Women’s groups slam DOJ on turnover of Smith to US hands

Press Release

Task Force Subic Rape

Dec. 6, 2006

Members of the Justice for Nicole Justice for the Nation Campaign Network (JNJNCN) and Task Force Subic Rape (TFSR) picketed the Department of Justice as Chief Prosecutor Zuno ceded custody of Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith to
US custody following his 40-year for rape two days ago.

Supporters of Nicole maintained that Smith should serve time in a Philippine jail; anything less would transform the landmark conviction to a hollow victory for Nicole.


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TFSR and the nation celebrate Nicole’s victory

Press Release
Task Force Subic Rape
Dec. 4, 2006

It is with deep pride and humility that the Task Force Subic Rape and the “Justice for Nicole Justice for the Nation” campaign join Nicole, her family and relatives, supporters and the entire nation in welcoming the decision of Judge Benjamin Pozon of the Makati Trial Court.

We believe that the Subic rape case is a landmark case for being the first that has come to trial in our country against U.S. servicemen, and for its importance in challenging the implementation of the Anti-rape Law in the furtherance of women’s rights. The case of Nicole has brought to light not only the issue of violence against women but also just as important the nature of the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA.

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From Nicole on the anniversary of the Subic rape

Isang taon na ang nakalipas mula nang ako ay ginahasa at tinapon ng mga Amerikanong sundalo sa tabi ng daan na parang baboy. Sa araw na ito noong nakaraang taon, pumunta ako sa Subic kasama ang aking mga kapatid para magbakasyon. Noon, punong-puno ako ng buhay at pag-asa sa aking kinabukasan. Noon, masaya akong nabubuhay kasama ang aking pamilya. Hindi ko akalain na ang aking pagbakasyon sa Subic ay hahantong sa isang trahedya. Sa araw na ito noong nakaraang taon, nagbago ang aking buhay.

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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

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)

Manifesto of Unity

Statement from the Justice for Nicole Movement

In November 2005, a young and carefree woman, a fellow Filipino, was raped and abused by several US servicemen, then dumped half-naked on the sidewalk of a former US military base in full view of witnesses. We – her family, friends and compatriots – denounce this despicable crime and cry out: Justice for Nicole!

The odds that Nicole will ever find justice, however, are stacked against her and the People of the Philippines, who are seeking the proper prosecution of the accused US military personnel and others who have so far managed to elude criminal liability.

The US government has refused to turn over to Philippine authorities the
US soldiers that witnesses, including the victim, have identified as perpetrators. Invoking the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the US government has insisted on custody over four of these soldiers who have been charged before Philippine courts.

The rights of the victim and the responsibility of the state to prosecute and punish the guilty parties have been restricted and effectively undermined by the VFA. The case of “Nicole” has confirmed the validity of criticism that the VFA is a lopsided agreement favoring the US and injurious to the interests of individual Filipinos and the Filipino people as a whole.

Philippine government officials have miserably failed to assert the rights and protect the interests of “Nicole.” The foot dragging and lack of political assertion on the part of the President, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Justice Department, most especially the Justice Secretary, during the investigation stage, have revealed the partiality of the Arroyo government for the accused US military personnel and against the victim herself and the Filipino people, who stand as aggrieved parties in this case.

The Arroyo government has not rendered meaningful moral, political and financial-material support for the victim after the discovery of the crime and up until the ongoing trial at the Makati Regional Trial Court.

Only the extensive coverage of the trial by the Philippine mass media, the sustained protest of progressive people’s organizations and women’s groups, the all-around support rendered by individual professionals and women’s rights advocates and public sympathy have helped balance the dangerously lopsided situation against Nicole.

Thus we, women and men in the Justice for Nicole Movement, pledge our unwavering commitment to support Nicole in her fight for justice. In the process, we also affirm our determination to uphold our dignity and right as a sovereign people.

(The Justice for Nicole Movement is an alliance of sororities and women’s organizations.)

Alam Niyo Ba?

Statement from the Task Force Subic Rape

(Addendum: Please see English Translation below the original statement.)

May mga nakaririmarim na komentaryo sa mga radio at mga “blog” (sa internet) tungkol sa kaso ni “Nicole”. Nakaririmarim lalo’t mga Pilipino pa man din ang pinanggagalingan ng marami at kababaihan pa ang ilan.

