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Philippine News Digest 95

January 15, 2007 · 

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Contents:
-Arroyo is ‘truly the region’s angel of death’
-SC orders Palace to justify Smith transfer

Arroyo is ‘truly the region’s angel of death’
Philippine Daily Inquirer
FERDINAND ANNO, Union Theological Seminary,
Pala-pala, Dasmariñas, Cavite
01/15/07

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s proposal for an anti-terror pact among Asean countries falls in line with George W. Bush’s “surge” policy in Iraq, a policy that is now also pushing for a more aggressive intervention in Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

The Cold War’s proxy wars are now being revived in the context of a new clash — that of “civilizations,” about which Samuel Huntington wrote to justify to the “American Century” project of the “neoconservatives in Washington. Through Ms Arroyo — although running counter to Speaker Jose de Venecia’s proposed “Dialogue of Civilizations” (a concept contradicting his aggressive push for the anti-terror bill) — the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is now being courted to escalate the new Cold War.

The local militants’ fear of the revival of legislated mass repression region-wide is not unfounded, considering the ongoing persecution of the communities of resistance in the country. Death will soon be at the doorsteps of those who see and speak. Ms Arroyo is truly this region’s angel of death.

SC orders Palace to justify Smith transfer
The Philippine STAR
By Edu Punay
01/17/07

The Supreme Court ordered Malacañang yesterday to justify the transfer of convicted rapist US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith from the Makati City jail to the US Embassy.

Among the respondents in the petition filed by “Nicole,” the Filipina who filed a rape charge against Smith, before the Supreme Court last Jan. 8 are officials who ordered Smith’s transfer at midnight on Dec. 29: Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

The Supreme Court gave 10 days for the respondents, including Smith’s camp, to state their position on Nicole’s appeal for the nullification of a provision in the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which stipulates that “custody of any US personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with the US military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings.”

Evalyn Ursua, Nicole’s lawyer, wrote in the petition that the VFA violates her client’s “constitutionally guaranteed rights to due process and the equal protection of the laws as well as the exclusive constitutional power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules of procedure.”

Ursua questioned the agreement between US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Romulo – which allowed Smith’s transfer to the US embassy – and asked the Supreme Court to nullify the pact since it violates the Philippine Constitution, statutes and Rules of Court.

She also asked the Supreme Court to issue an arrest warrant for Smith and his
detention “in a facility run by Philippine authorities.” [End]

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