Press Release
December 14, 2006


Judge Benjamin Pozon has every right to subject the applicable Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provisions strictly in the case of Smith.

Of course, the provisions may also be interpreted liberally according to the observations of the DOJ secretary.

The important thing to remember here is that the rape case of Smith does not only have legal implications. It also has psychological implications that can hurt the national psyche if not handled with sensitivity.

As of now, even the visible presence of a US soldier supervising the Makati cops holding Smith in custody stabs the soul of the Filipino. He knows deep in his heart that his country can never be treated as an equal by our past colonial masters.

The problem that aggravates the situation is that unlike before when communications were deathly slow, now with the internet, people know that Japan and other countries would now tolerate their legal systems to be trumped by VFA-like arrangements.

My suggestion is that it is not for the good of anyone to keep the issue hanging. If the DOJ secretary wants to elevate the matter to the higher courts he should do so posthaste without berating Judge Pozon, who incidentally, if the secretary does not know it, is not under his jurisdiction.

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