The acts of both the US and Philippine governments regarding the cases of Filipino women Nicole and Hazel, both victims of rape by American soldiers, said progressive women’s group Gabriela and Nicole’s lawyer Evalyn Ursua, demonstrate the abusive character of the US and the subservience of the Philippine government. They are, therefore, calling on the Filipino people to exert political pressure on the Supreme Court and Malacañang.
BY RONALYN V. OLEA
The acts of both the US and Philippine governments regarding the cases of Filipino women Nicole and Hazel, both victims of rape by American soldiers, said progressive women’s group Gabriela and Nicole’s lawyer Evalyn Ursua, demonstrate the abusive character of the US and the subservience of the Philippine government.
Rape of two women
In her testimony before the court, Nicole, a 22 year-old Filipina, related that she was raped by US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith inside a cruising van at Subic Bay Freeport on Nov. 1, 2005.
Three more US Marines namely, Lance Corporals Dominic Duplantis and Keith Silkwood and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier, allegedly cheered while Smith raped Nicole.
Nicole filed rape charges against Smith before the Makati Regional Trial Court. On December 4, 2006, Judge Benjamin Pozon of Branch 139 of the Makati RTC found Smith guilty of raping Nicole; sentenced him to reclusion perpetua; and committed him temporarily to the Makati City Jail.
Smith’s co-accused, Lance Corporals Duplantis, Silkwood and Carpentier were acquitted.
The US Marines were participants to the Balikatan war exercises in 2005. The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) signed by then President Joseph Estrada on May 27, 1999 provides legal basis for continued military presence in the country.
Smith was spirited out of the Makati City Jail and transferred to the US Embassy compound in Manila on December 29, 2007 by virtue of an agreement signed between US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo.
A recent Supreme Court ruling ordered the transfer of Smith to Philippine jurisdiction. Malacañang officials, however, maintained that Smith will remain with the US custody pending the convicted US soldier’s appeal on his conviction before the Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, Hazel, 21, was allegedly raped by an American soldier in an Okinawa City hotel, Feb. 18.
The Okinawa police identified the suspect as Sgt. Ronald Edward Hopstock Jr. of the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
According to Hazel’s mother, Hazel recounted that after she was raped and left bleeding, she crawled out of the New Century Hotel in Okinawa to seek help. Hazel was hospitalized for a week due to serious bleeding and her injuries took three weeks to heal.