POSTSCRIPT / February 18, 2003 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Full disclosure of Bush psychiatric files needed

VOX POPULI: With millions turning out for peace marches around the globe, it should be clear by now to any reasonable man that humanity does not want another war, especially one waged with the flimsiest of reasons.

If President George W. Bush insists on attacking the Iraqi people — who until now have not done him any grievous wrong — the US Congress should pass a resolution requiring him to make a full disclosure of (1) all his foreign business and financial interests, and (2) his psychiatric condition.

If there is only scanty record or none at all on the second item, Bush should be required to undergo psychiatric tests administered by an independent team of three doctors.

This is urgently needed, because this man wields the power to plunge the entire world into an avoidable war. We potential victims have the right to know what moves this man whose itchy finger is on the button.

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CONGRESS ABDICATES: But with the US Congress colluding with the White House, it might be too much to expect the usual checks and balances from the legislature in relation to a co-equal branch of government.

Under Section 8, Article I, of the US Constitution, it is Congress and not the President who has the power to “declare war.” But it seems to us that Congress has abdicated, illegally, this exclusive power.

Providing funds for the US forces deployed around Iraq is an act of appropriation that is different from the other basic power to declare war. Passing a resolution supporting the President in his quarrel with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is not a legal substitute for the formal declaration of war that Congress must approve before the US invades another sovereign state.

The US Congress will also have to answer to Americans and the citizens of the world in the event Bush triggers a global catastrophe.

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MARK AN ILLEGAL ALIEN!: Do you know that Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez’s family has filed the $500,000 needed to bail him out from a Florida detention cell but that he is still being held on new charges that require another bail process?

He has been charged with being an illegal alien! When he set foot on US soil last Dec. 27, he had no passport and no US visa! That’s another criminal case he has to dispose of before he can be given his temporary and restricted freedom.

What happened was that FBI agent James Nixon masquerading as a legal officer in the US embassy took Jimenez’s passport with the promise that he would stamp on it (and the passport of Jimenez’s wife) a US visitor’s visa.

Nixon, who flew him to Guam and Saipan instead of directly to Florida where a bail hearing awaited Jimenez, allegedly lost the passport. So, with no passport and no visa, the congressman is suddenly an illegal alien in the US.

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BILL OF RIGHTS INTACT: Jimenez was the subject of an extradition request from the US, but he went to court to protect his rights. Later, with the court’s approval of a compromise arrangement, the extradition hearing was dropped and he was allowed to voluntarily go to the US.

Remember that the congressman has not been arraigned nor convicted of any charge here or in the US, and is presumed innocent under the Bill of Rights of both the Philippine and the US Constitutions.

Despite his supposedly going to the US on his own volition to face various charges and his having booked seats on Philippine Airlines, Nixon forced him to take an American carrier with the acquiescence (connivance?) of our justice department.

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OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE: This change of plane ensured that Jimenez would not catch his bail hearing that Friday in Florida and would have to stay in jail during the weekend. Nixon knew this, and pretended to rush a bail hearing in Saipan even without Jimenez’s lawyers, but the judge there would not oblige.

Before leaving Manila, Nixon seized Jimenez’s hand-carried belongings, including his wallet, rosary, small crucifix, plastic bottle of holy water, his medicine, his sleep apnea machine, his watch and tri-band cellphone (to communicate with his family). These were turned over to Rep. Prospero Pichay, except the apnea machine and medicines.

Despite demand for it, Nixon could not show any warrant of arrest, but proceeded to bundle off Jimenez to the plane. He handcuffed and chained Jimenez to a rear seat so tight that the congressman could hardly move, eat and take his medicine.

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JIMENEZ DIARY: Listen to Jimenez himself recall his maltreatment:

“As soon as I stepped into the Continental Aircraft Boeing 767, Mr. Nixon took me to the tailend of the passenger section (economy class). He then ordered me to raise my arms and immediately clamped a metal chain to my stomach and connected it with a handcuff on my wrists. He seated me beside the window of the last row while he sat on an aisle seat alongside.

“Since I had my sleep apnea machine with me, I tried to use it. Earlier, when I requested that I be allowed to handcarry it because of my tense condition, Mr. Nixon assured me that he had made arrangements with the airlines. This was a lie. There was no electronic connection nor socket. This made my flight very difficult because I did not have any other medical equipment. I suffered as a result.

“Afterwards, I told Mr. Nixon that my handcuffs were too tight. The metal grinded against my skin and bone. Since there was no space to bend my seat (being in the last row), the pressure on my shoulders was so strong that until now I have a swollen shoulder. A nerve must have been affected. Twice I asked him to loosen my handcuffs, but he ignored my requests. At the third time, he loosened it a little, but then he uttered an insulting remark that was so cruel you would not think it came from a man of the law.

“I had a hard time adjusting the oxygen mask to my mouth because of my handcuffs and chain. I needed the mask because my apnea machine could not be connected. While adjusting the mask several times, I suffered massive pain in my shoulders, hand and back. I had to eat and drink with my handcuffs on.

“All the time, Mr. Nixon was indifferent to my pain. It was a most horrible experience that should not happen to a man who has not even been convicted of any crime and was an elected member of the Philippine Congress.

“When we arrived in Guam, to my surprise, Mr. Nixon took me to a detention cell without food and water. I waited for I don’t know how long because my watch had been taken away from me by Nixon. I felt ill, but my medical equipment was with Nixon. Now I realized that the US legal attaché was treating me not as a person who was traveling to the US voluntarily but as a prisoner! I wondered where my NBI escort was. Was the DOJ and NBI part of a conspiracy to subject me to physical and mental torture through inhuman treatment?”

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PINOY TOOK PITY: From Guam, Nixon took the still handcuffed Jimenez to Saipan for the bail hearing that he knew would not happen. A Filipino who saw him took pity on Jimenez and bought him Jollibee chicken.

When Nixon turned over Jimenez to the regular US marshals and immigration agents, there was a glaring change in the attitude of the officers and their handling of the accused. They removed the handcuff that had by then left Jimenez’s wrist bruised. They were more polite and attentive to his personal and medical needs.

For whom or for what did Nixon do all those horrible things to a man who had voluntarily gone to face charges in the land of the free and who had neither been arraigned nor convicted?

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of February 18, 2003)

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