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.