Happy 23rd

 

Birthday, Nicole!

 

 

Nicole to Gonzales: ‘Too late’

A week after she appealed that state prosecutors handling her case be replaced, Nicole sent another letter today to the justice secretary, this time saying that even if he would grant her request, it would be too late.

Nicole said the decision of DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzales would no longer make a difference once the defense panel finishes presenting its witnesses.

Defense planned to present six witnesses: the four accused, a US Marine who claimed to be Nicole’s friend, and an obstetrician-gynecologist.

Of the six, only accused Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis have not taken the stand yet. Others were done with their testimonies, save for Dr. Teresita Sanchez who still have to testify for cross-examination.

In her letter, Nicole wrote in detail how the poor performance of the prosecutors disappointed her especially during the September 11 hearing.

“I was extremely dismayed, disturbed and alarmed upon witnessing one of the state prosecutors cross-examine accused [L/Cpl Daniel] Smith,” Nicole said.

Nicole said that lawyer Nolibien Quiambao was “obviously unprepared” for even Judge Benjamin Pozon had to reprimand him several times for merely repeating what Smith stated.

She then revealed that before the September 11 hearing, her public and private lawyers already agreed that senior state prosecutor Emilie Fe delos Santos would handle Smith’s cross-examination.

“Why did she not cross-examine Smith?” Nicole asked, adding that it disappointed her that a junior prosecutor like Quiambao would cross-examine the prime suspect and the “most critical witness” of this case.

She continued that Quiambao is often absent or never takes notes during hearings, and sometimes leaves the court after staying briefly.

Nicole also said that delos Santos turned down her plea to let private prosecutor Evalyn Ursua help conduct the cross-examination. Delos Santos purportedly told her that Ursua could no longer cross-examine.

“I am the victim here. I have the right to be represented. I cannot stand the fact that they have excluded my private lawyers,” Nicole said.

She then added, “What is the sense of hiring the services of my lawyers if they have no participation in the case?”

Meanwhile, Nicole narrated instances when the public prosecutors showed indifference to her feelings as a rape survivor. She recounted that they sometimes scold her and make her stop crying during hearings.

She also wrote that she felt demoralized whenever the prosecutors come to court late or are absent, or when she see them laugh with the defense panel inside the courtroom.

Nicole further stated that state prosecutors treated her with “lack of respect” and that she had no good relationship with them.

“They did not even respect me and how I felt during that time,” Nicole said, adding that the prosecutors should have understood how she felt that time because they have handled rape cases before.

Statement of Support for Nicole and All Women Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse

The Women’s Crisis Center is a non-stock, non-profit private institution with a firm commitment to end all forms of violence against women and to work towards a just and humane society. As such we have been actively engaged in empowering women through direct services, education and training and policy advocacy among others.For the past 17 years, we have worked with women survivors of violence. And until now we are still amazed by their strength and will to fight back against the blame, the stigma, and the pressure to conform to the male-centered standards of justice in society, even as our organization strives to help them rebuild their lives.

Sexual abuse, rape, is one of the most traumatizing forms of violence against women – and perhaps the most misunderstood. Or is it because society does not want to understand rape at all? Society owes the victim-survivors justice and healing. The most recent example of this deliberate ignorance on rape is found in the Nicole’s case where she has been tagged as a liar, “ingrata” and having “imagined” it all.

We salute the women like Nicole who chose to speak out against violence. We believe her, and stand by her in her battle for justice and healing. Her struggle in the courtroom goes beyond her personal interests to present society’s double standards with regard to justice, and especially justice for women.

To Nicole’s words, we add our own voices; to her courage we add our strength: She did not imagine the rape.

Women’s Crisis Center

18 September 2006

Open Letter for Nicole

(Bukas na Liham Para Kay Nicole)

Mahal naming Nicole,

Kami ang mga kababaihan sa Women’s Crisis Center ay nagpapahayag ng aming matinding supporta at pakikiisa sa iyong pakikipaglaban sa kaso.

Ang Women’s Crisis Center ay isang pribadong organisasyong nagbibigay ng kumprehensibo at sensitibong serbisyo para sa kababaihan at batang biktima ng karahasan. Sa aming 17 taong pakikiisa sa mga biktima ng karahasan laban sa kababaihan, nauunawaan naming mahirap ang iyong pinagdadaanan sa ngayon. Hindi maraming babae ang naglalakas loob na sumuong sa legal na proseso. Alam nating lahat na ito ay masalimuot lalo na para sa isang babaeng nagahasa.  Hindi lang ang kaso mo ang nililitis kundi kasama pa rito ang ang iyong dangal at buong pagkatao.

