Smith acquittal insulting, but not surprising – women lawmakers


04/23/2009 | 08:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals’ acquittal of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith of the US Marine Corps was an insult to Philippine dignity, but it was not surprising given the latest statement of Suzette Nicolas, a.k.a “Nicole,” in November 2005.

Two women lawmakers made the statement Thursday after the Court of Appeals reversed the Dec. 4, 2006 ruling of the Makati Regional Trial Court convicting Smith of raping “Nicole” in Subic.

“I was not exactly surprised by Smith’s acquittal because when Nicole’s affidavit came out last March, the stage has been set up for his acquittal. I deplore the grand scheme concocted by the US and Malacaňang meant to save Smith and justify VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement),” Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza said in a text message to GMANews.TV.

In another text message, fellow Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan made a similar statement.

“It is not a surprise. Our government is totally subservient to US dictates. We condemn this added insult to the injury suffered by Nicole and other victims of US abuses. Where is our sense of dignity and nationalism?” Ilagan said.

Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel said the court’s decision casts doubt on the Philippine government’s ability to protect is own law and citizens.

“The CA decision to acquit Smith is shameless and thoroughly disgusting… If we can’t even uphold our own Constitution and laws and protect our citizens within our own territory, then how can we defend our country from other nations?” Hontiveros said in a text message to reporters.

Aside from acquitting Smith, the CA likewise ordered his immediate release from a detention center at the US Embassy in Manila, unless there is another case filed against him. – GMANews.TV