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On the so-called Nicole’s Recantation

Different people have different reactions to the so-called “March 12 Affidavit” that Nicole allegedly executed and on the statement of her mother that Nicole is now in the United States to lead a quiet life. Quite a number expressed their anger as they felt betrayed. Others felt like they were abandoned in mid-air.

Many people are now attacking Nicole. When some quarters would throw mud at her during the early part of the fight, now she is being pushed into a cesspool.

Here is KAISA KA’s view at the turn of events.

We don’t regret having helped Nicole.

KAISA KA is happy and proud that it formed a significant part of the forces that went to Nicole’s rescue, assisted her and fought for her. We are proud that we played an important role in the fight for justice for the first victim of abuse by US soldiers that fought it out in court and got a conviction for one of the accused. We are proud that we did not hesitate in taking on the fight of the first victim that dared to make a stand in the first case that put to test the VFA.

We believe she was truthful in her statements during the trial in Makati. Some of our members listened to her discuss with her lawyer before the hearings and she was consistent in her statements. It was very clear in the evidences presented and in the testimonies of witnesses that she was highly intoxicated and she consequently passed off and was therefore, not in the position to give consent to having sexual intercourse.

We do not condemn Nicole.

She went through so much. In the Philippines, unless the rape victim is a little girl, the rape victim, more than the rapist, gets condemned. The government did not support her and instead, the Secretary of “Justice” led those who threw insults against her, against her person.

She tried her best to resist different forces that stood in the way of her fight. While her motives in filing a complaint was immediately put to question, she also rejected immediately “suggestions” from policemen, Olongapo City Hall employees and others for her to “settle amicably, avoid further embarrassment and make money out of it”. At the height of the Makati trial, she rejected a pay-off of a blank cheque, a house and lot in the US and a visa. For several times, she rebelled against persons close to her who would try to discourage her from pursuing the case by nagging her about the disruption the case has caused in their lives, in their jobs and in their livelihood.

We do not know the details of whatever transpired that led to the March 12 affidavit. But clearly, stated in the affidavit are the arguments that were presented by her opponents and the formulations were not Nicole’s.

Let us try to be more understanding. A rape victim undergoes some emotional swings that may affect her stand on some important things in life.

And if it were true that she finally succumbed to the offer of a comfortable and peaceful life in the US, we know that Nicole would realize the emptiness of that promise.

We would, however, always wish for the best for Nicole.

By making the second affidavit, Nicole’s opponents aim to influence those who would be deciding in the Court of Appeals so that they acquit Smith and to make it easier for the people to accept the acquittal.

The March 12 Affidavit, which was attested and notarized by a lawyer in the firm that serves Smith, has no real legal weight in deciding Smith’s appeal. “New evidences” are not discussed in the Court of Appeals (CA). But for the accused and for his lawyers, these “statements” can do a big deal in influencing the minds of those who will decide on Smith’s appeal.

Besides, this affidavit is important for the pro-VFA Arroyo administration. Some senior officials of Malacañang have suggested that they are hoping that Smith gets acquitted by the CA to ease the tension on Smith’s not being jailed in a Philippine penitentiary and on the one-sidedness of the VFA.

By destroying Nicole’s credibility, the government wants to put an end to the movement for justice in the Subic Rape Case and douse the raging demand for the abrogation of the VFA.

We should take note of the stress given to the point that Nicole is now in the US. Likewise, that she received from Smith PhP100, 000 in payment for damages.

Looking closely, no real proof points to Nicole’s being in the US now. And the civil responsibility, the PhP100, 000 for damages has been ordered by a court. This was made public and has been over–emphasized to make Nicole appear really “cheap”. This is to further make her lose face, to totally destroy her credibility and of those who support her. Through this, they see the death or even just the temporary cooling down of the demand for the scrapping of the VFA.

The March 12 Affidavit cannot erase one character or face of the VFA: that of violence against women that the Subic Rape Case clearly exposed.

The Subic Rape Case and Nicole’s decision to expose it and fight for justice were of significant importance in exposing the violent character of the VFA.

Nicole’s fight showed what women’s organizations have warned since a long time ago: that with the VFA, the women are further exposed to the danger of experiencing military violence.

Nicole’s fight clearly showed what we have long been saying that the US military forces condone rape committed by its troops by covering-up and by giving protection to the accused. This proves that until now, military patriarchal culture that treats women’s bodies as prizes for soldiers’ good performance or as tools for the recreation of weary soldiers that defend the strategic interests of the empire is still prevalent in the US military forces.

The March 12 Affidavit cannot erase another face of the VFA that the Subic Rape Case showed: that of VFA trampling on the sovereignty of a weak country.

People who earnestly studied the VFA before and after its ratification by the Senate have long warned: VFA has many unequal provisions and the Philippines is in a disadvantaged position. Among the one-sided provisions are: the Philippines has no right to check-up the arms being brought in by the US; the Philippines has no right to find out whether the US soldiers have communicable diseases; the Philippines cannot demand for the passport and visa of US soldiers entering or leaving the country or collect taxes for goods and vehicles the US soldiers bring in; and the provisions on criminal jurisdiction that were put to test in the Subic Rape Case.

The Subic Rape Case and our fight for justice in this case proved that those warnings were not merely a product of fear. After the rape, custody of the suspects was not in the hands of Philippine authorities. After a case was filed and the accused are supposed to be detained, the US government still refused to turn-over the accused to Philippine authorities. And after Smith was sentenced and the court committed him to the Makati City Jail, the US government colluded with the Arroyo government to get Smith back and put him in air-conditioned quarters inside the US Embassy. Every time, they use the provisions of the VFA on criminal jurisdiction as grounds. But even after the Supreme Court ruled that Smith’s turn-over to the US Embassy was not in accord with the VFA, the US government still refuses to give Smith to Philippine authorities to be kept in a Philippine jail.

The fight goes on despite the outcome of the pressure exerted on Nicole

The fight for Justice in the Subic Rape Case is beyond Nicole. This is a fight of the Filipino women and of the Filipino people as a whole.

Let us continue with our demand for Smith’s conviction and the enforcement of his punishment. Let us oppose the pressure on the CA to reverse Smith’s conviction and demand that Smith gets jailed in a Philippine penitentiary.

Let us intensify our fight against the VFA and reinvigorate the movement for the abrogation of the VFA. We will still present the Subic Rape Case and the process it went through as an argument against the VFA. But we will add other arguments that we have collected in the almost ten years of existence of the VFA. Among these are: the existence of military facilities or bases in the Philippines; the waging by US of an unconventional warfare in Mindanao; their involvement in the killing of civilians that include a pregnant woman and children; the dislocation of families and communities because of their exercises and war; women driven in droves, as a result of the dislocation, to become OFW’s specifically in Malaysia and suffer more misfortunes; and the role of the US soldiers in the plunder of our natural resources and in the destruction of the environment.
On with fight for justice!
Scrap VFA!


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