"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

AMBUSH INTERVIEW ON NICOLE/ SMITH ISSUE

GORDON: ‘Yun lugar na paglalagyan ni Smith, as far as I am concerned, that should not be an issue. Let us not lose sight of the fact that the VFA is not an agreement covering a specific criminal or one accused person. The VFA is for the national interest. That is why we entered into it. I have to look at it that way as a national official. As a senator, I have to look at the VFA agreement in light of our interest in national defense, training, providing logistics for our people --in the interest of our people who may be harmed. So having said that, kung ano ang pinag-usapan doon sa VFA ay ‘yun ang papairalin natin. If you want to change that then let’s renegotiate, let’s amend the VFA. But right now we have to follow the VFA.

Q: May discretion ba ‘yung court doon?

GORDON: If he is convicted, pending appeal pwedeng pag-usapan ng mga panel iyan kung saan siya (Smith) ilalagay but once it becomes final they will have to put him in Muntinlupa or in any national penitentiary.

Q: Sir hindi ba dapat igiit na dito sa atin considering na dito nangyari yun kaso?

GORDON: When you conduct a treaty or an agreement with a sovereign nation dapat ‘yun ang pag-usapan ninyo kung saan ilalagay at ‘yun ang nakasaad sa VFA. So hindi mo maaaring baguhin yun unless gusto mong masira ang pangalan ng ating bansa in terms of negotiating with other countries.

Q: Hindi pa ba final yun court conviction?

GORDON: Pending appeal, nakikiusap sila so mayroon provision if I’m not mistaken doon sa VFA kung saan ilalagay ang prisoner pending appeal. So right now the court has decided na ilagay muna siya sa Makati pending the negotiation between the government in accordance with the VFA. Now, when the conviction becomes final after the appeal, there is no question. He will be placed in Muntinlupa. In fact, we can bring him to Muntinlupa pending the negotiation at kung pumayag tayo ibalik siya uli sa Embassy o ilagay siya sa Camp Aguinaldo. He is a military prisoner and he could be placed in a military stockade pending appeal not for the rest of his life. Kung siya ay convicted he will have to go to Muntinlupa.


GORDON: VFA is an agreement between two countries on the conduct of their affairs of their troops here and our troops so that when a particular situation occurs that is addressed. Ang importante dito sundin natin yun VFA muna, unless we want to renegotiate the agreement. In the meantime, as in the specific case of Smith, you will have to follow the existing VFA provisions.

Q: Sir kapag na renegotiate may epekto ba yun sa Smith case?

GORDON: Kapag na renegotiate yun, only if it is favorable to Smith. Pero kung hindi favorable kay Smith yan, he will still have to go to Muntinlupa.
Kapag final judgment na ‘yan, doon na ‘yan. Pwede natin pagbigyan ang mga Amerikano. Habang pending appeal dito ka muna sa lugar na yan on the condition that you are going to present him upon final judgment.

Q: Pero once na naging final na yun?

GORDON: Kapag naging final, Muntinlupa na siya.

Q: Pending nego dito sa atin o pending nego doon sa kanila?

GORDON: Pending nego sinabi ng judge sa MakatI

END

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