Malayo pa tatahakin ng ating lipunan bago tuluyang maintidihan ang mga katulad mong biktima ng karahasan at makapagbigay ng tunay na hustisya at paghihilom. Alam din naming masakit para sa iyo na makita na ang mga taong inaasahan mong magtanggol sa iyo ay siya ngayong bumabatikos sa iyo at sa iyong pamilya.

Sa kabila ng mga batikos sa iyo, kami ay nananatiling naniniwala sa iyo na ikaw ay isang biktima. Humahanga kami sa tatag at tapang ng loob na pinapakita mo sa gitna ng mahirap na prosesong iyong pinagdadaanan.

Kami ay handang umunawa, dumamay at sumuporta sa iyong pakikibaka. Hindi ka man manalo sa korte, panalo ka pa rin sa mata ng kababaihan at ng buong Sambayanang Pilipino.

Women’s Crisis Center
18 September 2006

TOWNS clears controversies raised by state prosecutors

Recent news reports quoting people involved in the Subic rape case, particularly members of the government prosecution panel, alluded to a fund-raising activity of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Foundation at the premiere of the ballet “La Bayadere,” which featured Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, last August 11.

As a TOWNS awardee, Lisa offered to donate the proceeds of tickets that TOWNS members could sell.TOWNS Foundation is an organization of outstanding women awarded for their contributions to the nation’s service. Because TOWNS believes that rape is a crime of violence against women, TOWNS undertook to support Nicole in her quest for justice. Among the TOWNS members most directly involved in this case are Atty. Evalyn Ursua and Dr. June Lopez who chose to volunteer their services.

In behalf of the members of TOWNS Foundation who have openly declared support for justice to prevail in the Nicole case, and to set the record straight, we state the following:

1. TOWNS fully supports Nicole’s struggle for justice in whatever forum in court or in the eyes of the Filipino public.

2. TOWNS is committed to work for justice and truth and as such, stands fully and steadfastly behind Atty. Ursua and Dr. Lopez and continues to believe in their integrity and competence.

3. TOWNS categorically denies that there is any problem involving finances pertinent to the case, and would like to assure all our members and supporters that we will exercise due diligence and transparency in the management and disbursement of funds we have managed to raise in this and other fund-raising ventures.

                                                – From the members of TOWNS Foundation

Toxicologists say Nicole was intoxicated the night she was allegedly raped

A team of seven toxicologists who examined Nicole’s case concluded that her alcohol intake on the night she was allegedly raped was more than enough to impair her cognitive and physical faculties and thus render her incapable of sensing or fighting off danger.

The toxicologists calculated Nicole’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) based on the alcoholic contents of the beverages she drank, factoring in her metabolism and the time of the intake. The table below shows Nicole’s estimated BAC levels from evening of Nov. 1, 2005 to dawn of Nov. 2, 2005.

Alcoholic drink

Estimated Time

Amount of alcohol ingested (mL)

Estimated BAC (mg/dL)

Vodka Sprite

8:30 pm (Nov 1)

48.0

128.0

B52

9:00 pm

10.0

142.2

B53

9:30 pm

10.0

 156.4

Singaporean sling

10:00 pm

43.2

259.1


Long Island Iced Tea

10:30 pm

19.06

297.4

Bullfrog

11:00 pm

60.0

444.9

 

11:30 pm

0

432.4

 

12:00 mn

0

419.9

 

12:30 am (Nov 2)

0

407.4

 

1:00

0

394.9

 

1:30

0

382.4

 

2:00

0

369.9

 

3:00

0

344.9

The team found out that Nicole’s BAC peaked between 11:00 p.m.of November 1 to 12:30 a.m. of November 2, around which time she was seen by Neptune Club security guard Gerald Muyot being taken out of the bar unconscious by accused Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, and around which time the alleged rape occurred.

The toxicologists also found a positive correlation between her BAC levels and her behavioral manifestations as reported by witnesses.

Tomas Corpuz, another security guard at Neptune, had seen her walking “pasuray-suray” and “paikot-ikot” in the bar at 11:15 p.m. of November 1. After she was found at Alava Pier at 12:15 a.m. of November 2, Subic Bay Freeport bike patrolman Noel Paule reported seeing her crying and “parang lantang gulay.”

The testimonies of Corpuz and Paule on Nicole’s behavioral manifestations were consistent with the toxicologists’ calculations of her BAC. The table below shows the relationship between different BAC levels and their effect on the human body.

BAC (mg/dL)

Effect

20-30

Mood elevation, slight muscle relaxation

50-60

Relaxation and warmth. Increased reaction time. Decreased fine muscle coordination

80-90

Impaired balance, speech, vision, hearing, muscle coordination, euphoria

140-150

Gross impairment of physical and mental control

200-300

Severely intoxicated. Very little control of mind or body

400-500

Unconscious. Deep coma. Death from respiratory depression

Source: Alcohol: Pharmacology & Neurobiology. Vijay A. Ramchandani, PhD., Indiana University School of Medicine (with modifications), as lifted by the toxicologists

For more details, please read the official toxicology report here.

