior threat to abrogate is even one way also for Pres. Duterte to appease the United States government and court its favor behind his political plans and for his selected successor in the 2022 elections,” the Davao-based solon said.

“Pres. Duterte is appeasing the US, haggle for more war materiel in support of its US-dictated counter-insurgency campaign. At the same time, he continues to pursue vassal-like relations with China,” he added.

The Deputy Minority leader also emphasized that the government’s move will put the country in the middle of two superpowers.

“Namamangka sa dalawang imperyalistang mga ilog ang foreign policy ng Duterte administration. This is even gravely dangerous and disadvantageous to our country and people,” Zarate said.

“It puts our country between two opposing imperialist superpowers, using our country as a pawn in their race to militarize and dominate the South China Sea,” he added.

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