On the Subic rape case
Fight Continues for ‘Nicole’ and Family
“Basta lalaban kami.” (We’ll fight no
matter what.) These fighting
words were from the mother of Nicole, as she and Nicole’s younger sister
waited to be called inside the courtroom during the hearing last Friday,
June 2, at the Makati Regional Court.
By Reyna Mae Tabbada
“Basta lalaban kami.” (We’ll fight no
These fighting words
were from the mother of Nicole, as she and Nicole’s younger sister waited
to be called inside the courtroom during the hearing last Friday, June 2,
at the Makati Regional Court.
Filipina, called Nicole to protect her identity, accused five U.S. Marines
of raping her in November last year at the Subic Freeport, Zambales, site
of the former U.S. naval base and a popular tourist destination.
interviewed Nicole’s mother during the first trial hearing of the
celebrated Subic rape case as well as the first encounter of Nicole and
the accused American servicemen since the alleged crime happened inside a
green Starex van while cruising the streets of Subic.
presented two witnesses who testified that one of the suspects left with
the victim whom was clearly drunk and without control of her own bearings.
Aside from being able to describe the state of Nicole before the actual
rape took place, Tomas Corpuz and Gerald Muyot, both security personnel of
Neptune Bar, also identified the vehicle used by the suspects in leaving
the bar with the victim.
Muyot said he saw
Daniel Smith, one of the accused, leave the bar carrying Nicole on his
back (“bukay-bukay”). He became suspicious when Smith said, on their way
out, that: “She’s with us, we’re going now.” This, he said, prompted him
to take note of the vehicle’s plate number. He described it as a
“suspicious-looking van, Starex, green color.”
Tomas Corpuz, on the
other hand, saw Nicole earlier inside the bar, looking disoriented. He
described her as “pasuray-suray” (unsteady). This was around 11:30
p.m. of Nov. 1, a few hours before Muyot reportedly saw Smith “load” the
victim in the van.
Though it was
prosecution’s turn to establish its case against the suspects, the defense
team, which is composed of Filipino lawyers, showed what could be their
tactic in the trial: portray Nicole as someone who goes to “naughty” and
“notorious” places like the Neptune Bar.
When the defense
grilled Corpuz, their questions were mainly intended to show that the said
bar is a “naughty place.” The defense lawyers asked Corpuz about the
physical setting of the bar, like how far the seats are from the dance
floor. They also probed on whether Neptune Bar employed hospitality girls
and how many were working that night.
Not open for
While the drama
unfolded inside the Session Hall of Branch 139 under Judge Benjamin Pozon,
journalists and other members of the audience waited outside the hall.
Some of them by choice, while others because of the strict regulations
employed by the clerk of court in determining who can and who cannot go
inside the courtroom.
Although members of
the press were asked to register hours before the hearing, still not
everyone could be allowed inside because the hall was small.
Several members of
women’s groups like Gabriela who, though registered as one group, were not
allowed to enter even during recess. Some of them lamented that this case,
though a high profile one and with great security risks, should be open to
anyone who wants to know the progress of the trial.
Mugged for shots
The trial ended a few
minutes before 5 p.m. The five U.S. servicemen were the first to leave the
hall. After a short interval, Nicole and her family left, chased by
photographers who wanted to get her picture.
It took some time for
Nicole, who was protected by Gabriela members and other supporters, to get
to the parking lot to their car. The Supreme Court earlier directed that
no pictures of Nicole can be taken and officials of the Makati Regional
Trial Court threatened the media men who would publish Nicole’s picture in
their newspapers. “No pictures! No pictures!” were continuously shouted by
court officials and family members. Bulatlat
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© 2006 Bulatlat
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