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ACT TEACHERS Rep. Antonio Tinio: Investigate US spying, especially since new US Ambassador is a spy

8 November 2013 No Comment


6 November 2013

Reference: ACT TEACHERS Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)


The fundamental issues at stake in these new revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and others regarding US spying activities from its embassy in Manila are the protection of the rights of Filipino citizens and the assertion of national sovereignty.


Even if one accepts that an imperial power such as the United States conducts surveillance on its putative allies as par for the course, questions still need to be answered.


What is our government doing to ensure that the right to privacy of communication and correspondence of citizens is being protected? Is the US Embassy violating existing laws such as the Anti-Wiretapping Act and the E-Commerce Law, particularly the prohibitions on hacking and unauthorized access to data? If yes, what is our government going to do about it?


Neither should the implications on national sovereignty be belittled or ignored. It is disingenuous to claim that the Philippines and its government is an “open book” when a Freedom of Information Bill cannot even be enacted into law. Intelligence-gathering by the US on the official as well as personal communications of our top government officials, will obviously compromise national interest, rendering the government even more vulnerable to intervention, manipulation, or destabilization.


The lack of a strenuous response by officials of the Aquino administration, as well as its allies in Congress, is in stark contrast to the flurry of diplomatic protests by governments reacting to the new revelations of US spying activities worldwide. In recent days, the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia, for instance, have summoned US ambassadors to explain the allegations of spying.


Our government should do no less. Malacañang should summon the US Ambassador to explain and Congress should investigate. If the House National Defense and Security Committee is unwilling to do it, then it falls on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to do its part in upholding the rights and interests of Filipino citizens.


This takes on added urgency given that the newly designated US Ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, has a deep background in intelligence, having been Assistant Secretary of the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Furthermore, in 2008, as US Ambassador to Bolivia, Goldberg was expelled by the Bolivian government for his alleged involvement in destabilization activities. #

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