Paulit-ulit ang pagsisikap nila para makwestyon ang pagkatao ni “Nicole” at para pagdudahan ang motibo niya. Di na namin babanggitin ang mga ito dito. Bakit ba natin uulitin ang nakakarimarim nga. Sa buod, pinalalabas lang naman na masamang babae si Nicole at ang masamang babae ay di na kailangan pang gahasain dahil ibinibigay na nito nang kusa ang kanyang katawan at kung gayon, may ibang motibo si “Nicole” sa kanyang pagrereklamo at pagsasampa ng kaso.

Talakayin natin ito.

1.   Alam ba ninyo o alam ba nila na hindi basta o hindi madaling bagay ang magsabing “ako ay ginahasa? Alam ba nilang madalas na nangangamba ang rape victim sa sasabihin ng mga nakakaalam dahil siya ang nauuna pang hinuhusgahan imbes na ang nanggahasa? Sana, isipin nila na nila ay lalong magpapahirap sa iba pang mga biktima at magiging biktima ng panggagahasa na magsumbong, magsampa ng kaso at lumaban para sa katarungan. Sa ganoon, pinalalakas din nila ang loob ng rapists at mga maybalak mang-rape dahil alam na sa umiiral pa ring paghusga sa nagreklamo, malaki ang tsansang malusutan nila ang kaparusahan dito.

2.   Alam ba nilang kinikilala ng bagong batas tungkol sa rape na kahit sino ay pwedeng magahasa? Kahit ang mga “nagbebenta ng aliw” ay may inaayawanding tao at may pinipiling oras at lugar. May panggagahasa ahit sa ilang mag-asawaanyang asawa? Sinauna ang pag-iisip na ang mga birhen lamang na mahinhin ang pwedeng magreklamo ng “rape” at nagpapakita na urong (backward) na paniniwalang ang kababaihan ay dapat lang na dominado ng lalaki at umusunod sa batas na itinakda ng kalalakihan.

3.  At alam ba nila na ang kabutihan o kasamaan ng isang babae ay mahirap nilang itakda batay lamang sa kung siya ay umiinom ng alak o hindi, sa kung siya ay nagsasayaw na seksi o hindi, sa kung siya ay nagdadamit ng backless o hindi at kahit pa sa kung siya ay birhen pa o hindi na? Di ba’t ang mas unibersal na sukatan ay kung ang isang tao ay nakakasagka sa paggamit ng iba ng kanilang karapatan?

Walang katwiran ang panggagahasa!

_____________

Start of English Translation:

Do You Know?

We hear over the radio and even read in blogs offensive comments about Nicole. It is both saddening and dismal that these comments should come from our Filipino compatriots, most of whom are women. They question Nicole’s character and her motives in filing a rape complaint against the four
US servicemen. They want to depict Nicole as a woman of bad reputation, and they believe that women of “her kind” do not deserve respect. For them, such women offer their bodies for any man’s taking, thus they think that men don’t have to resort to rape anymore; women whose reputations are questioned are perceived as voluntarily offering themselves.

This is how they see Nicole and that is how they supposedly determine her “real motive” in filing the case. Now, to make these people realize this wrong mentality, it is important to make them understand some truths about rape and rape victims.

 

1. Do they know that it is never easy to confess, “I was raped”? That oftentimes, a rape victim worries about what other people might say? Or that she dreads people would blame her instead of her perpetrators?

We hope these people would realize that what they are doing to Nicole might discourage other rape victims now and in the future from stepping forward and filing a complaint. We also hope they would know that their acerbic comments against the victims could drive rapists and would-be-rapists into thinking that they could easily get away with their crime.

2. Do they know that a new law on rape recognizes that even sex workers and married women could also be sexually assaulted?

The idea that only demure, “virgins” have the right to cry rape is a myth. Married women and even sex workers can also file rape charges against those who force them into having sex. Sex that is against the will of any woman is a clear violation of her rights. Even wives who are forced to copulate with their husbands can file marital rape.

3. Do they know that a woman’s character cannot be determined based solely on whether or not she drinks, whether or not she dances sensually, whether or not she wears skimpy dresses, or whether or not she’s a virgin? Isn’t it that the universal measure of goodness is based on whether or not one pursues his or her own selfish interests at the expense of someone else’s rights?

Rape is never justifiable.

 

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