AFP on VFA, Laude issues: Why burn the whole house if only one corner has leak?
MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines said on Wednesday that interest groups are “over reacting” on the killing of a Filipino transgender by a suspected US Marine soldier in Olongapo over the weekend that led to renewed calls on the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement.
“I believe so na over-reacting naman siguro na tanggalin. Bakit mo susunugin ang buong bahay kung may leak lang sa isang sulok? Why destroy the whole house may konting sira lang one corner of the house. You repair it, that’s how we solve problems,” AFP Public Affairs Office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc told reporters.
“They have their own agenda. I could not judge what exactly are the purpose of their actions. Lagi naman natin naririnig na they are not in favor na mag improve ang armed forces. Di sila in favor of exchanges between two armed forces,” he said.
Cabunoc said the recent killing will not affect the military agreements between the US and Philippines.
“Sa ngayon there are more or less 4,000 US personnel involved in that exercise. Here we have one incident involving one Marine. Why should we burn the whole house kung isang tao lang nagkamali. So it’s not right na yung buong i-abrogate ang buong kasunduan ng VFA sa nagkamaling iisa. For how many years faithfully sinusundan ang mga regulation,” he said.
The Marine soldier suspected in the killing, identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, was part of the recent US-Philippine exercises in Zambales.
‘Pemberton really sorry’
“We could not be in a perfect story. Bad things happen,” Cabunoc said when told it was the second time that an American serviceman misbehaved since the VFA was implemented.
Cabunoc described that the incident was “untoward” and “unexpected.”
“It was right after the exercise. He committed the offense when he was on passes and what happened to him was his own call. Hindi naman nya siguro sadyain makapatay dun. Ngunit nakainom siguro crime of passion di niya na-kontrol sarili niya (It’s not his intention to kill. He was probably drunk and it was a crime of passion he can’t control himself) and he committed the offense,” Cabunoc said.
“I heard he was really very sorry of course ang nasiraan ay hindi lang ang pangalan niyang Pemberton but the whole US Armed Forces ang nadawit sa ginawa niya,” he added.
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