Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. VI, No. 21      July 6, 2006      Quezon City, Philippines

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Nicole Tells Her Story

BY JHONG DELA CRUZ
Posted 8:12 p.m. July 6, 2006
 

In between sobs and tears, Subic rape victim Nicole told her story.

Seemingly nervous and at the brink of tears at the start of her testimony, Nicole was able to recall and narrate the events leading to the alleged November 1 rape incident that implicated four U.S. soldiers, who participated in joint military exercises last year.

Evalyn Ursua, Nicole�s lawyer, praised the victim for showing her inner strength during the four-hour trial.

"The flow went through as it should be, I think she was strong, but the real test for her is during the cross examination by the defense panel," she said, referring to the continuation of her client's testimony tomorrow at the sala of Judge Benjamin Pozon, Branch 139 of the Makati Regional Trial Court.

Nicole, who lived in Zamboanga City before moving to Manila for the trial, broke into tears when asked how her family treated U.S. soldiers who were the main patrons of their canteen. A ten-minute break was called to enable her to regain her composure.

"Hindi na sila iba sa amin, pinapakita namin na ka-pamilya na namin sila," (We treat them as family.) she said after the break.

"Pinapahalagahan namin sila para hindi sila ma-homesick," (We treat them well so they won�t feel homesick.) she said.

She revealed that she has a boyfriend, Brian Goodrich, a U.S. soldier with the 12th Marines Operations Platoon based in Okinawa, Japan.

Nicole said Carlos Ocasio and Chris Mills, from the U.S. Navy, invited her and her two half-sisters to take a vacation at Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales. She said that the two are friends of the family adding that they met them last July 2005.

A week before they went to Subic, she said that she talked with Goodrich on the phone. Nicole said that when she told Goodrich about their planned vacation, he told her it was okay and to take care.

Nicole, together with her two half sisters and two brothers, who joined them from Manila, visited Subic's more popular tourist sites like Ocean Adventure, Subic Safari and Bat Kingdom during their four-day vacation arranged by Ocacio and Mills. 

Nicole said that the rape incident took place on the third day, Nov. 1. In the courtroom, she positively identified Lance Corporal Daniel Smith as the perpetrator.  

Smith was said to have been cheered by Lance Corporal Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier during the sexual assault inside a rented van.  

Ursua said the rape victim's testimony will be opened to the public tomorrow in response to criticisms that Nicole is being elusive.  

To prepare Nicole for the cross examination tomorrow, Ursua said she told her client to remain calm and not to be distracted by the �theatrics� of the defense panel.  

Nicole is being assisted by a therapist, members of Task Force Subic Rape, and Gabriela. Bulatlat  

 

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