‘Nicole’ Ex-Lawyer on Termination of Services: I was Prepared for This

She has, however – aside from terminating Ursua’s services – issued an affidavit expressing doubt on her own previous testimony. The affidavit was notarized by Abraham Rey Acosta, an associate at Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez and Gatmaitan – the same law firm where Jose Justiniano, Smith’s lawyer, belongs.

She has also accepted P100,000 ($2,069 at the current exchange rate of $1=P48.31) in compensatory and moral damages from Smith.

Ursua admits that she was prepared for the possibility of “Nicole” throwing in the towel but still, she went on with the case.

“In a way, yes, (I was prepared for that) because from the onset we were talking about the possibility that she may not be able to take the pressure, that she may find it difficult (to pursue this to the end),” Ursua said, “and we were talking about this with ‘Nicole’. In fact, during the trial period, I told her that if at anytime she finds it very difficult and she could no longer bear it, she can withdraw, it’s her right.”

“And to her credit, she stuck it out during the difficult period, during the trial,” Ursua added.

She admits, however, that she was disappointed with “Nicole’s” decision to terminate her services.

“We’re on the last stretch already,” Ursua said. “The presentation of evidence is over, in fact there’s a conviction already although it’s on appeal, and we’ve submitted all the papers. So there’s nothing else to be done except to wait for the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court to render their decisions… Everything has been done in these cases.”

“Nicole’s” recent moves, she said, do not in any way lessen her determination to pursue the fight against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Passed by the Philippine Senate and signed by then-President Joseph Estrada in 1999, the VFA grants extraterritorial and extrajudicial “rights” to US servicemen visiting the Philippines for military “exercises”. It paved the way for the regular Balikatan military exercises, which began in 2002.

“(These don’t lessen my determination) because ‘Nicole’ represents the Filipino people, every Filipino woman,” Ursua said. “Her fight is our fight. So even if she has given up, the symbol of ‘Nicole’ and the spirit of what we are fighting for remain.”

“In fact I think we should persevere more in this fight, so that we could attain justice for ‘Nicole’ and the Filipino people,” she added.(Bulatlat.com)

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