Nicole very determined to pursue her case

I am very much interested in pursuing my case. From the very beginning, my mind was set to pursue the case and not be influenced by other people by any means. My fight will be until the very end. I was never and will never be influenced by people surrounding me.

I called a press conference last Thursday. No one dictated me what to do. It was my own decision to let people know what I feel about the status of my case.

I have made the decision to ask for a change in the public prosecution team. I am extremely disappointed about the cross-examination of the accused Lance Corporal Daniel Smith. It was obvious that the state prosecutor did not prepare for it. Even the judge questioned the state prosecutor if he was doing a cross-examination. I begged the senior state prosecutor to allow my private prosecutor to have her cross-examine but she told us no.

Mula pa sa simula ay alam ko na ang kakulangan ng paghanda ng mga state prosecutors sa aking kaso. Naging mahinahon ako at ang aking pamilya dahil sa alam namin na nakatutok ang aming mga private prosecutors. (From the start, I was aware about the performance of the state prosecutors, but my family and I did not mind it because our private prosecutors were there). My private lawyers represent me and they deserve to be recognized as such. I am the victim here. I have the right to be represented. I cannot stand the fact that now they have excluded my private lawyers from the case.

Is the government really interested in getting justice for me? Or does it simply want to finish the case without caring for the result? If this is so, it simply means that it is not capable of protecting or defending its citizens like me.

When I engaged the services of Atty. Ursua, she told me that I have the option to settle, that it is my right. She asked me, what will you do if there is an offer of a settlement? I said to her that to settle is to think only of the short term, and I don’t want to blame myself that I did not fight. I know I will be bothered by my conscience someday if I did not fight and seek justice. I have come so far already, why will I think of a settlement?

Recently, my mother made public the advice of Senior State Prosecutor Emilie delos Santos to settle the case. I believe in my heart that my mother did not lie. Matagal niyang tinago sa akin ang bagay na ito dahil ayaw niyang madismaya ako at panghinaan ng loob.

DOJ Sec. Gonzales said that from the start he expressed his disbelief in my claim of rape. Mr. Secretary, I did not imagine the rape. Since your people are supposed to be prosecuting my rapists, you should never have said that. Hindi ako istupido na ilagay ang sarili ko sa ganitong paghihirap kung ito ay gawa-gawa ko lang. Coming out, testifying in court and recalling the rape were not easy for me.

I have come to realize that what I have done is right. I only want people to know the truth and achieve justice for what Daniel Smith and the other accused had done to me. Fighting for my dignity as well as the dignity of my country and standing up firmly for the case is the most courageous thing that I have ever done. I will not let my family, friends and supporters down. They give me the strength and the courage to continue.

Ako at ang aking pamilya ay patuloy na nagtitiwala sa integridad at kakayahan ng aming mga private prosecutors. Nagpapasalamat kami sa kanilang tulong at dedikasyon sa kaso kahit pa man hindi namin sila nababayaran para sa kanilang serbisyo. Ang perang naiambag namin sa kaso ay napakaliit kumpara sa naging gastusin sa kaso. Kaya nagpapasalamat kami sa TOWNS (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service) Foundation, sa Task Force Subic Rape at iba pang mga grupo na tumulong sa amin.

(My family and I trust in the integrity and capacity of our private prosecutors. They are dedicated even though they are doing it all for free, and we thank them for that. The money that my family has shelled out for the case has been too small compared to what was really needed, that is why we are also grateful to TOWNS [The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service] Foundation, the Task Force Subic Rape, and to the other groups for supporting us.)

(This statement was written by Nicole herself.)

Pahayag para sa mga Kababaihan, Kababayan at mga Mamamayan ng Daigdig

Sa aking mga kabaro, kababayan at sa lahat ng mamamayan ng daigdig.  

      Mahirap sa isang babae ang lumantad at sabihing siya ay nagahasa. Pero sa kabila ng mga panghuhusga ng ilan at pagkutya sa akin ay pinili ko po ang ituloy ang kasong ito.  

      Masakit isiping, nilapastangan ako ng mga sundalong Amerikano sa sariling kong bansa. Naisip ko noon, kahit pala sa sarili kong bansa ay di ako ligtas. Pinilit kong lampasan ang mga bangungot na ito upang mabawi ang aking dangal upang patunayan sa lahat na di ko ginusto ang pangyayaring ito. 

