NEWS RELEASE
28 February 2009

For Reference:     REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0929-4511305

US-RP VFA AND UNEQUAL US AGREEMENTS, ASSAULTS VS NICOLE, HAZEL AND FILIPINO WOMEN – GABRIELA REP. LIZA MAZA

“The recent dismissal of the rape charges filed by Hazel in the US military court in Okinawa and the Philippine government’s servile stance in securing custody for US Marines Daniel Smith indicate the immense assaults brought about by unequal agreements with the United States such as the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement to the dignity, rights and sovereignty of Filipino women.”

This was the statement of Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Representative Liza Maza, upon receiving reports of the US Court Martial’s dismissal of Okinawa rape victim Hazel against Army Spec. Ronald Hopstock.

“Hazel,” not her real name, was 21 years old when the rape in Okinawa Japan was perpetrated in February 18, 2008. After Japanese courts dismissed the criminal case filed by Hazel in June 2008, Hazel pursued rape charges in the US military court. According to reports, the charges against Hopstock were dismissed through a decision handed last February 24 2009 by Army Judge Col. Donna Wright due to lack of sufficient evidence.

“In strongest terms, we condemn the decision of the US Court Martial in Okinawa as an act of absolution and arrogance of the US government in the pursuit of justice of Hazel and the other victims of rape and abuse by US military soldiers. The evidence on the rape of Hazel is as clear as day,” Maza said.

Maza called on the Philippine government to urge US Pres. Barack Obama as the US Military Commander in Chief to review the said decision.

But, the Gabriela solon said that “as long as unequal relations between US and other countries such as the Philippines are strengthened through iniquitous agreements such as the US-RP VFA, Filipino women are at the more vulnerable end for abuse and exploitation.”

“With a woman president who goes out of her way to justify the need for this unequal and unsound agreement, we are dragged in a deeper ditch of subservience, making the Arroyo government an accomplice in the rape of our women and of our sovereignty,” Maza concluded.


Gabriela Women’s Party National Headquarters
118 Scout Rallos, Brgy. Sacred Heart,
Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9295342
Email: gabrielawomensparty@gmail.com
Website: www.gabrielawomensparty.net

Office of Gabriela Rep. Liza Largoza Maza
Rm 309 South Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9316268
Email: lizalmaza@yahoo.com

Office of Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan
Rm. 601 South Wing Bldg.
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9315586
E-mail: repluzilagan@gmail.com