features from SOBRIETY for the PHILIPPINES:
(Without Fear or Favor)
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
As long as the US military is treated ‘above the law’ by the government, their victims among the civilian populace will not be given justice.” – Bayan Muna-Southern Mindanao
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
In Zamboanga City, the progressive party-list Bayan Muna is calling for an independent inquiry into the death of a local fisherman killed by a speeding Boat manned by military forces of the United States. The group said the death of 56-year old Ahbam Juhurin, a local fisherman from Basilan should not be allowed to be swept under the rug.
Based on various media reports, US and Filipino troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were conducting maritime exercises in Baluk-baluk, an island near Hadji Muhtamad Municipality in Basilan Province on April 19. A Mark V Special Operations Craft was returning to Zamboanga City when it rammed Juhurin’s fishing boat around 7 p.m. that same day. The elderly fisherman was killed while his 26-year old son remains in critical condition as of this writing. Colonel Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 104th Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan said it was an accident and that no one is to blame.
VFA protects US troops from criminal prosecution
Ariel Casilao, Southern Mindanao Regional Coordinator of Bayan Muna, said it has only been days since the US – Philippine Balikatan Exercises formally started, but already a civilian has been killed. He said the blame should be placed at the door of the Aquino government and the militarist proponents of the Visiting forces Agreement (VFA).
“The US troops have immunity against prosecution from Philippine laws because of the VFA. They have committed heinous crimes against Filipinos and the Bangsamoro, but remain above prosecution. As long as the US military is treated ‘above the law’ by the government, their victims among the civilian populace will not be given justice,” he said..... MORE
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