Why GMA will not act on the Smith custody issue
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-02-24

In German it is called Mehl im Maule Behalten which translates in English to “carry meal in the mouth.” It literally means food in the mouth which prevents a person from speaking clearly, ergo, what you cannot hear clearly you cannot understand or comprehend.

Thus, the term mealy-mouthed evolved. Today it means the inability or unwillingness to state facts or opinion directly or clearly.

Now, don’t you agree that the unflattering term describes the officials and the mouthpieces of the Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime and their repeated failure to tell us anything straight?

Doesn’t mealy-mouthed capture the Arroyo regime’s cowardly and utterly un-nationalistic stance in dealing with the custody issue of convicted American rapist, Cpl. Daniel Smith?

After that historic Supreme Court decision penned by Adolf Azcuna (now a retired Associate Justice) — the least that we Filipinos expected is to see the GMA regime take an aggressive stance in pressing for the custody of Cpl. Daniel Smith. Instead, even if only to be seen as going through the motions, what we saw was a regime that was doggedly determined to keep Cpl. Smith in US custody!

They’re supposed to be our public servants but look at who they’re serving. That Supreme Court decision would have been an excellent opportunity to stamp FINISHED to the one-sided relationship that our country has long had with the US. That would have been the perfect occasion to send the clear signal to Uncle Sam that the vassal-master Philippine-US relationship has ended and that we’ll now deal as equals.

That was the moment to remind the US how they stole Philippine victory and independence from our 19th century revolutionaries who were poised then to evict the Spaniards. That moment would have vindicated the death of many Filipinos who perished in America’s Pacific War, especially the majority of the Battle of Manila (1945) casualties who were killed by US carpet shelling.

That moment could have erased the memory of the shameful Parity Rights we were forced to extend to the US after World War II. That would have been the moment to remind the Americans that we are victims of the US-sponsored Marcos dictatorship and the culture of murder and corruption that it spawned and still pervades to this day.

Hardly possessing a sense of history, the GMA regime missed the Golden Moment and instead opted to display its true color — yellow.

Yes, they are scared because unlike unarmed activists, the US is quite capable of fighting back and let’s face it — they have superior firepower. This GMA regime doesn’t respect human rights but it subscribes to the law of the jungle that the small tyrant yields to the big tyrant.

Yes, they are shaking in their boots because they know that the US can make things happen just as it took only one phone call from Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada 23 years ago to make Dictator Ferdinand Marcos vacate Malacañang Palace.

Don’t you find Eddie Ermita, a former soldier, and Raul Gonzalez, who arrogantly shouted “Don’t talk to me like that!” to Magdalo Major Ferdinand Marcelino, such pathetic figures with the way they have been trying to keep Cpl. Daniel Smith in US custody?

The pro-US interpretation of the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, even attempting to shift the blame to the Azcuna decision, caught the attention of Senator Pia Cayetano who called it a case of “gross intellectual dishonesty.”

The way GMA’s people have been dribbling this issue reminds you (if you’re old enough) of the days when there was no ball possession time limit in basketball. Total team points in a game then were only a tenth of what are scored today because teams resorted to freeze the ball tactics the moment a comfortable lead is attained.

Eddie Ermita, Raul Gonzalez, Cerge Remonde et al appear to be dribbling the ball for the US. Perhaps they’re hoping that a new hot issue will surface and remove the custody battle from the public mind. They are all the more pathetic when one sees their Senate allies reacting differently and calling for a VFA review.

The shameful actuations of the GMA regime can be considered a part of its karma. The GMA regime has reached the point when it is most vulnerable — the point when a sizeable majority of Filipinos are disgusted with the regime and are desperately seeking changes.

At her highest popularity in February 1986, Cory Aquino would have stood up to the US and demanded: “Give us the ass of that Cpl. Daniel Smith.” At her low point in February 2009, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo simply will not do that. GMA knows how easy it will be for the US to engineer a special operation here that can make her suffer the same fate that befell Vietnam’s Ngo Ding Diem.

Even when she was at her lowest point in popularity, Cory Aquino would have stood up the US and still demanded: “Give us the ass of that Cpl. Daniel Smith.” Even if she had a high point in popularity, it is doubted if GMA would ever do that.

Strength of character and moral fortitude were the strongest points of Cory Aquino. We cannot say the same for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

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