Ordeal is More than Rape
case is not just rape. It is also a case against the presence of
troops in the country, a violation of our sovereignty. It is not only
Nicole’s dignity which has been violated. The Filipino people’s dignity
is also trampled upon whenever
troops conduct military exercises in our country; participate in combat
operations with the AFP; and have the gall to rape a Filipina.
is not simply a transgression of a person’s right or a criminal act. Rape
is a life-changing and traumatic experience. In a painful moment, a woman
is robbed of her dignity by the bestial desires of a man. And the
emotional scars of rape take a lifetime to heal. Perhaps what would
facilitate the healing process is for the victim to seek and attain
the difficult journey of Nicole. For a year now, she had to live with and
continue reliving what happened to her on Nov. 1, 2005. A vacation turned
into a nightmare. More than that, she had to live with the repulsive
comments, insults, stares and the insensitivities of those who know no
worst of it came from the Department of Justice (DoJ), a government agency
that is supposed to protect and give justice to the oppressed. Right from
the start, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales had already expressed disbelief
over the rape of Nicole. He even said that the three others could have
been charged with a lesser crime but he felt compelled to
“bow to mob rule.” And toward the end of
the case, Senior State Prosecutor Emilie de los Santos even called Nicole
and her family as “ingrates” and “liars.”
This situation shows
the kind of justice department we have. Perhaps the honorable justice
secretary and his band of prosecutors let their slip show early on
especially since the accused are not ordinary people. Lance Corporal
Daniel Smith (the principal accused), Staff Sergeant Chad Brian Carpenter
and Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis are
representatives of the almighty America.
Right from the start,
Nicole was faced with the biggest obstacle of all, the Visiting Forces
Agreement (VFA) between the U.S. and the Philippines. With the VFA, the
accused did not have to be detained inside the country’s decrepit and
overcrowded prison cells. Instead, they had air-conditioned accommodations
at the U.S. Embassy. They do not have to be “detained” very long because
the VFA has a one-year deadline for the hearings. After that, the accused
U.S. soldiers can be shipped out of the country.
Smith and company had
top-caliber lawyers defending them and the U.S. embassy protecting them.
They seemed so confident that the defense panel presented only five
witnesses, the four accused and Dr. Teresita Sanchez, an
obstetrician-gynecologist. The prosecution, on the other hand, presented
23 witnesses including Nicole.
Nobody can best
describe the difficulties Nicole had to endure than Nicole herself. She
issued this statement on November 1st, exactly one year after the
"It wasn't easy
for me to file a complaint against my rapists. And neither was the (legal)
system kind to me after I decided to pursue the case. Instead of taking my
side in my fight, our government took steps to make my situation much
harder. I have not received a single message of support from our woman
President, while the secretary of justice has even repeatedly defended my
"During the almost daily trials at the Makati Regional Trial Court, I
experienced the reality that the rape victim is raped repeatedly inside
and outside the courtroom while the case is being tried. In the face of
all the insults and recrimination that I have gone through in the past
year, only my belief in truth and justice and the support of my family and
of women have been my sole source of strength and resolve not to
surrender. My decision to pursue the case should be proof of my conviction
that Daniel Smith, Chad Carpentier, Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis
deserve to be in prison.
“They should be
made to suffer for the indignities they forced me to go through. They
should be put behind bars. Their rightful punishment should serve as an
example to the whole world and to American military personnel.
"On this day, I am crying out for justice!"
November 27 will be
the day of reckoning for Nicole. Judge Benjamin Pozon of the Makati
Regional Trial Court is expected to hand down his decision on the Subic
Nicole’s case is not just a rape case. It is also a case against the
presence of U.S. troops in the country, a violation of our sovereignty.
It is not only Nicole’s dignity which was violated. The Filipino people’s
dignity is also trampled upon whenever U.S. soldiers conduct military
exercises in our country; participate in combat operations with the AFP;
and have the gall to rape a Filipina.
not only the bias of the justice department that was exposed by the Subic
rape case, but also the Arroyo administration’s and the VFA’s. In fact,
rape case is an indictment of the four U.S. soldiers and the VFA.
the struggle for justice should not only be Nicole’s, but also the entire
people’s as well. Bulatlat
PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION ■
© 2006 Bulatlat
Alipato Media Center
Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided
its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.