//US Soldiers Rape Case Dormant in Philippines

US Soldiers Rape Case Dormant in Philippines

Manila, Jan 27 (Prensa Latina) The order to imprison four US soldiers, accused of raping a young Philippine woman in October, was annulled and the US Embassy in Manila allowed to take custody of them, judicial sources informed Friday.

Judge Renato Dilag declared the bilateral Mutual Defense Treaty justified this action and that the US Department of Justice would decide when to set the trial.

The people of the Philippines have been outspoken against the permanence of US soldiers in this country, and more so since the denouncement of this case, while NGOs charge there are 50 similar rape accusations against US soldiers that have not been investigated.

Several civil and political organizations, including Pueblo Primero (the leftwing Bayan Muna party) demand the Justice Ministry investigate and hold President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo responsible due to her extremely close ties with Washington.

The Pentagon deploys thousands of troops to combat armed separatist groups in the south, which they list as "terrorists".

Some of these groups, notably secessionist Frente Moro de Liberacion Islamica, accuse the authorities in turn, of submitting to Washington and allowing US troops to interfere in the country in violation of the Constitution.