Still fresh in our mind was the case of the 22-year-old woman (later referred to by the media as “Nicole”), who was allegedly abused by American military servicemen. Reports said the case was filed before the Olongapo City prosecutor’s office as a criminal complaint for gang rape against USS Essex military servicemen Chad Staff Sergeant Carpentier, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, Lance Corporal Corey Burris, Lance Corporal Albert Lara, Lance Corporal Keith Silkwood, and another John Doe. The rape allegedly occurred in Subic on November 1, 2005.
The local media blitz to seek justice for “Nicole” brought about subtle bullying tactics by the United States to save the American soldier from conviction. As expected, nothing came out of our call for prosecution, four years after the case was tried in our local courts. As if to add insult to the injury, the 22 year-old victim “Nicole”, expecting gloomy prospects of her fight for justice, compromised her position by deciding to live in the United States, the land of residence of the very same people who violated her rights.
Now here comes another incident, certainly more brutal than the Nicole case, the Jeffrey (Jennifer) Laude case. Laude was found dead inside the toilet of an Olongapo City motel room late night of October 11, 2014. A witness identified Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton as the person the victim was last seen with before Laude was killed. Laude’s sympathizers and supporters are clamoring for justice. Despite what seems to be formidable odds against Pemberton’s conviction and possibly a repeat of the Nicole case almost a decade ago, people are hoping that this time, the authorities will uphold not only Laude’s rights but collectively the Filipinos’ rights as well. Hopefully, the Laude case will not be another unsolved statistic in the records of human rights violations flagrantly committed by the supposed protectors of democracy.
US record of human rights violations
According to apologeticsindex.org, “the United States government frequently speaks out on what it considers to be human rights violations throughout the world – and often does so when commenting on the treatment of certain religious cults and sects, as well as movements it views as ‘’religions.’ But while a concern for human rights is to be commended, America’s approach is seen by many as ill-advised at best and hypocritical at worst.”
The Office of China’s State Council said in a report that the United States attacks more than 190 countries and regions including China on their human rights issues, but mentions nothing about its own human rights problems. It is an obvious case of double standard meant to criticize other countries yet spare its own, in fact worse actions.
Once source revealed that in 2004, the atrocities of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark side of human rights performance of the United States. The scandal shocked the public and was condemned by the international community. U.S. assertion of human rights violations committed by other countries like China, Iraq and other countries including the Philippines only exposes itself to hypocritical acts primarily designed at striking double standards in interpreting or misinterpreting their more flagrant actions or desecrations.
While less developed countries like the Philippines can only bow to the whims and caprices of more powerful countries like the US, it should be borne in mind that in many instances, these violations are tolerated by our local authorities, therefore submitting ourselves to American jurisdiction. These actions belie our supposed continuing struggle and crusade to seek fair and just treatment from the United States.
VP Binay’s quandary
The never-ending blitz of negative bulletins against the Vice President seems to have gone from bad to worse. The consistent avalanche of information linking him to “unexplained” ownership of grandiose properties has obviously affected his “campaign” to occupy the highest position of the land. Regardless of whether there is a tinge of truth or none behind this crusade to discredit him, it has considerably affected the people’s trust in him as shown by the steady decline in his popularity, survey after survey, irrespective of the surveying firm whether SWS or Pulse Asia.
At this point of the VP’s dilemma, he has no other choice but to prove to all and sundry that all of these allegations linking him to possession of lavish properties are all untrue. This can be better defended, to erase all doubts against him, if he will appear before the Senate body that is investigating his alleged wrongdoings.
It should be beside the point if the Senate body is out to discredit him, because if all his elucidations and proofs are beyond suspicion, then VP Binay should not worry because the people can appreciate and can fully discern the difference between what is right or wrong. For after all, we should always adapt our ideologies on that age-old adage, “the truth shall set you free.”
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