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Philippines: US Soldier Convicted of Rape

Categories: East Asia, Philippines, Human Rights, International Relations, Politics, Women & Gender

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 [1] 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 [2] 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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 [7] 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 [8] 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”