Visiting Forces Agreement should be repaired not junked

The Philippine government requested custody over Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of US Marines. Pemberton is the suspect on the killing of a Filipino transgender, Jeffrey Laude, in Olongapo. However, US government is not yet making a statement regarding the request. Philippines can only get custody of a US soldier upon the approval of US government.

Executive Director of Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement Commission Eduardo Oban said the government will insist for the custody and jurisdiction over the case of Pemberton.

Bayan Muna Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said VFA should be junked. “Any refusal by the United States government to turn over Private Pemberton to Philippine authorities should be considered as a ground for terminating the VFA.”

AFP Public Affairs Office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc believes groups who want to junk US-PHL agreements have their own agenda. “They have their own agenda. I could not judge what exactly are the purpose of their actions.” He added that these group are not in favor of AFP modernization and US-PHL military exchanges.

Lt. Col. Cabunoc wonders why burn the whole house if only the corner of it has leak. “You repair it, that’s how we solve problems.”

“It was right after the exercise. He committed the offense when he was on passes and what happened to him was his own call,” the AFP public affairs officer said. Closing ceremony of PHIBLEX 15 was held Friday, October 10, while the killing of Laude happened Saturday night.