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Philippines: US Soldier Convicted of Rape

Early this month, US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was found guilty by a local court of raping a Filipina woman while three other co-accused soldiers were acquitted. This was the first time a US soldier was tried by a local court ever since the government allowed the entry of US troops in the Philippine islands. The battle continues to this day whether the United States Embassy can request custody for the convicted soldier.
Rasheed’s World thinks the verdict was fair:

“The conviction was fair in my opinion because of the overwhelming amount of physical evidence collected and presented during the trial….Many commentators, myself included, initially cast doubt on the story of Nicole (the rape victim), saying that she willingly went to a bar with the soldiers, drank heavily with them, flirted and danced sexily with Smith. She even left the bar voluntarily with them, though she was extremely drunk. It was while she was in the van making out with Smith that their two stories diverge. Smith says that she wanted to have sex with him, and even helped him guide his penis into her vagina. She denies this, saying she struggled, said no repeatedly and then passed out. When she awoke, she found herself abandoned on a roadside, her panties and jeans pulled down around her ankles.”

Out of my mind somewhat disapproves the raising of political issues during the trial period but believes that the three other soldiers were guilty of something else:

“What I found really infuriating and galling about the circumstances around the rape case was the way they treated the victim after the supposed crime was committed. As it is, rape is a crime that cannot be justified or excused. But there is absolutely no defense for the way they carried the victim out of the van like a pig, dumped her unceremoniously on the sidewalk, and left her there like a piece of trash…So while the three other servicemen may not have been found guilty of rape there is no doubt in my mind that they are guilty of something else—something just as terrible, depraved, and atrocious. They are guilty of barbarity of the highest order.”

Notes of Marichu Lambino pens her opinion on where to detain Smith:

“I don’t care if the detention facility they agree on is the Manila Hotel (well, not that I don’t care; but our hands are tied; and VIP’s in the Philippines have been given special detention facilities but still within the jurisdiction of our courts); the important thing is for the convicted accused to remain within the reach and jurisdiction of our courts. The U.S. Embassy is outside our jurisdiction.”

She explains why the soldier must be jailed within Philippine jurisdiction:

“Why must it be within our jurisdiction? So that the convicted accused could be covered by the orders of our courts; a convicted accused is not in the same legal status as a person who has just been charged.”

Luis Teodoro is asking why the government is lawyering in behalf of the convicted soldier.

“At some point (the Justice Secretary) declared that the Philippines could not demand custody over Smith and company because Philippine detention facilities did not have the amenities they’re used to…as various commentators have said, this rape is all about sovereignty–US sovereignty.”

He is also bewildered over the outpouring of support for the convicted soldier:

“There are also the nameless millions out there in the archipelago of our sorrows who’re secretly or openly rooting for Smith and blaming “Nicole” not only for complaining that she had been raped, but also for not enjoying it.”

Biag ken siak ponders why Smith has many fans. In the comments section, a reader accused the judge of the local court of issuing a biased decision.

Gormful lauds the brave rape victim:

“Most rape victims would rather clam up and keep the traumatizing experience to themselves. Nicole did otherwise. It took a lot of courage to come out in the open, relive the experience by telling other people what happened, and waited. She waited for a long time. More than a year to get some results.”

Khanterbury tales hits fellow media practitioners of violating the privacy of the rape victim:

“As a media ethicist, I would still opt for the protection of Nicole’s identity, despite the promulgation of the decision. It still does not give media the license to use her real name in their stories nor does it give them the license to take a clear photo of her without her expressed permission”

4 comments

  • Mong and Global Voices Online,

    Please allow me to put a little balance into this post with comments on the scriveners cited because there is bias in the resulting collage, in my opinion.

    When Rasheed’s World says he thinks the conviction of Daniel Smith was “fair” it is important for readers to know that “fairness” in a trial in the Philippine Archipelago has a slightly different meaning than in the United States because there is no jury system. A single judge makes the decision. But speaking of fairness, Rasheed repeats certain allegations about the three other Marines who were acquitted by the same Judge that are, uhmm, unfair to publish at this point. What’s fair is fair, and Rasheed must see the glass as a quarter full.

    Which brings me from the first to the last of your citations, Rachel Khan whose Khanterbury Tale wants the Media to keep the true name of Nicole secret even though it has already been officially divulged on live national television by the Judge himself when he read out the Decision in the case. And forever imprinted on Google and Yahoo memory. Of course, fairness in her ethic allows her and a guy that is usually not Out Of His or Her Mind, to continue to accuse the three adjudged innocent Marines by name. What could be fairy tales that have evolved from early accounts, allegations and lynch mob feel-angry stories are being repeated as gospel truth–is this “fair”?

    Marichu Lambino is a professor and lawyer at the University of the Philippines, but the snippet of her longish piece on this case, does not do justice to her compleat understanding of the difference between “jurisdiction” and “custody.” You have unfairly portrayed her as ignorant or biased, which she is not, in my opinion, though she and I differ on other matters.

    Luis Teodoro writes in the more traditional starboard vein — victimology is their favorite skein of stemwinding wool. Knowing no other virtue greater than nationalism, his concept of “fair” is whatever kicks Uncle Sam in the teeth for wanting to have some kind of relationship with the Philippines, even if its rescuing Filipinos from the mudslides of nature and the landmines of the New People’s Army, whose recent anniversary I am sure he celebrated.

    Like Gormful I laud the brave rape victim, because, like the convict Daniel Smith, she has not lost the presumption of innocence in this matter. It is a thing by the way that none of these folks seem to accept, that the case is on appeal, and what his millions of supporters and millions of detractors in the Archipelago mean, is that the jury would still be out on this case. If there were a jury system, the verdict has a better chance of being called “fair”. And even more that it will be JUST.

    By the way, you don’t mention the elephant in the room–the Visiting Forces Agreement, which is the real target of the Lynch Mob isn’t it?

  • chinita

    for me it was not fair, there are two sides of story and i choose along with most filipino smith side of story.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/metro/view_article.php?article_id=38632

    i believe this article. the author of this article is FILIPINO.

  • iHATEthenameNICOLE

    Please do come to my country, the Philippines……and you will see for yourself that there is a vast majority of Filipino people who absolutely believe that there was NO sexual rape at all in this “Subic Rape Case” brouhaha.

    This will help explain why U. S. Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith’s 40 year sentence is a BIG mistake! A pure case of TRUE INJUSTICE!

    Please…..come to the Philippines and you will soon discover that it is truly Daniel Smith that we, Filipinos, are rooting for; NOT the publicity-starving “Nicole”. We are rooting for Smith’s acquittal. May God be on our side.

  • Dennis

    From my understanding of the whole rape case, “Nicole” was allegedly drunk when the supposed rape incident happened. All I can say is that she shouldn’t be drinking in the first place because every sane person knows that drinking clouds your judgment. Second, she shouldn’t have placed herself in that situation either. Drinking yourself to the point of passing out is just plain stupid. Yes, I said it…”Nicole” or whatever her name is, is STUPID. If you drink and pass out…and then get raped in the process, it is your own fault for putting yourself in that situation. She shouldn’t have drunk that much anyways. I don’t consider her a rape victim…she is a victim of her own stupidity for getting drunk. And now she wants sympathy? Excuse me?!?!

    Oh by the way…if she was drunk…how can she, without any shadow of a doubt, accurately recall the events? I think she’s just trying to find someone to blame for her own stupidity rather than take responsibility for what happened to her.

    I don’t support rape but I’m also not in favor of stupidity.

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