Nicole testifies, recounts alleged rape

Thursday, July 6, 2006
Witness: Nicole

For almost three hours, Nicole took the witness stand and recounted the events that led to her alleged rape on Nov. 1, 2005.

At the start of her testimony, the 22-year-old complainant who accused four US servicemen of raping her told the jam-packed courtroom how she felt around American soldiers.

Nicole said she had a good relationship with them; there are many of them who patronize her family-owned canteen in Zamboanga.

The canteen, which is located near the Southern Command, has been catering to Filipino and American soldiers ever since she was little, Nicole said. She added that soldiers go there to buy food and souvenirs, to eat or just to hangout. They sometimes even ask her to withdraw money for them.

That’s how they trust us,” Nicole said in a shaky voice.

When asked how her family treated the American soldiers, Nicole leaned on the interpreter beside her and cried.

Private prosecutor Evalyn Ursua asked for a break and was granted a 10-minute recess.

It was only 1:20 p.m.

Kapamilya ang turing namin sa kanila (We regard them as part of our family),” Nicole said when the hearing resumed. She added that even her mother treated the two US Navy officers, Carlos Ocasio and Christopher James Mills, who invited them to Subic, as her sons.

Nicole said she and her mother met the two in July 2005. Every time their ship would dock in Zamboanga, they would go to the canteen and her mom would sometimes prepare lunch for them.

Barely two months later, Nicole said Ocasio and Mills invited Nicole and her mother for a vacation in Subic. Nicole declined, saying there would be no one who could take charge of their canteen. But her mother allowed her to go in October when her younger brother, who was then studying in Davao, agreed to temporarily manage the canteen.

On the morning of Oct. 30, Nicole, her stepsister Anna Liza Franco and half sister Carmela Franco boarded a plane to Manila. Ocasio and Mills promised they would shoulder Nicole’s and her sisters’ accommodation in Subic, while the three paid for their plane fare.

Before their departure from Zamboanga, Nicole’s boyfriend, a US Marine officer, called from Okinawa, Japan. She said he knew they were going to Subic and he told her to take care.

At this point, Nicole cried but composed herself after a while.

She narrated that they arrived in Subic at around 6 p.m., accompanied by her two brothers who fetched them at the airport in Manila. They went to Legenda Hotel where Ocasio checked them in.

They did not stay in the hotel, however. Ocasio told the 12-year-old Carmela that he didn’t want to be a “bad influence” on her. “There are some Americans who walk naked in the hotel,” Nicole said, quoting Ocasio.

So they transferred to Grand Leisure Hotel, where they stayed for the rest of their vacation.

Nicole, Anna and Ocasio went bar-hopping that night, while Carmela and her two brothers stayed in the hotel.

Nicole said they first went to Scuba Shack where she saw a Filipina sitting on the lap of an American and another couple kissing. Ocasio ordered rum-coke for them. She said she and Anna both took a sip but didn’t like the drink.

She further stated that she didn’t like the place because of what she saw. She whispered to Anna to ask Ocasio if they could go someplace else.

The three went next to Pier 1. Nicole said Ocasio ordered Vodka Sprite, which they drank. Ocasio then accompanied Anna to the restroom.

Mills arrived and ordered two shots of alcoholic drinks. Mills, who they usually tease as “stingy”, paid for their bills that night. To show her gratitude, Nicole said she drank the two shots, even if she and Anna didn’t like how the drink tasted.

Nicole recalled that after taking the drinks, she felt dizzy and leaned on Anna. Nicole whispered to her, “Kasalanan ‘to ni Chris. Di ko na kaya (This is Chris’s fault. I can’t handle it anymore).” She drank a bottle of water and although it helped, she still felt dizzy after.

Ocasio then suggested that they go to Neptune Club where they could sing, dance and drink. Nicole said she liked to dance and so she agreed. They stayed there for less than an hour. After that, they went back to Grand Leisure while Ocasio went to Legenda, where he and Mills were staying.

