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Of Mutual Respect And Unequal Relationships

February 18, 2009

ermita-on-vfa-and-smithjpe-on-vfa-smith-casemiriam-on-vfa-smithlegarda-on-vfa-smith-casekiko-on-vfa-smith-caseAssuming the quote is accurate, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita appears to be hinting that Manila will insist that Lance Corporal Daniel Smith be transferred to a Filipino jail as ordered by the Supreme Court.

‘Guidance’ is being awaited from treaty experts of the US State Department, we are being told, however.

American Ambassador Kristie is not directly confirming Ermita’s story about the two sides having begun talks on the Smith custody issue says the VFA IS RECOFNIZED BY HER NATION AS HAVING THE FULL EFFECT OF A TREATY.


Thus the situation now hinges on which will be completed first: the judicial review of Smith’s rape conviction or the Senate’s move to pass a resolution seeking to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement, an adjunct of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty.

The statements of key lawmakers hang over the negotiations ordered by the Supreme Court while the lawyers of victim ‘Nicole’ and assailant Daniel are doth disconsolate.


The backdrop to all these: what lasting impact the diplomatic wrangle and drwn-out legal drama will have on Philippine-American relations which have periodically seesawed between love and hate.

If there is a lesson to be extracted from the eventual resolution of this issue, the post-colonial relationship of two countries assumed to now be equal sovereigns cannot be locked in a time warp of inequality.

For even a reservoir of goodwill can run dry unless such is replenished with mutual respect for each others laws and judicial processes, respect that is earned and dignity kept intact by leaders with unquestioned integrity and legitimate mandates from their peoples..

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