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Nicole’s Legacy (Updated)

March 19, 2009

Update:

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.

http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1998/ra_8505_1998.html

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?

junk-vfa-montage

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.

salonga-tanada-roque-quotes-jpgursua-quote-on-nicole-and-vfa1

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=449924&publicationSubCategoryId=63

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.

Postscript:

The full text of RA 8505 is here:

http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1998/ra_8505_1998.html

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. carlito72 permalink
    March 21, 2009 12:59 am

    This entire case has been full of conflicting statements. I think rape is one of the worst crimes there is and any man convicted within due process of the law should be severely punished.

    However, to use this case to end VFA will be a mistake. The reason the Abu Sayyaf has been almost destroyed is because of the help of the US Military and we all know this is true if we are honest with ourselves. One incident over the years involving the VFA agreement does not warrant it’s ending. Those who seek to destroy the Philippine Government is using this as a scapegoat.

    End the AFP? How many atrocity cases have been linked to them in comparison to the VFA? We all know many more but we also know we cannot abolish the AFP, either. The recent incident in Davao is a prime example. The brutal torture, killing and possibly rape of the 20 year old daughter of the local NPA leader is not linked to the VFA. A few bad apples does not tell the whole story of the great armed forces they serve. Our own members of AFP die on the battle field and some do heinous crimes, such as linked to them in the Davao incident, yet this does not make them all guilty nor does it make the others any less heroes.

    If we want to protect women’s rights, let us start in Angeles City. Why isn’t Gabriela protesting there every day and every night? We have this in our own back yard. There isn’t any agreement signed on this one! How many times are Filipinas exploited there by foreigners, none of whom are connected to a military which is helping our own country? One case linked to the VFA vs hundreds that occur daily in Angeles City. This exploitation of Filipinas is often even recorded on video and sold on the Internet! Some websites even show them for free. Yet, we do not take to the streets and protest about it. A blind eye is turned to this. Wake up!

    Why can’t we see the forest for the trees? Let’s concentrate on the real problems.

    • March 21, 2009 4:09 am

      Hi Carlito,

      The point I think is those seeking the VFA’s abrogation are in reality staking out an opening position from were negotiations can begin to correct perceived or real inequities in the agreement and to again subject it to the test of constitutionality.

      The matter of human right atrocities committed by Filipino soldiers on their compatriots is a thoroughly more serious matter and the corrective measures required therein runs entirely across the over-all HR situation in the Philippines, a situation that just yesterday the European Union felt it necessary to issue a statement expressing its concern over government’s inability to stem summary executions and harassment of militants and leftists.

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