Nicole’s Legacy (Updated)
I am a firm believer in letting sleeping dogs lie.
But it appears they just won’t, just yet, in the case of Suzette Nicolas a.k.a Nicole.
As Dean Jorge Bocobo so kindly alerted me last night, Ms. Che Che Lazaro’s Media In Focus (which replayed on ANC I failed to catch as I nodded off) supposedly tackled how both MSM and New Media, more specifically bloggers, are alleged to have transgress R.A.8505′s protective clause for the privacy of rape.
That clause reads, to wit:
Section 5. Protective Measures. – At any stage of the investigation, prosecution and trial of a complaint for rape, the police officer, the prosecutor, the court and its officers, as well as the parties to the complaint shall recognize the right to privacy of the offended party and the accused. Towards this end, the police officer, prosecutor, or the court to whom the complaint has been referred may, whenever necessary to ensure fair and impartial proceedings, and after considering all circumstances for the best interest of the parties, order a closed-door investigation, prosecution or trial and that the name and personal circumstances of the offended party and/or the accused, or any other information tending to establish their identities, and such circumstances or information on the complaint shall not be disclosed to the public.
But wait, does the prohibition say the news media, those that report, or comment on current events are covered by it?
I submit that an educated appreciation of the law will reveal that in reality what has happened is the MSM nd New Media now find themselves embroiled in the same battle, a battle which will define how journalist-bloggers are journalist first, while blogger-journalists are exactly that… bloggers dabbling in journalism but who may or may not work within ethical parameters.
This is the challenge for bloggers to put premium on fact checking, proper attributions, multiple source confirmation and research, research, research.
Most of all, bloggers, must adhere to the common sense tenets of fairness and balance.
As we have all learned in L’Affaire Daniel Smith, truth is a very rare commodity so it cannot in itself be raped, nay, sodomized.
Wittingly or unwittingly, what Suzette has left in her wake is a trail of confusion and disgust.
Will she be able to live this down as she embarks on her American Dream?
Militant Flipinos are saying they are determined to carry on the fight to abrogate the Viiting Forces Agreement despite having lost their poster girl: Suzette Sombilon Nicolas a.k.a. Nicole.
They point out that the petition to declare the VFA unconstitutional is not affected by the decision of the Filipina to recant her story that the American Marine soldier raped her after a night of partying in Subic.
Former Senators Tanada and Salonga and Atty. Roque correctly note that Nicolas’ affidavit is just a scrap of paper because it was never presented during the trial and never identified and attested to by Nicole in court.
The Court of Appeals should logically treat it that way: as hearsay and a belated attempt to reverse Smith’s conviction by introducing the element of reasonable doubt.
This is abundantly clear in the wording of the affidavit where Nicole supposedly says she no longer remembers if Smith did rape her.
Paragraphs 6 to 9 of her affidavit:
6. I had no opportunity to deny in court that I kissed Daniel Smith but with the amount of alcoholic mixed drinks I took, my low tolerance level of alcohol and with only a slice of pizza all night, it dawned upon me that I may have possibly lost my inhibitions, became so intimate with Daniel Smith and did more than just dancing and talking with him like everyone else on the dance floor. Looking back, I would not have agreed to talk with Daniel Smith and dance with him no less than three times if I did not enjoy his company or was at least attracted to him since I met him for the very first time on the dance floor of Neptune Club.
7. When I danced with Daniel Smith for the third time, my companion, Chris Mills has already left Neptune Club since he had to catch their curfew time at the military base. The lighting was sufficient for people to recognize each other and other marines were with their Filipino partners drinking, dancing and enjoying each other’s company and kissing and hugging among partners was a common scene.
8. With the events at the Neptune Club in mind, I keep on asking myself, if Daniel Smith wanted to rape me, why would he carry me out of the Neptune Club using the main entrance in full view of the security guard and the other sources? Why would the van park right in front of Neptune Club? Why would Daniel Smith and his companions bring me to the seawall of Alaba Pier and casually leave this area that was well lighted and with many people roaming around? If they believed that I was raped, would they have not dumped me instead in a dimly lit area along the highway going to Alaba Pier to avoid detection?
9. I told the court that Daniel Smith kissed my lips and neck and held my breast inside the van. Recalling my testimony, I ask myself now how could I have remembered this if witnesses told the court that I passed out and looked unconscious when I was brought to the van by Daniel Smith. How could I have resisted his advances given this condition? Daniel Smith and I were alone on the third row of the van which had limited space and I do not recall anyone inside the van who held my hand or any part of my body. What I can recall is that there was very loud music and shouting inside the van.
Where before the Filipina was lionized as \ heroine for women’s rights, not she is starting to be demonized as having perjured herself with her recantation serving as her ticket to settling in the united States.
The peace of mind Suzette may not come just yet with the Visiting Forces Agreement in the middle of the controversy that she ignited.
The full text of RA 8505 is here: