Subic rape case

Court case alleging 4 U.S. marines raped a Filipina woman / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Subic rape case, officially known as People of the Philippines vs. Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood, and Daniel Smith, was a criminal case in the Philippines involving a Filipina and four United States marines. It caught wide media coverage and achieved political and international significance because of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the United States and the Philippines, which had been the subject of protests from the beginning.

Initially, the accuser, Suzette Nicolas, alleged that she was gang-raped but after a few days, she then said that only Lance Corporal Daniel Smith raped her. She said that just before midnight of November 1, 2005, Smith raped her inside a moving Hyundai Starex van at Alava Pier in the Subic Bay Freeport where the marines' ship was docked. Nicolas also alleged that Smith's other companions, Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood were inside the van cheering Smith on as it happened. Smith countered the charges saying that what occurred between him and Nicolas was consensual sex.[1]

On December 4, 2006, after numerous court hearings over the course of a year that were open to the public and the media, Judge Benjamin Pozon of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 139 found Smith guilty of rape, sentencing him to reclusión perpetua, a sentence of 40 years, while the three others were acquitted.[2] Smith was confined in the United States Embassy in Manila, despite the judge's order that he be confined in a Philippine jail, and despite protests from Nicolas's supporters.

On March 17, 2009, Suzette's mother submitted an affidavit from Suzette dated March 12, 2009, saying she wasn't sure that she was raped. There was speculation of corruption and several organisations and congress people demanded an investigation.[3][4][5] Following the submission of the affidavit, on April 23, 2009, the Court of Appeals headed by three Filipino female Justices, Associate Justices Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa, Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal, reversed the decision of the lower court and ordered Smith's immediate release, stating that "...a careful and judicious perusal of the evidence on record does not convince the prudent mind about the moral certainty of the guilt of the accused, hence we must acquit." The Court of Appeals stated that "If Nicole was really drunk, she would have had a hard time rising up, much more standing up, or she would have just dropped, a common experience among Filipino girls." The CA rejected the trial court's findings that "there may be forcible entry" to explain the injuries in Nicole's genitals.[6][7][8][9]

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