"These people are consistently inconsistent."
Look who’s criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement now? No other than the most righteous of the righteous, the most patriotic of the patriotic, the militant Renato Reyes.
The other day, Reyes hit Duterte for trivializing the issue of the VFA for using it as a “bargaining chip” for Senator Bato dela Rosa to get back his US visa which was confirmed to have been cancelled by the US government.
“The termination of the VFA is a serious matter. We have fought for it since 1999. It is NOT a mere bargaining chip to get Bato back his US Visa. The termination of the VFA is needed because it is an affront to our national sovereignty,” Reyes was quoted in his social media account.
“Junking the VFA should not be based on whether or not Bato is granted a US visa. Termination of the VFA is long overdue since it’s not a mutually-beneficial agreement. If it’s just used as leverage for Bato’s visa, what kind of policy is this?” he added in Filipino.
This was in response to Duterte’s pronouncement giving Washington a one-month deadline to reconsider the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s US visa.
“I’m warning you, this is the first time. Kapag hindi ninyo ginawa ang correction diyan. One, I will terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement,” was Duterte’s strongly-worded warning.
“I am giving notice and they begin to count. I am giving the American government one month from now,” the President said.
Take note, Duterte used the word “correct” or correction to be precise. It is because the cancellation of Bato’s US visa did not stem from the simple right of every country to allow or bar anyone from entering their country.
Bato’s visa was cancelled because he was being suspected of being one of those behind Senator Leila de Lima’s incarceration due to her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade which some US officials claim, is politically motivated.
And that is aside from being pinpointed as the architect of the Oplan Tokhang which is said to have already claimed thousands of lives of suspected drug pushers.
And that is what is being overlooked, wittingly or maybe unwittingly, by Reyes and company. The reason for Bato’s US visa cancellation was because some US officials want to impose themselves on the Philippine government with regard to the De Lima and the alleged EJK cases. They want De Lima freed and all those supposedly behind her incarceration and those suspected to be involved in the alleged EJKs arising from Duterte’s war against illegal drugs penalized and jailed.
The same US officials are invoking the Magnitsky Act which authorizes the US government to sanction those who it sees as human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the United States.
Now tell me, Mr. Reyes, is this a trivial matter? Does this not constitute an act that tramples on our sovereignty?
But what is the VFA anyway? The said agreement, signed in 1998, allows American and Filipino troops to conduct joint training operations in Philippine territory and it came into force on May 27, 1999, upon ratification by the Philippine Senate while the United States government regards these documents to be mere executive agreements not requiring approval by their Senate.
And while we recognize the Left’s consistency in opposing the VFA since it came into force more than two decades ago, we are rather perplexed by Reyes’ stance. Doesn’t the situation create an opportunity they can exploit?
Of course they can be branded as Machiavellians for resorting to such move, but haven’t they been doing that? Aligning themselves with the enemies of their enemy?
They have aligned themselves with the traditional opposition because they oppose Duterte. They have aligned themselves with alleged foreign-funded media entities and oligarchs who have earned the ire of the President because they oppose him. In fact they have formed unholy alliances with these groups because they have common enemy—Duterte.
And now, here comes an opportunity for them to exploit a situation to the hilt, but which they refuse simply because they won’t look at the larger picture. Instead they are more interested in trivializing the matter.
Anyway, that’s no surprise anymore. As I have said before, the only thing consistent with them now is their being inconsistent.