      Noong una, akala ko ay tutulungan ako ng ating gobyerno na bawiin di lamang ang aking dangal kundi ang dangal ng sambayanang Pilipino. Pero nagkamali ako. Imbis na ako ay tulungan, mas kumiling pa sila sa mga rapists. 

      Gumuho ang aking mga simpleng pangarap, pangarap na mabuhay ng tahimik at masaya. Gumuho ang aking pag-asang manalo at mabawi ang aking dangal dahil sa mga kaganapan sa loob ng court room. 

      Marami pang di magagandang bagay ang naranasan ko sa kasong ito. Alam ko di man sabihin ng aking pamilya ay ganon din sila.  

      Salamat sa mga taong umunawa, dumamay at tumulong sa akin at sa aking pamilya. 

      Ngayon, sa inyong lahat, kumakatok ako sa inyong mga puso. Wala na akong natitirang pag-asa, kundi ang tulong at suporta ninyong lahat. Tulungan nyo akong ibalik ang aking pagkatao. Hindi man ako manalo sa loob ng korte ay maitatak naman
sana sa ating lahat ang minsan, bumangon ako, lumaban di lamang para sa aking sarili kundi para sa lahat ng kababaihan sa daigdig lalo’t higit sa aking bayan.
 

      (Mula kay “Nicole”, Setyembre 15, 2006)

TFSR calls for end of VFA, slams US Global War

Press Release
Task Force Subic Rape (TFSR)
September 15, 2006

“It has been 15 years since the end of the Bases Treaty but the situation of Filipino victims of abuse by US soldiers remain the same,” the Task Force Subic Rape, an organization of women’s groups who are  are holding a rally in front of the US embassy this morning to show support for Nicole’s decision to replace the state lawyers assigned to prosecute the US soldiers she accused of raping her in November last year.

“Observers in the hearings have been suspecting that something is behind the obviously perfunctory handling of the case by the state prosecutors,” said Myrla Baldonado of TFSR. “Last Monday, the poor conduct of the cross examination even caused the judge to be visibly surprised.”

TFSR goes beyond the complaint  of Nicole’s mother who said the state prosecutors are incompetent. The group is also questioning several instances that point to the government’s hand in the handling and in directing the outcome of this case. Pressure from the US on the Arroyo government as well as pressure the DOJ over the state prosecutors can never be discounted.

“It is unfortunate that as we celebrate the anniversary of one shining moment in our history tomorrow, the assertion of our sovereignty through the abrogation of the US Bases Agreement in 1991, the Arroyo government remains so obsequious to its ‘long-time partner’, the US, that it hitches itself up on Bush’ global war against terror. For this, she allowed the use of the whole country for war exercises through the VFA,” added Baldonado.

TFSR is composed of organizations and individuals which include AKBAYAN Women’s Committee, Buklod, CATWAP, BMP-Kababaihan, Freedom from Debt Coalition, KAISA KA-KPD, KAKAMPI, Partidong Manggagawa, PTFBC-ABC, SANLAKAS, SARILAYA, SOS Women, WEDPRO, Women and Work Resource Center, WRACVAW, WomanHealth, YAKAP and Women’s Legal Bureau.

Militant women slam DOJ for public prosecutor’s poor showing

Press Release
Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan (KAISA KA)
September 12, 2006
Reference: Atty. Virginia Pinlac, Chairperson (0920-9215248)

 

“Is the DOJ deliberately asking for a poor showing for the case or are we to believe we have ‘incompetent’ public prosecutors?”

This was the question posed by the militant women’s organization Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan (KAISA KA) after witnessing yesterday’s poor performance from the public prosecutors as L/Cpl Daniel Smith took the stand for the defense’s opening salvo on the controversial Subic Rape case.

In a picket-protest in front of the Makati Regional Trial Court, members of KAISA KA rallied in support of Nicole while chiding the public prosecutors for not putting up a fight in court.

According to Atty. Virgie Pinlac, spokesperson for KAISA KA, the poor showing is highly suspect because the defense’ side announced their game plan a few days ago. She raised fears that the DOJ may be deliberately trying to lose the case due to pressure from the US government.

“Are we being sold out by our own?” lamented Pinlac.

Previously, KAISA KA along with other member organizations of Task Force Subic Rape held several rallies and pickets before the DOJ in reaction to Secretary Gonzales’s comments that raised possible exoneration of the four US Marines.

KAISA KA pointed out that the outcome of the Subic Rape case will have strong repercussions on the US-RP relations in the future especially because Filipinos the past were unable to successfully prosecute any US soldier for crimes committed in the country.

If the US sees that we buckle down on this case, we can expect more Nicoles or worse in the future because they know WE DON’T take care of our own,” ended Pinlac.   

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