Posts Tagged ‘Subic Rape’

We had a meeting today with our lawyers on the VFA case along with organizations involved in the campaign.

1. The consensus among the lawyers is that the latest Nicole affidavit was not a recantation in the strict sense because it did not entirely contradict her earlier statement that she was raped. What she did was cast reasonable doubt on her previous testimony. That cloud of doubt can be used to influence the CA and divide public opinion on Nicole. This serves the goals of the Smith camp to get an acquittal (how they will do that legally is another issue). The move is also an attempt to douse cold water on the anti VFA protests.

2. There are serious ethical questions on the involvement on the Sycip Salazar law firm that represented Smith and apparently prepared and notarized the affidavit of Nicole. The same law firm representing the accused was helping the accuser “change” or sabotage her previous testimony. A member of that law firm also notarized Nicole’s affidavit. The Nicole affidavit was prepared March 12, four days before Atty. Ursua received Nicole’s notice of termination. It means that the lawyers of Smith were already talking to Nicole, behind the back of her counsel.

3. In the Court of Appeals, Nicole is represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, since the case is on appeal after being decided by the Makati RTC. But in the Supreme Court case on Smith’s custody and the VFA, the OSG is opposing Nicole. Kakampi mo sa isa, kalaban mo sa kabila. Weird no? Conflict of interest.

4. This is very much a political issue as it is a legal issue. The fight is not just in the hands of the lawyers. We should be very much involved. The protests must be aimed at the institutions and interests that stand in the way of justice and undermine our sovereignty. The Smith camp and the Arroyo regime and the US government are all using extra-legal means to undermine the rape case and the anti-VFA campaign. There’s diplomatic pressure, underhanded legal maneuvers, attacks from government officials etc. The people must respond by intensifying the protests aimed at the VFA, the puppet Arroyo regime, the interventionist US, and the agencies, offices and personalities obstructing justice.

We had a meeting today with our lawyers on the VFA case along with organizations involved in the campaign.

1. The consensus among the lawyers is that the latest Nicole affidavit was not a recantation in the strict sense because it did not entirely contradict her earlier statement that she was raped. What she did was cast reasonable doubt on her previous testimony. That cloud of doubt can be used to influence the CA and divide public opinion on Nicole. This serves the goals of the Smith camp to get an acquittal (how they will do that legally is another issue). The move is also an attempt to douse cold water on the anti VFA protests.

2. There are serious ethical questions on the involvement on the Sycip Salazar law firm that represented Smith and apparently prepared and notarized the affidavit of Nicole. The same law firm representing the accused was helping the accuser “change” or sabotage her previous testimony. A member of that law firm also notarized Nicole’s affidavit. The Nicole affidavit was prepared March 12, four days before Atty. Ursua received Nicole’s notice of termination. It means that the lawyers of Smith were already talking to Nicole, behind the back of her counsel.

3. In the Court of Appeals, Nicole is represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, since the case is on appeal after being decided by the Makati RTC. But in the Supreme Court case on Smith’s custody and the VFA, the OSG is opposing Nicole. Kakampi mo sa isa, kalaban mo sa kabila. Weird no? Conflict of interest.

4. This is very much a political issue as it is a legal issue. The fight is not just in the hands of the lawyers. We should be very much involved. The protests must be aimed at the institutions and interests that stand in the way of justice and undermine our sovereignty. The Smith camp and the Arroyo regime and the US government are all using extra-legal means to undermine the rape case and the anti-VFA campaign. There’s diplomatic pressure, underhanded legal maneuvers, attacks from government officials etc. The people must respond by intensifying the protests aimed at the VFA, the puppet Arroyo regime, the interventionist US, and the agencies, offices and personalities obstructing justice.

We just completed our mission in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan. For two days, we held meetings and protest actions against the US military bases in the small city of Iwakuni.

Incidentally, last October 14, a 19-year old Japanese women was raped by four US Marines. The circumstances of the rape were not unlike the Subic rape case in the Philippines two years ago. The Marines met the woman in a bar, brought her to their van and there raped her. It is quite sad that the local government in Yamaguchi are now trying to shift the burden on the victim, citing alleged inconsistencies in her statement. The Japanese authorities are not keen in filing a rape case against the four Marines.

Iwakuni is a small city with a population of only 152,000 and is six hours by bus from Osaka City. What sets it apart from other coastal cities in Japan is the presence of the US Marine base and several hundred American troops.

The road going to the main gate of the base was lined up bars, reminiscent of the red light district in Olongapo in the Philippines. The US forces levelled a hill so thet they can reclaim an area off the coast where they plan to expand the base and put up a new airstrip.

The protest action was relatively peaceful and unlike in the Philippines, we were actually able to march right up to the main gate of the US military facility. However, as the contingent refused to move (we were only supposed to pass by the gate), the police threatened to disperse us. They started with around 10-20  police men trying to convince us to move. When this failed, they called in a platoon of riot police to standby. A confrontation was averted when the group started to march, though very slowly, trying to maximize the time in front of the US military base.  

The city mayor is a staunch critic of the bases and now faces a recall petition from some pro-bases groups. The city council is divided on the bases issue. One council member spoke at the rally.

There were some unusual sights at this protest action. Costumes seem to be popular among the younger activists. The chant leader and cultural performer wore a black body suit or something resembling a wet suit. One marcher was dressed up as a French maid, another as US military serviceman with a heavy metal motif and of course there was this one marcher dressed in a blue penguin suit. The French maid and the US serviceman were part of a street play. The guy in the blue penguin suit, in don’t know what that was about.

All in all it was an interesting protest action and experience.