Press Release
January 10, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, also sees a need for a Senate inquiry on the real status of the Philippine governments request for custody of four American servicemen charged with raping a Filipina at the Subic Freeport in November last year.

Once and for all, we should look into the real status of our governments request for custody of the suspects. This has dragged on for quite a while now and may unnecessarily cause a delay in the judicial proceedings, says Villar.

Villar adds, I support the resolution filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago directing our committee to conduct an inquiry into the custody issue in the Subic rape case. The people, like the senators, need to be informed and updated on this issue.

Villar also took note of the seemingly different treatment accorded by the US to Japan when it released to the custody of Japanese authorities the American sailor accused of killing and robbing a Japanese woman.

I have always maintained my dissatisfaction to the Status of Forces Agreement or SOFAs that we are entering into particularly the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US, which as we are finding out only because of the rape case, has a number of one-sided or biased provisions, cites Villar.

According to Villar, Next time, we should exert extra caution before we enter into agreements with other countries. We should learn from the loopholes of the VFA with the US and scrutinize future agreements. Would they be mutually beneficial or unfair and unfavorable?

The Philippine government formally sought custody of the accused servicemen in November but the US up to now has not responded to the letter or request. The VFA also provides that the Philippines could request custody of the suspects under special circumstances.

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