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Conviction of US Marine in Subic Rape Case Was Fair


THE conviction of US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith on Monday afternoon by the Makati Regional Trial Court was fair in my opinion because of the overwhelming amount of physical evidence collected and presented during the trial.

The rape victim, “Nicole”, admittedly did not fit the bill of being innocent and inexperienced. Instead she admitted to being friends with another US soldier, who subsequently invited Nicole and her sister to spend a weekend in Subic, Olongapo, with him last year. It was during that weekend that Nicole was raped by Smith in a van, with his three friends Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier allegedly cheering him while he had sex with Nicole in the back of the van.

Many commentators, myself included, initially cast doubt on the story of Nicole, saying that she willingly went to a bar with the soldiers, drank heavily with them, flirted and danced sexily with Smith. She even left the bar voluntarily with them, though she was extremely drunk. It was while she was in the van making out with Smith that their two stories diverge. Smith says that she wanted to have sex with him, and even helped him guide his penis into her vagina. She denies this, saying she struggled, said no repeatedly and then passed out. When she awoke, she found herself abandoned on a roadside, her panties and jeans pulled down around her ankles.

Yet as a legal analyst on the ANC channel Monday morning said, “Even a prostitute can be raped.”

Nicole was examined by a doctor who found contusions and bruises in her vagina, indicating violent and non-consensual sex. This alone should have been good enough for conviction of Smith, especially since Nicole passed out from too much drink during the sex, and thus couldn’t have been able to give her consent or not.

Already an American reader has written to me asking if the verdict was fair, and I replied that it had been. The three acquitted friends of Smith have already been flown back to their US base in Okinawa, Japan, and now the Philippine and US governments have to decide under whose custody Smith will remain as he appeals his conviction. Under the 1992 Visiting Forces Agreement signed between the two countries after the Philippine Senate voted not to renew a treaty that allowed the US to maintain military bases in the Philippines, the US has the right to remain in custody of any US serviceman accused of a crime until all legal remedies are exhausted. Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Rafael Seguis admitted this on television Monday evening, erasing any doubts that may have remained in any one’s mind.

I don’t think Philippine-US relations will be adversely affected by this ruling. As former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani said in a TV interview, the Philippines needed to set the boundaries and tell its superpower ally, the US, that it couldn’t cross those lines. Judge Benjamin Pozon did just that. I just pity the poor family of Smith, who must be having nightmares about what their son will be facing in the horribly overcrowded Philippine jails.

Comments (14)

  • TK

    even though our jails here are “horribly overcrowded” please assure the smith family that their son will be treated a lot better than the inmates in Abu Ghraib and camp xray.

  • the jester-in-exile

    i don’t quite think it was fair… i’m of the opinion that the other three are guilty of aiding and abetting — by not intervening. guilty by omission, so to speak.

  • Anonymous

    i dont think that the decision of the judge is fair…i believe that daniel smith should be acquitted as what happened is a consensual sex and not rape…I pray that he will get his freedom soon and go back to his country and start a new life…lets not ruin his future…a very young man…He doesnt deserve to be in jail…

  • Anonymous

    To me the conviction of guilty is fair, but the penalty is cruel and unusual. mitigating evidence should be considered in metting punishment, such were in abundance in the case. Life sentence is reserved for heinous crimes as murder in first degree, rape of minor or by overwhelming force or by threats, but not in such instance where consent was presumed by the accused to have been given. I think he’ll get a reduction of punishment on appeal…

  • uberjam

    to anonymous:
    if the mere fact that an accused claims to have presumed that consent was given, merits a reduction of sentence, i cannot begin to imagine how many more convicted felons ought to have their sentences reduced just because, as a defense, they claimed that they thought that they were given the go-signal before they went on to commit the crime, for which they were incarcerated.

    to have sex with an intoxicated girl. in a van. in front of your friends. and then to leave that girl on the street. her undies and pants down to her knees.

    how can anyone with a sane mind ever assume that nothing wrong went on?

    To make that presumption. that, i believe, is what’s cruel and unusual.

  • odin

    While I agree that there is sufficient ground for a conviction, 40 years does seem a bit harsh, specially considering the circumstances. 40 years or more should be given only for those who are obvious threats to others and who will probably do it again. Smith merely took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself (and in which most guys would have assumed consent like he did) and which probably won’t happen again.

    What I don’t like about the situation is, there are segments of society that treats it like a war against americans. Smith did it not because he is a soldier or an american out to take advantage of my countryman(though there are americans who do), he merely did it because that is what any guy in his situation would have been tempted to do (and I’m sure a large number of guys doesn’t have what it takes to resist it either).