The next day, Oct. 31, Nicole said she, Anna and Carmela went to Legenda to meet Ocasio. Her brothers went back to Manila because they had jobs to attend to.

The four went to Zoobic Safari, then to Ocean Adventure. Ocasio’s superior called and told him that his liberty was already terminated. When he was gone, the girls went to a duty-free shop. Then they went back to the hotel at around 4 p.m.

Around midnight, Nicole said Mills called and invited them to play at the Legenda Hotel casino.

Ursua asked her of what date it was. Nicole answered Nov. 1.

At this point, there was a murmur in the audience. Ursua reformulated her question, clarifying if Nicole meant midnight between Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, or between Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. The defense objected, and the judge ruled in their favor.

Nicole continued her testimony. She said she and Anna went to Legenda and played blackjack and roulette, which Mills taught them. They stayed in the casino for about an hour then went back to Grand Leisure at around 1:45 a.m.

In the afternoon of Nov. 1, Nicole said she and her sisters went to the San Roque Chapel to light a candle for Nicole’s deceased father but the chapel was close so they went to Duty Free Port Exchange instead.

Around 6 p.m., Mills called, saying he was in Grand Leisure and had ordered a Yellow Cab pizza for their dinner. When they arrived in the hotel, they saw Mills with his liberty buddy, identified only as Garcia.

The pizza was delivered at around 6:30 p.m. Nicole said she and her sisters ate a slice each while the US servicemen had two slices each.

Nicole also said that except for Carmela, all of them went to Legenda casino to play blackjack and roulette. They stayed there until 8:20 p.m. when Mills invited them to go to the Neptune Club because he wanted to drink.

When they were at the club, Mills ordered two glasses of Vodka Sprite for Nicole and Anna. He also ordered a B-52 which they drank straight, as taught to them by Mills. Nicole said she felt dizzy afterwards.

Mills ordered a glass of Singaporean Sling. Nicole tasted it and drank half a glass.

Nicole said she and Mills went to the bar because there were no waitresses in the area where they were seated. Mills ordered a B-53 for both of them, and three glasses of Singaporean Sling. After she downed a glass each of the drinks, Nicole said she felt dizzy again.

Asked why she drank all those drinks, she said, “Kaya kami pumunta sa Subic ay para mag-enjoy. Kaya ako uminom (We went to Subic to enjoy. That was why I drank).”

Nicole also recounted that when she, Mills and Anna were dancing, a man she later identified as the principal accused Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, suddenly grabbed her hand and pulled her away from her companions. Nicole said she got scared because she didn’t know him.

She said she looked at Mills and asked if it was okay to dance with the man. Mills told her, “It’s okay. Go on. Enjoy.” He even told the man to “take care of her.”

At this point, Nicole wept again, prompting Ursua to ask for another break. Presiding judge Benjamin Pozon allowed a three-minute recess.

When the hearing resumed at 3:20 p.m., Pozon reminded Ursua that the prosecution could opt to exclude the public.

In trials for rape cases, the prosecution has the right to exclude the public, especially if the one testifying is the complainant and her testimony involves sensitive details about the alleged crime.

Ursua said the prosecution maintained its stance not to exclude the public.

Nicole continued with her narration. She said with the go signal from Mills, she danced with the man. While dancing, she learned that the man was “Genard or Gerard,” a 20-year-old US Marine officer.

When Ursua asked her if the man was inside the courtroom, Nicole pointed Smith.

Defense lawyer Benjamin Formoso, Smith’s counsel, made a manifestation that when Nicole was identifying his client, she wasn’t crying.

Ursua asked the court to also put on record that even if Nicole didn’t cry, she was giving Smith “dagger looks”.

Meanwhile, Nicole narrated that she, Anna and Mills had Long Island Iced Tea but she didn’t like its taste and drank only half of it. She said she still felt dizzy.

