BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
The former lawyer of Subic rape victim “Nicole” today joined cause-oriented groups and other concerned individuals in filing a petition before the Supreme Court, urging it to investigate “Nicole’s” affidavit expressing doubt over the rape as well as the draft Court of Appeals ruling acquitting US Marine L/Cpl. Daniel Smith, who was convicted of raping her.
Ursua joined the women’s groups GABRIELA and Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP), lawyer Harry Roque, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), Ecumenical Women’s Forum, former Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Mo. Mary John Mananzan, Teresita Ang-See, and Nina Lim-Yuzon in filing the petition.
The petitioners said “Nicole’s” March 12 affidavit cannot be considered a recantation, contrary to how it was described in some media reports, since it did not contradict her testimony. “(Upon) its examination by the lawyers who are petitioners in this case, they have ascertained that there is no inconsistency between the new statement and the testimonies of Nicole and other witnesses before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 139,” the petitioners said.
“It is most suspicious that the defense version of events and the questions that defense lawyers raised during the trial and in their Memoranda have found their way into a sworn statement supposedly executed by Nicole,” they added. “The language of the sworn statement itself is not consistent with Nicole’s level of articulation.”
“Nicole’s” purported affidavit was notarized by Abraham Rey Acosta, an associate at Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez, & Gatmaitan – the same firm where Smith’s lawyer, Jose Justiniano, belongs.
The petitioners also denounced the Court of Appeals for “improperly and freely” disclosing the existence of a draft ruling acquitting Smith. The draft ruling was the subject of a March 23 report by The Manila Times.
“The Manila Times article in fact claims that the newspaper has a copy of the 55-page draft decision of acquittal, and solidly supports this by discussing the details of the draft,” the petitioners pointed out. “There is no reason for the release of such a draft document other than to again influence public opinion about the case and prepare the public for an expected acquittal.” (Bulatlat.com)