Militants on Subic rape
‘It Falls Short’
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Posted 6:25 p.m., Dec. 4, 2006
The victory is only partial, as the
decision falls short of what the verdict should have been.
This was how the leaders of the militant groups that rallied outside the
Makati Regional Trial Court today described Judge Benjamin Pozon’s
decision on the Subic rape case.
Pozon found the principal accused Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith guilty of raping
“Nicole,” the court-assigned name of the Subic rape victim, on Nov. 1 last
year. His co-accused S/Sgt. Chad Carpentier, Lance Cpl. Keith Silkwood,
and Lance Cpl. Dominic Duplantis were acquitted.
“We could have been happy that at least one was convicted,” said Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) secretary-general
Renato Reyes, Jr. “But this only showed our limited ability to prosecute
offending U.S. soldiers for as long as we have the Visiting Forces
“For as long as we have difficulty getting custody of offending U.S.
soldiers, it becomes harder to file and pursue charges against them, it
becomes harder to haul them to prison,” Reyes added.
The VFA, which was ratified in 1999 by the Senate and grants
extraterritorial and extrajudicial privileges to U.S. troops visiting the
country for joint military “exercises” with the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP), provides that Philippine authorities shall waive their
primary right to exercise jurisdiction upon request by U.S. authorities,
except in cases the government considers to be of particular importance to
“We feel a limited satisfaction (with the decision), as there was one who
was found guilty,” said Gert Ranjo-Libang, spokesperson of the women’s
group GABRIELA. “But it’s limited, because the three others were not found
guilty as charged. We think all four of them should have been convicted.”
“We are also demanding the abrogation of the VFA,” she added. “Because
under this agreement, even if Smith was found guilty, there is a question
on where he is to be jailed. Under the VFA, the Philippine and U.S.
governments still have to confer on where the guilty party is to be
Reyes expressed a similar view. “That is what is sad about the whole
thing: whatever will be agreed about with the U.S. will depend on the
political will of the Arroyo administration, and that is not the justice
that we want,” the Bayan leader said.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr., a noted
nationalist, hailed the decision as a “partial victory,” but stressed that
the Philippines should have custody of Smith as the crime of rape, he
said, “is of particular importance” to the Philippines.
“There are imbalances that should be corrected,” Guingona said when asked
how he expected the decision to affect RP-U.S. relations. “The sovereignty
should belong to the Philippines in crimes of particular importance.”
Pozon also decided that Smith should be temporarily detained at the Makati
City Hall. However, as of 4 p.m. – more than an hour after the verdict was
promulgated – Smith had not been brought to the said detention facility.
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© 2006 Bulatlat
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