    And while there is not enough ground to agree with people who say Nicole wished it to happen, I must say that they are either right, or that she is extremely careless. (third option is that it is just another plot to discredit the current administration, but that would be a bit improbable)

    ———————————
    dude, if you can edit it, please either don’t publish this part or don’t approve the post at all.
    you can reach me at odin_matanguihan@yahoo.com

  • the amateur misanthrope

    so far, your post the sanest i’ve read on the subic rape case verdict. just one question, though. why do you like things filipino? most of us hate things here, especially the dysfunctional culture.

  • vic

    uberjam,

    I;m commenting on my perspective as a Canadian, where even a first degree Murder with rape is punishable of life with a chance of parole after 25 years. mitigatin evedince is always considred by a presiding judge upon conviction by the jury, expecially for cases where no specified minimum is applicable. Consider the Smith, they all were intoxicated, they were playful, how many times these groups have experience such encounter and thingking it could have been the same as their previous experience? an adventure. that is the risk for every young fellow on the prowl. But we are not talking about the guilty or not guilty; we agreed he was quilty, but is the punishment comensurate with the crime, taking it is the maximum, but when i mentioned could be reduced On appeal, the judge, as you might have observed in his ruling had not imposed the MINIMUM..

  • Anonymous

    The Court of Appeals will either convict or acquit Smith. The penalty if convicted will be the same. reclusion perpetua ,20 yrs plus 1 day to 40 years. maximum 40 years. other countries have lower penalties for rape, but in the Philippines, it is one of the worst crimes and is dealth with a high penalty.

    smith’s service in the US marines, a philippine ally,or his young age is not mitigating.

    those three other marines should have been liable for doing nothing. silkwood even helped smith carry the young woman out of the van with her pants down.

  • Anonymous

    i agree with odin, somehow its the girl’s fault. she shouldnt have went out with them. Imagine she went out with a group of “men”? if she was just using her logic there is a big possibility that it wont happen to her if she did went out with them, remember they are man they can be tempted.. on the other side, smith’s group also have a fault they should not have done that… i just feel sorry that she is “somehow” a disgrace to us filipina women… “somehow” i understand what she is fighting for (just maybe)… there’s no smoke without a fire…

  • Anonymous

    There was NO rape.

    Initially, Nicole said that she was gang-raped. Then changed her story after a few days and said that she was raped by Smith only.

    She put the condom on Smith. She was wearing very tight jeans. She gave Smith a head.

    When she was dropped off on the side of a VERY LIT pier, she was yelling, “I’m not a bitch” after one of Smith’s friends told Smith to “dropped off your bitch” or something to that effect because their curfew was almost up. Nicole’s pants was down to her knees and the condom still hanging out from her $$%%.

    The judge said that Nicole was too drunk when their sex happened which made her too unconscious to consent to the sex. Smith was drunk too. Bar girls know how to fake drunk.

    The judge said that he didn’t want the same thing to happen to his daughter and he said that he had been crying about the case.

    The Filipino driver of the van initially said that there was no rape. Then after a few days, he said that there was rape. Then the Vice President of the Philippines interviewed him wherein he said that he was FORCED to sign a paper by the Police that said that Smith raped Nicole eventhough he didn’t.

    Smith’s Filipino lawyer was a real estate lawyer and he didn’t know about it until after the case. Lawyers in the Philippines can practice in any field.

    There are people who like rough sex, we don’t know if Nicole and Smith both like rough sex or bdsm which could result in some trauma after having sex.

    The judge’s decision was based on emotion, not based on facts.

    The Philippines is notorious for being known as corrupt. The girls befriend the foreigners and have sex with them. Then cry rape while they are in the motels and call the police. Once the police arrives, they ask the foreigners for money or else they will sue them. What do you think the foreigners would do?

    It just happened that Smith believed in the Philippines’ judicial system, HUGE MISTAKE.

  • Anonymous

    Suzette (or Nicole) left for US LAST WEEK for good.

    You guys be the judge if there was rape in the first place. Ha ha ha!

    On the other hand, Suzette did the right thing instead of letting herself to be continually used by Gabriela and the leftists when in fact, she knows the truth.

    Smith will now face the US Military Court Marshall but he will get a FAIR investigation there so he will be okay.

  • Anonymous

    Suzette finally WOKE UP.

    Both Smith and Suzette were USED in this case because they are young and naive.

    Suzette was used by Ursua, Gabriela, Maza, Hontiveros, anti-Americans., etc.

    Smith was used by Judge Pozon and the Phil. Judiciary System.

    The Philippine DOJ must investigate Suzettes lawyer, Ursua, and Gabriela, Bayan Muna, etc., and find out if Ursua wanted Suzette to give false testimony.

    If proven guilty, Ursua and her groupies could go to jail from 6 years to 40 years.

    GOOD!

  • Anonymous

    Your blog states that there was bruising on the “victim”. What do you think now, seeing that the verdict was overturned due to a lack of physical evidence? Where was the disconnect? The fairness?

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