Friday, July 23, 2010

Punish US soldiers in sexual molestation of female singer in Basilan concert—CPP

Punish US soldiers in sexual molestation of female singer in Basilan concert—CPP*

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
July 23, 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today demanded punishment for five US military personnel involved in the sexual molestation of a female band singer last July 3 during a concert in Isabela City, Basilan. The CPP also strongly criticized the arrogant and rowdy behavior of the US soldiers during the concert sponsored by the city government.

The US soldiers, who are part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTFP), were identified as Petty Officer 2 Eric Snatch and Petty Officer Devin Fitzgerald of US Navy; Sgt. Thomas Patterson and Corporal Brian Nguyen of the US Marine Corps; and Staff Sgt. Mathew Blanchard of the US Army.

The five drunken US soldiers climbed up the stage towards the end of the concert, shouted invectives at the concert's musical band members and grabbed the instruments of the band while they were packing up. They then turned their attention on the female band singer and took turns kissing and molesting her. The US troopers started to forcibly hie her off to their barracks, but were stopped by Filipino soldiers there, who also suffered indignities as the US troopers shouted invectives at them.

"The Filipino people demand that the Aquino government immediately and decisively move to protect the dignity of the Filipino people and carry out the necessary police and judicial measures to ensure that the US soldiers be punished for sexually molesting the female band singer," said the CPP. "The Filipino people demand that these soldiers be prosecuted and punished under Philippine laws."

The CPP warned the Aquino regime against "repeating its predecessor's mistake of always buckling to US pressure to always uphold the unilateral and unfair US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and absolve erring US personnel of all crimes and liabilites in the country."

"The Arroyo regime did its best to and prevent the redress of injustice in the crime committed by Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, a US soldier who raped 22-year old ‘Nicole' in the Subic Freeport Zone in 2005," the CPP recalled. "The Arroyo government prevented Smith's incarceration in a Philippine prison by smuggling him out of a Philippine National Police detention facilty in the dead of night and passing him to the custody of the US embassy, rendering him out of reach of Philippine law enforcers."

Under pressure from the US government, the Arroyo government then did all it could to overturn Smith's conviction in 2006 and succeeded in 2009 through collusion between the Department of Justice and Smith's lawyers and their application of intense pressure on the victim herself."

The CPP also reiterated its demand for the abrogation of the VFA, which allows the free entry and presence of US soldiers in the country and "shields them from Philippine judicial and sovereign authority." At least 600 US soldiers are permanently stationed in the Philippines, mainly in the headquarters of the JSOTF-P within various camps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Mindanao.

"The VFA is one among many unequal treaties between the US and Philippine governments that trample on Philippine sovereignty and pave the way for US military intervention, domination and wrongdoing," said the CPP. "Through the VFA and the subservience of the Philippine government, US military advisers and soldiers have been asserting their authority and committing crimes against the Filipino people with high-handedness and outright disregard of Philippine laws."