No immunity: Case of US troops’ gang rape of Filipina woman must surrender to Philippine jurisdiction

New York/San Francisco–The national alliance of Filipino organizations in the US known as Bayan USA and its supporters strongly condemn the recent and brutal gang rape of a 22 year-old Filipina woman by at least six US Marines stationed in Subic Bay, Olongapo City two days ago last Tuesday, November 1.

The six suspects are currently being held in the Philippines under the custody of the US Embassy in Manila.

Bayan USA spokesperson Berna Ellorin asserted, “this heinous crime against the Filipino people at the hands of the US military troops commands nothing less than comprehensive justice. This can only mean
all efforts must be exerted by both the US and Philippine authorities for a full investigation of the alleged perpetrators. Absolutely no immunity must be granted to the six suspects under US jurisdiction. They must surrender to Philippine jurisdiction be tried and held accountable to the Filipino people and its legal system. The Macapagal-Arroyo government, if it is one with its people, must facilitate such a due process. Anything else is not justice.”

According to the unidentified female victim, the group of six US marines invited her to join them in a rented van after a night out in a karaoke bar. A few hours later, as reported by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), witnesses said they saw the unconscious woman’s body being dumped from the van on a road.

SBMA Chair Feliciano Salonga confirmed that the six US servicemen–Keith Silkwood, Daniel Smith, Albert Lara, Dominic Duplantis, Corey Barris, and Chad Capent– were “identified by the driver of the van.”

Ellorin zoomed in on a vague claim by the US Embassy and US Charges D’Affairs Paul Jones that the US would “cooperate” with the Philippine authorities in an investigation of the incident.

“There is a century-long history of US military atrocities committed against Filipinos in the Philippines that were never brought to justice,” Ellorin stated, citing previous examples including the shooting of unarmed civilian Buyong-Buyong Isnijal by US Soldier Reggie Lane in Basilan back in July 2002, the shooting of Aetas (an indigenous people) near Subic back in the eighties by US troops who claimed to have mistook them as wild boar, and countless human rights violations and sexual offenses against Filipino women.

“In all cases, Philippine government surrendered its criminal jurisdiction to the US. US soldiers, as protected by provisions under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) are seldom surrendered to Philippine authorities much less tried under Philippine law. They are totally untouchable under US jurisdiction, despite crimes they can commit against Filipinos on Philippine soil. This means they can get away with anything from murder to gang rape, and not have to answer to the Philippine government,” Ellorin explained.

Ellorin cited the unconstitutionality of the Visiting Forces Agreement in the first place, stating it directly violates Philippine national sovereignty. “The VFA should be repealed at once, for the rights and
welfare of the Filipino people.”

Jones, on the other hand, refused to disclose the exact whereabouts of the six US rape suspects, who were among the 4,500 US servicemen in the Philippines for the Talon joint military exercises since several weeks

Bayan USA called for increased national action in indignation and demanding justice for the victim. It reiterated its call for the total and unconditional withdrawal of US troops and US military aid from the

Lupa ay laya/Land is freedom: A community commemoration of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre of 2004

* Film Screening– Sa Ngalan Ng Tubo/ In the Name of Sugar

* Film Screening– Blood and Tears

* Testimonials from those who have visited Hacienda Luisita since the massacre

Sat, Nov. 17th, 2007, 3-6pm
@ the CAAAV/Nodutdol Office
53-22 Roosevelt Ave.
Second Floor.
Woodside, New York 11377

On November 16, 2004, the thousands-strong striking farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, after days of halting production at the Cojuangco-owned sugar-processing zone in Luzon, were met with bullets by the brutal Philippine military. The shocking incident occured under the regime Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and goes uninvestigated and unresolved by the Philippine government.

The fight for fair and even land distribution is still at the center of the human rights crisis in the Philippines. Join us for a night of remembrance of the martyrs of Luisita and all farmers in the Philippines who continue to struggle for land to call their own.

Organized by the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, a member group of BAYAN USA

and join us for the launch of….

Direct Relief Support Project for Peasant/Farming Communities & other victims of human rights violations in the Philippines

wanted: canned goods, clothes, toys, documentation equipment, and many many more
download flier now

Bayanihan alay sa sambayanan (BALSA): BAYAN relief drive for the victims of typhoon Milenyo

An appeal for help for the victims of typhoon Milenyo

Dear friends,

As damage to communities and livelihood continue to rise in the aftermath of typhoon Milenyo, we in the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan are appealing to you/your organization for support during these very trying times.

In response to the needs of the victims of Milenyo, Bayan has launched the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) relief drive. The drive aims to collect food, clothing, medicine, sleeping materials (blankets, mats), financial aid as well as other materials necessary for the immediate relief of families in depressed communities in Metro Manila as well as nearby provinces.

The BALSA project is being coordinated with various people’s organizations and NGO’s as well as established disaster relief organizations. The manpower requirements and handling of the relief goods will be through the efforts of the various organizations and volunteers. The distribution of the relief goods will be done in coordination with local organizations with the help of disaster relief NGO’s.

We hope you can provide any form of help for this campaign even during this time of severe economic difficulty. You can forward your support to the Bayan office at #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Street, Bgy. Central, Quezon City. For more details, you can contact us at 435-9151 or 4356930 and look for Cha Vargas. For donations from overseas, you can direct your contributions to the Bayan office or inform us through email at

Never again! Filipino-Americans condemn Arroyo’s imposition of a new martial law in the Philippines; affirm call for total withdrawal of US support for Arroyo’s fascist dictatorship

With her Justice Secretary caught red-handed by the media with the draft declaration ready to be signed, the Arroyo administration has resorted to flat-out lying to mask the intended return of a full-scale declaration of martial law in the Philippines. Filipinos in the United States, with the largest community of Filipinos living outside of the Philippines, many of whom left in mass exodus precisely to escape the intensified political repression under Marcosian Martial Law, affirm more stridently than ever our total opposition to the return of Martial Law under the fake and morally-bankrupt Arroyo regime.

