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Pemberton: A question of trust

Since the US does not have faith in the Philippines’ justice system, how can Filipinos be expected to have faith in America’s security commitments?

Since the US does not have faith in the Philippines’ justice system, how can Filipinos be expected to have faith in America’s security commitments?

That is the simple issue highlighted by the Pemberton case and similar cases in the past. The Philippines has had half a dozen defense and security arrangements with the US since 1951. The country is divided as to its wisdom and necessity.

When problems arise from these security arrangements, the incident that causes it invariably is not security-related. In every case, it would involve US servicemen who violate Philippine criminal laws when they are off-duty. Pemberton is not an isolated case. In the past 60 years, similar cases have arisen.   

Predictably, the US immediately protects the US servicemen. If the US cannot even protect Filipino women from U.S. servicemen, how can Filipinos rely on the US to live-up to her commitments embodied in the treaties or agreements they have with us.

That should be food for thought for the Senate whose members’ battlecry is to review the VFA, but with cautionary statement not to abrogate it. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which is before the Supreme Court, has interlocking references with VFA. Yet the haunting question is trust, whether as allies we can trust each other. – Rappler.com

Joker P. Arroyo is a former Senator of the Philippines.