This refers to Ricardo Ramos’ letter, where he said “Cory betrayed the Filipino people” because she pursued “a position similar to the American position,” as revealed in a book written by Dr. Alran Bengzon, then health secretary and head of Philippine government negotiating panel (Inquirer, 10/6/12).
It appears that then Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus was calling the shots. As seen by Jose D. Ingles, one of the greatest Filipino minds in foreign affairs, Manglapus’ insidious campaign of “betrayal”—to reverse the standing state policy on the non-extension of US military bases and on the prohibition of nuclear weapons in the country—was shown by the negotiations or agreements he made with US State Secretary George Schultz in 1988, with special negotiator Richard Armitage in 1990-1991, and finally, with Ambassador Frank Wisner in 1991 on the RP-US treaty of friendship, cooperation and security. (Ingles, “RP-US Relations in transition,” 1993).
As reviewed by Ingles, the Manglapus-Wisner treaty had several flaws, among which were: (a) nuclear weapons in the country violated the 1987 Constitution and international agreements, like the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) and the Asean Zopfan (zone of peace, freedom and neutrality); (b) no clause on the termination or denunciation of the treaty; (c) sovereignty on criminal jurisdiction unduly diminished; (d) other countries in the region involved, in contravention of joint communiques in Asean summits.
President Cory Aquino confirmed the acts of Manglapus, her alter ego. In fact, she strongly, but naively, endorsed the continued US military presence in this country, “for the protection not only of Philippine independence but also the global order and security.”
But Filipino nationalists, like Lorenzo Tanada et al., insisted on the deliverance of the Filipino people from the American eagle. Let us remember that on Sept. 16, 1991, patriots of the Senate, headed by Jovito Salonga, rejected the Manglapus-Wisner treaty. However, soon after Cory left Malacañang, “ugly Americans” doggedly pursued the US agenda and put in place the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in collaboration with Filipino Gunga Dins in all levels of the government—the executive (the president and his foreign secretary), the Senate and the Supreme Court.
The Inquirer, concurring with a respected political analyst, editorialized that under the VFA, which allows unhampered access of US military (through the Balikatan exercises for example) to our territory (airports, seaports, airlanes, sealanes), the entire archipelago has become a one, big US military base! Indeed, the VFA is a bigger betrayal than the Military Bases Agreement (MBA), especially now with the US policy decision that would rotate on assignments around the Philippines, Australia and the United States thousands of US personnel withdrawn from Okinawa—as part of the US forward defense system in Asia and the Pacific.
—NELSON D. LAVINA,