Here is a piece of news that the US embassy and the presidential palace would surely welcome: Rape victim “Nicole” has recanted her testimony, fired her lawyer and has gone to the US as early as last week.
Also today, groups, public officials and public figures relaunched the Junk VFA Movement. It appears they are surprised but unperturbed by the recent acts of “Nicole”and whether these would affect the crusade to have the VFA nullified.
We can only speculate what has happened between now and the day the Supreme Court issued its recent ruling — perhaps “Nicole” just got fed up. Some women (and men) may also not be able to endure the terrible pressures and possible inducements from two governments. I just hope the Philippine and US government did not buy “Nicole” and that “Nicole” did not sell herself and her hard-won victory. She of course also owes the nation an explanation.
But all these are secondary to what the Arroyo administration must be made to account for. It is the administration that continues to uphold and defend an onerous, unfair and illegal agreement, the VFA. It is ratified by the Philippine Senate and recognized by the Philippines as a treaty. But the US has not made any moves to put it through a Senate vote and to adopt a resolution to operationalize it. Legalities aside, this administration always makes matters worse by interpreting and executing the VFA with a stridently and blatantly anti-Philippine perspective peppered by nasty statements from the justice secretary. Indeed, this is less about “Nicole” than the readiness of the Philippine government to uphold Philippine sovereignty and the means the US government uses to advance its own.
As to Barack Obama, this development as well as his call to Mrs. Arroyo are really a sobering reminder to everyone who expect “change” to come to Philippine-US relations that, strictly speaking, Obama is not our man. He is the US president out to protect US interests. Very unfortunately for us, we have a president and a long list of wannabee presidents who don’t think twice stepping on Philippine interests just to remain in the good graces of their US master — even to the extent of weakening a Filipino citizen’s case of rape against a US serviceman and turning over the convicted rapist to the US embassy in flagrant violation of national laws.