By this time, Nicole’s memory of the events began to falter. She said she didn’t know how, but after dancing with Anna, she found herself dancing with Smith. She added that she didn’t know where Anna went so she continued dancing with Smith.

While dancing, Nicole remembered that Smith would always make her turn her back to him.

Lawyer Francisco Rodrigo, counsel for accused Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier, wanted to clarify if she meant she was being “turned around.” Nicole had a mini debate with him when she tried to explain what she said.

Being still the examiner, Ursua asked the counsel “not to participate in the answer of the witness”.

Nicole said that each time Smith made her turn, she responded by facing him because she always wants to see the face of the person she is dancing with.

She added that she still felt dizzy while on the dance floor and she could not remember what happened next.

She recalled drinking straight half a pitcher of Bullfrog that Garcia had ordered earlier but she didn’t know why she did that. She also remembered three men in front of her exclaiming, “Whoa!” after she finished the drink.

Nicole said she realized she didn’t know where her three companions were. She further stated that she did not eat anything except the slice of pizza for dinner. She also did not drink water at the Neptune club that night.

She remembered someone forcing her to go out of the club because it was hot in there but she refused, saying she was waiting for her sister.

She said her mind blanked out again and next thing she remembered, she was lying on her back and Smith was on top of her, kissing her.

At this point, Nicole broke down. The judge asked her if she could still go on or if she wanted to continue giving her testimony the next day. Nicole said yes to the latter.

Pozon banged his gavel at 4:05 p.m., 55 minutes before the usual court adjournment.

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5 Comments

  1. Arthur See said,

    July 22, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    Civic leader deplores RP mendicancy in rape trial

    Even during the trial of the controversial Subic rape case, the
    Philippines’ despicable, if not abominable, mendicant policy toward
    the United States (US) reared its ugly head, a Filipino-Chinese civic
    leader said over the weekend.

    Teresita Ang-See, founding president of Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran,
    yesterday said she saw this for herself when she attended some of the
    hearings at the Makati City Regional Trial Court last week.

    “The accused are trained Marines who employed brute force and dared
    abused Filipinos because they know that with the country’s mendicant
    foreign policy, the crime may draw a political rather than a judicial
    decision. Even Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez already showed bias in
    favor of the Marines early on in the case,” Ang-See said in her
    column in the Chinese- Filipino digest Tulay.

    She cited the case of a female government lawyer assigned to the four
    accused whom she saw laughing with them, especially during that part
    of the trial when the complainant was sobbing while testifying.

    In contrast, Ang-See said top US officials apologized for the rape
    and murder of a young Iraqi woman and the killing of her family.

    The officials who offered the apology at the time acknowledged that
    what the four US soldiers in

    Iraq had done to the Iraqi woman “injured the Iraqi people as a
    whole.”

    “Are we Filipinos such wimps? I hope not!” she said.

    Ang-See drew attention during that particular trial last week when
    she stood up and lectured the accused on proper conduct in court.

    “It is the height of insensitivity and callousness to make Nicole’s
    pain a laughing matter. That was why I couldn’t stop reacting after I
    saw Smith and Duplantis laughing with their Filipina assistant
    private counsel,” she said.

    She recalled that when she stood up after Judge Benjamin Pozon left
    the court, she saw Daniel Smith and Dominic Duplantis discussing
    something with their Filipina assistant private counsel and laughing.

    Ang-See, within hearing of the accused’s Filipino security detail,
    said “Aba, may gana pang magtawa ang mga gago (So these jerks have
    the nerve to laugh)!”

    She added she was even more dismayed when the security personnel
    stood up and instead of admonishing the two accused ignored Ang-See’s
    comments.

    This prompted the two suspects to continue their “joyful
    conversation” amid of the complainant’s painful sobbing.