As the Arroyo administration swiftly advances towards its unveiling as a full-blown fascist dictatorship, we reiterate our call for the U.S. government to withdraw all forms of support, especially the multi-billion allowance of American tax dollars allotted in military aid, to a regime that must end for the good of both the Filipino and American people.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales Jr.’s drafting of Executive Order 467, which proclaims the Philippines under a state of national emergency and pushes for the quelling of so-called lawlessness, should sound off the loudest wakeup call for the Filipino people and global advocates of human rights. This is tantamount to an official declaration of martial law and fascist takeover.

The Filipino people cannot afford the human cost of another of martial rule in the Philippines. We will not stand silent as the days of darkness so bitterly wrought out by People Power 1 return to damn the Filipino people back to hell. We will not stand for the return of fascist rule, of military authority over people’s rights, of torture, assassinations, civilian militia, warrantless arrests and detainments, military harassment, curfews, media censorship, and seizure of businesses that seeped through the nation under Marcos’ draconian iron fist.

The global human rights community also cannot afford the record-breaking tally of human rights violations and deaths that will surely continue and escalate if martial law will be allowed to proceed and develop full force in the Philippines once again.

Even with Gonzales’ outright admittance of the nature of the Executive Order 467 draft to declare a state of lawless violence, rebellion, and therefore justify a state of national emergency, Arroyo continues to tow a line of deceit and dishonesty towards the Filipino people by masking the order as a shallow matter of Land Regulatory Authority.

Meanwhile she continues with her endless thievery of the people’s democratic rights and slaughter of the Philippine Constitution’s integrity with the forceful implementation of the Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) and Executive Order (EO) 464.

While the CPR brutally squashes the people’s right to peacefully assemble in protest, EO 464 spits at the co-equal authority of the Senate and Congress to hold congressional hearings with and challenge the Executive Branch, virtually protecting the Arroyo regime from having to answer to the people and their representatives on any official matter of concern.

Under EO 464, Arroyo has guarded herself from having to answer any of Congress’s legitimate queries and investigations, including over her wasteful pooling of P50 million in public funds to pay off top-billed US lobby firm Venable LLC in a hush-hush contract to lobby for U.S. support for charter changes to the Philippine Constitution. The U.S. lobby firm’s appeal would also gather more U.S. financial commitment for the Arroyo regime in the form of grants and loans, outside of the $80 billion in military aid already allotted to Arroyo from American tax dollars.

While Arroyo’s brand of the iron fist persists, US financial, political and military support continues to pour in to help reconstruct fascism in the Philippines under the guise of the so-called war on terror. The population of U.S. troops increases exponentially as more and more ships, such as the unidentified U.S. military ship that has landed on the shores of Basilan and Zamboanga this past week, much to the denial of Malacanang, proves.

By providing for the Arroyo regime, the U.S. provides for the establishment of martial law and state terror in the Philippines. It forces working Americans to foot the bill for the systematic killings of activists, trade union leaders, lawyers, progressive party-list members, journalists, church workers, and human rights advocates in the Philippine. While the American majority suffers from the Bush budget cuts on social services– most despicably illustrated with the devastated and impoverished communities displaced not by the Katrina disaster, but by the criminal negligence of the Bush administration– American tax dollars are funneled towards terror projects such as the Arroyo government.

The U.S. should stop all support to the Arroyo regime and stop making a mockery of the Filipino people’s national sovereignty. This includes immediate termination of contracts with lobby firms and a comprehensive end to political meddling in Philippine affairs. This includes the withdrawal of U.S. troops to support state terror against the Filipino people.

We also appeal to the international Filipino migrant community to likewise assist in constricting all forms of financial support to the corrupt Arroyo regime by opting not to remit their dollar earnings through traditional bank-to-bank channels, where the Arroyo government automatically demands a significant percentage of your deposits, but through non-traditional door-to-door channels instead.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a fool if she believes such reproachable acts against the Filipino people will go unchecked. Each day spent at the Presidential seat she stole from the people’s sovereign will only confirms the day when her stolen power will be pounded out decisively and reclaimed by the Filipino people.

The daily mass demonstrations and protest actions all over the Philippines and especially towards Mendiola reveal the truth about Arroyo–that she is destined for a downfall of epic proportions, reminiscent of the people’s extraction of her ill-fated predecessors Marcos and Estrada. That the establishment of a multi-sectoral and truly democratic transition council is the only decent option to protecting the democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people in the face of rampant corruption towed by one too many traditional politicians.

We applaud the unwavering bravery and resistance of our compatriots who have been bloodied and bruised by the whipping batons and crushing shields of the fascist police in these past weeks since the imposition of the CPR. We salute the fierce commitment of those who have been subjected to unlawful arrest and detainment in asserting the people’s right to criticize the government.

These daily heroic acts are the work of the true protectors of the Filipino people’s rights, the Filipino people themselves.

We look forward with keen direction upon the Philippines and especially Mendiola because we know the mass demonstrations cannot and will not stop. As long as fascism exists under Arroyo, blood will continue to spill over the streets of Manila and all over the Philippines not because of the people, but because this is the Arroyo administration’s response when forced to confront the will of the people’s movement.

With the inspiration of our valiant compatriots back home, we too will not be cowed into deafening silence. We pledge complete support for our compatriots back home by exposing the truth about the Arroyo fascist dictatorship to the world, by educating and mobilizing Filipinos in the
U.S. We will heighten and increase mass actions against martial law, state terrorism, and gather international pressure towards the total ouster of the US-Arroyo regime.