CEBU CITY – Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares took the cudgels for Vice President Jejomar Binay as news of the improper treatment of the VP by the aides of former United States President Bill Clinton spread. According to the lawmaker, “It does not matter whether Binay was the vice president or not, nobody deserves to be treated like that. The fact that he is the vice president and it was done by a foreigner to a Filipino in his own country only makes the offense worse. This is reflective of the way the Australian and US government treats our country under the Visiting Forces Agreements (VFA). The US embassy should apologize to VP Binay immediately.”
“Bayan Muna urges the termination of the VFA between Australia and the Philippines called the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA). The Philippine government should also terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the US for violation of our sovereignty and the Philippine Constitution. While the review of the US-RP VFA has been in the media, the Australia-RP VFA has escaped attention even if it contains similarly dangerous provisions,” he said.
“Because of the VFA, US and Australian troops along with some of their narrow-minded country men feel superior. It’s with their continued military presence and dominance in our country that they become so arrogant and even yell at the vice president. If they can do that to the second highest official on the land, what more to ordinary Filipinos, like with the rape of “Nicole” or the strafing in Mindanao,” added the solon.
“Former Pres. Gloria Arroyo, through then Defense Sec. Hermogenes Ebdane silently signed the Australia-RP VFA on May 31, 2007 in Canberra, Australia. Then Australian Defense Minister Robert Hill, however, has publicly admitted even before the signing that Australian security forces have been secretly deployed in the Philippines as part of Australia’s anti-terror campaign,” he added
“The Australia-RP VFA contains provisions that are also unconstitutional and could result in Australia having absolute custody of the accused,” Rep. Colmenares warned. “Furthermore, just like the US VFA, it cannot protect Filipinos from supposed terrorist attacks. How can war games and training exercises help protect us from attacks ? Instead of protecting us, these VFAs can in fact encourage the enemies of Australia and the US to attack the Philippines. The very attacks which the US and Australia warned in their travel advisories were ironically brought about by the deployment of their troops in out country,” Colmenares ended.