    “I couldn’t stand it and told the US Embassy personnel, `Can you tell
    those two guys to stop laughing?’ I got even more shocked when the
    two just smirked at me while the embassy personnel asked, `Why, who
    are they laughing at?’ Actually, at that point, I didn’t know what
    was more shocking, seeing the accused laughing or seeing the Filipina
    assistant private counsel laugh with them,” she said

  2. stoxbnx3 said,

    July 24, 2006 at 7:17 am

    sir, where was this published exactly? we can re-post this article here but only if we can have a name to attribute it to.

  3. Catherine Findlay said,

    August 3, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    The Daily Tribune (home page: http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.html)

    Civic leader deplores RP mendicancy in rape trial
    by Jun P. Yap
    07/23/2006
    Even during the trial of the controversial Subic rape case, the Philippines’ despicable, if not abominable, mendicant policy toward the United States (US) reared its ugly head, a Filipino-Chinese civic leader said over the weekend.
    Teresita Ang-See, founding president of Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, yesterday said she saw this for herself when she attended some of the hearings at the Makati City Regional Trial Court last week.
    “The accused are trained Marines who employed brute force and dared abused Filipinos because they know that with the country’s mendicant foreign policy, the crime may draw a political rather than a judicial decision. Even Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez already showed bias in favor of the Marines early on in the case,” Ang-See said in her column in the Chinese- Filipino digest Tulay.
    She cited the case of a female government lawyer assigned to the four accused whom she saw laughing with them, especially during that part of the trial when the complainant was sobbing while testifying.
    In contrast, Ang-See said top US officials apologized for the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman and the killing of her family.
    The officials who offered the apology at the time acknowledged that what the four US soldiers in
    Iraq had done to the Iraqi woman “injured the Iraqi people as a whole.”
    “Are we Filipinos such wimps? I hope not!” she said.
    Ang-See drew attention during that particular trial last week when she stood up and lectured the accused on proper conduct in court.
    “It is the height of insensitivity and callousness to make Nicole’s pain a laughing matter. That was why I couldn’t stop reacting after I saw Smith and Duplantis laughing with their Filipina assistant private counsel,” she said.
    She recalled that when she stood up after Judge Benjamin Pozon left the court, she saw Daniel Smith and Dominic Duplantis discussing something with their Filipina assistant private counsel and laughing.
    Ang-See, within hearing of the accused’s Filipino security detail, said “Aba, may gana pang magtawa ang mga gago (So these jerks have the nerve to laugh)!”
    She added she was even more dismayed when the security personnel stood up and instead of admonishing the two accused ignored Ang-See’s comments.
    This prompted the two suspects to continue their “joyful conversation” amid of the complainant’s painful sobbing.
    “I couldn’t stand it and told the US Embassy personnel, ‘Can you tell those two guys to stop laughing?’ I got even more shocked when the two just smirked at me while the embassy personnel asked, ‘Why, who are they laughing at?’ Actually, at that point, I didn’t know what was more shocking, seeing the accused laughing or seeing the Filipina assistant private counsel laugh with them,” she said. Jun P. Yap

  4. James Erickson said,

    August 14, 2006 at 10:48 am

    There are so many Filipina scream rape for money now days ,it is scarry to travel to the Philippines.
    Why would anyone who got raped wait 32 hr to go to the hospitial to get checked ??????? ,if was raped and went to the police ,they should have taken her right away to the hospitial .
    Why would anyone go back to the bar to look for the Marines,after being raped, who they know would not be there unless her payment for sex was not enough money and wanted more or she think she make lot pacos…
    If was forced out of the bar ,isn’t there security guards there at door and many other people who would intervien if looked like she was forced out of the bar.
    ALL SMELLS LIKE BIG SCAM GO WRONG.
    ALL IS BOLA BOLA.Good luck Marines many other men go thru the same and end up paying the girl even tho they not have sex ,and also pay the corrupt police. This all give the Philippines a bad name,these woman cry fake rape for money makes me sick.
    Jim

  5. stoxbnx3 said,

    August 14, 2006 at 11:52 am

    the previous posts in this blog will answer all your questions. please read them.


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