Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror March 21, 2007 edition, p. A6
Many years ago, the US Congress passed a law to aid legislation on foreign policy and foreign operations funding. The law mandated the US State Department to submit an annual report on human rights practices to both foreign policy and appropriations bodies of the US Congress.
The US Department of State explains:
“The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are submitted annually by the U.S. Department of State to the U.S. Congress in compliance with sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, and section 504 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.
”The law provides that the Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, by February 25 “a full and complete report regarding the status of internationally recognized human rights, within the meaning of subsection (A) in countries that receive assistance under this part, and (B) in all other foreign countries which are members of the United Nations and which are not otherwise the subject of a human rights report under this Act.”
Simply stated: when the US Congress wants to know if the White House is putting American taxpayers’ money to good use, it convenes an “oversight hearing.”
That’s what US Senator Barbara Boxer’s committee on foreign relations did. It looked into whether or not the State Department was spending money wisely, and practicing sound foreign policy, on a regime that has no respect for human rights.
Congressional oversight over the Executive Branch is normal in the American system of checks and balances. Filipinos with memories that stretch beyond six years will remember that we used to have it, too.
Congressman Antonio Cuenco, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, obviously does not understand how the Americans keep their house in order. He called their normal housekeeping chores interference in our internal affairs.
He said, “On behalf of my committee, we condemn this act [congressional oversight hearing] by the US in interfering in our internal affairs,” and he called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file a diplomatic protest.
A US congressional oversight hearing becomes interference in our internal affairs when and if the investigation committee subpoenas our government officials. A subpoena would certainly deserve a diplomatic protest because it is, in effect, telling our government to submit to US congressional supervision.
Our government was not subpoenaed, Mr. Cuenco.
Raul Gonzalez, the longest serving unconfirmed justice secretary, confirmed he does not know the meaning of sovereignty. He complained that Senator Boxer did not call our government to appear before her committee.
He said, “I think that it’s a one-sided investigation, that’s very apparent from the rules that they have… the complainants were all heard but us, we were not heard. I think the Americans, being the fountainhead of democracy as they claim, should not condemn before they have heard our side. They have condemned us immediately.”
It’s not true that the Arroyo regime’s side was not heard. Avelino Razon did not go to the US to junket and Ambassador Willy Gaa does not sleep on the job. Razon and Gaa may not have appeared as witnesses at the hearing but I’m positive they aired the regime’s side in some other venue, as they should have.
You see, Mr. Gonzalez, the proper forum for a sovereign state to air its side is the “lobby”, not the hearing room. I hope you learn the nuance because it spells the difference between “vassal” and “sovereign.”
Norberto Gonzalez, national security adviser, bested Raul Gonzalez. He invited foreign interference. He hired an American lobby firm, Venable Inc., to persuade the US Congress to provide funding to change our constitution.
Inviting foreign interference is selling out one’s country. That is treason, Mr. Gonzalez.
Mrs. Gloria Arroyo did not charge Gonzalez with treason. Instead she protected him with EO 464. That’s coddling a traitor. That’s treason too, Mrs. Arroyo.
The thing is, these patriots howling,”foul!” over a US congressional oversight hearing should be hounding the traitors behind the Venable contract, not the US Congress which is only trying to determine whether or not to continue pouring American taxpayers’ money down a rat hole.
But, what can one say to those who wag their tails at traitors and bark bogus interference issues just to keep a lid on human rights abuses committed by a patently treasonous regime?