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Monday, December 04, 2006

Marine Convicted of Rape in Philippines

From SFGate:

Marine Convicted of Rape in Philippines
By PAUL ALEXANDER, Associated Press Writer
Monday, December 4, 2006 11 38 AM

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(12-04) 11:38 PST MANILA, Philippines (AP) --

A young U.S. Marine faces 40 years in jail after being convicted Monday of rape in a landmark case that has become a symbol for women's rights and national sovereignty in the Philippines.

Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Benjamin Pozon rejected Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith's claim that the woman was a willing partner, saying she was too drunk to have consented to having sex.

Three other Marines were acquitted of complicity for allegedly cheering on Smith in the back of a moving van.

As the verdict was delivered, cheers and applause broke out in the courtroom, and the 23-year-old woman began weeping as supporters embraced her. "I'm sad that three were acquitted, but I'm also happy because one was convicted," the young woman, who is Filipino, told ABS-CBN television in a telephone interview.

But as the convicted Marine was exiting the courtroom, a scuffle broke out between U.S. Embassy guards and Philippines police as both tried to take Smith away, underscoring the territorial dimension in the case which has consistently made front pages in the past year with lurid details. Filipino guards eventually secured the Marine's custody.

The U.S. Embassy had retained custody of Smith during the prosecution, in line with a treaty governing foreign troops in the former American colony after the closing of U.S. bases in the early 1990s. Although the joint military pact paved the way for U.S. counterterrorism training and was credited with helping local forces make gains against Muslim extremists, some Filipino groups have protested the 1998 pact, claiming it gives U.S. servicemen favorable treatment.

The 23-year-old woman accused Smith, who had just participated in joint military exercises, of forcing himself on her in the back of a moving van after a night of drinking at the former U.S. naval base at Subic Bay. She claimed three Marines cheered him on, before he dumped her on the street with her pants around her ankles.

Smith, 21, of St. Louis, countered that the young woman was a willing participant.

He was ordered to pay her $2,000 in compensatory and moral damages. The other three Marines were charged in the case, but were acquitted and immediately headed back to their unit in Okinawa, Japan, where they could still face military discipline.

The scuffle came as Smith was taken away in handcuffs to be fingerprinted and photographed and to undergo a medical exam. A Philippines police official said it appeared there had been a misunderstanding over whether Smith would remain in U.S. custody during a subsequent appeal. The judge ruled that he would be temporarily held in a Philippines jail in Makati, Manila's financial district.

Zozimo Paredes, head of the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement Commission, said the agreement is clear that Smith will have to stay in the Philippines until his appeals are exhausted. He may also have to serve his sentence in the country.

About 100 protesters gathered outside the courthouse, chanting and singing "Bayan Ko," or "My Country," a popular nationalist song. They waved a banner that demanded justice for the woman and the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement.


  • At 1/17/2008 11:30 AM, Blogger lynchburg63 said…

    i feel sorry for her but she shouldn't went with them just by herself, a woman go with the guys can call a cheap woman, she's like invited them to do something to her, specially people from other countries saying women there is so cheap, can buy them 1 for a $1, and that is so sad because i'm a Pinay too..

  • At 12/05/2009 1:08 PM, Blogger Steve said…

    I'm glad he was convicted. I do aggree with the 1st comment that it might have been avoided if she had friends accompaning her - safety in numbers. To be fair it's possible that it could occur in any country.

  • At 5/28/2015 9:24 PM, Blogger keith brooks said…

    it was discovered that the security guard lied because of police pressure. Nicole was a bar girl from Angeles, Subic and did a stint in Korea. I'm not saying it was ok what happened, but her mother stated that her only wish was to get the money from the Marines. The next night after the "rape" Suzette was out and about at another Karaoke picking up guys again. Again, her mother stated that she thinks Suzette made up the story in order to make the mother not worry since Suzette was supposed to be marrying a Marine in Okinawa. The entire story was a ruse. In fact, Suzette, lied on her visa application that she never engaged in the act of prostitution. She later wrote a statement that maybe she "led the Marine on" thinking he was going to have sex. I don't like the entire story or who I think is bad, I think they both did something bad to each other, but Suzette was the worse.

  • At 5/28/2015 9:32 PM, Blogger keith brooks said…

    Suzette's mother said Suzette left the Philippines in mid-March for the US for good to join her fiance of two years who is in the US Military and that she had been working on obtaining her US visa for a long time. According to Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Philippine Bureau of Immigration, Suzette flew to Japan and that they didn't have a record of her connecting flight to the US.[27] Susan appealed to the public to allow Suzette to live a normal life.<[13][26]

    According to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, all he knew was that Suzette wanted assistance from the Philippine Government in securing a visa for Italy where her brother reportedly stays. He also said that Suzette could face a perjury case for lying under oath which was contradicted by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Antonio Cuenco. Chairman Cuenco said that since Suzette had doubts on what she said during the trial, that didn't make her a perjurer.[28][29]

    Justice Secretary Gonzalez further stated that he should have granted Suzette's wish to remove the "meaty" portions of her affidavit in 2005 when she filed the rape case against Smith. He also added that if he helped her in removing those portions, there "never" would have been a case.[30][31][32]

    He added that he suspects that anti-US military groups in the country might have originally pressured and "brainwashed" Suzette to pursue the alleged rape charges against Smith and that everybody were taken for a ride.[31][32]

    According to Smith's lawyer, Jose Justiniano, Suzette's family contacted him on March 12, 2009 and asked for a meeting with him and the other lawyer who is also representing Smith. Suzette told them that she fired her lawyer and that she wished to accept the 100,000 Pesos (equivalent to US $2000) that Judge Pozon ordered Smith to pay her for moral and compensatory damages in December 2006.[31]

    At the time of Smith's sentencing, Suzette had wanted Smith to be punished of death penalty instead of the 40 year imprisonment sentence that Judge Pozon imposed.[45]

  • At 1/20/2017 9:06 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

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