Monday, December 04, 2006

A Half-baked Decision

This afternoon saw the promulgation of the Subic Rape Case. Judge Pozon of the Makati courts found L/Cpl. Daniel Smith guilty of raping 23 yr. old Nicole. He however acquitted Silkwood, Duplantis and Carpentier. I am not a lawyer but my simple appreciation of the case is that a crime of one is the crime of all. The rape was committed in a confined space where all of the occupants knew what was happening. The fact that they allowed and a abetted a commission of the crime in their presence alone has made the other three accomplices in the crime. To isolate one could raise doubts if and when an appeal is made.

Clearly, the public prosecutors were remiss in proving beyond reasonable doubt the existence of a conspiracy. I cannot blame Judge Pozon for coming up short. He certainly based his decision on the facts presented by both sides. I know he appreciated each and every piece of evidence. The public prosecutors should have strengthened the conspiracy theory. I laud Judge Pozon's decision to detain Smith in the Makati City Jail at least for the meantime.

In the end, justice has been served. Though our expectations were not fully met, we can be content that somehow, there is closure. The overwhelming support by the people and Nicole's courage to see the case to its finality is a victory for justice. The legislators must now restudy the VFA and plug the loopholes in the treaty. Unlike in Japan and Korea were the treaties are somehow level, we must insist an equal dispensation of justice. Indictment alone in these countries leads to the arrest and detainment of the accused. The host country gets the custody of the accused serviceman during the entire judicial process. The US cannot dictate its will on these nations.

We must, as a sovereign nation enjoy equal footing with other countries regardless of their perceived power. The US is not above us and we must assert our right as a coequal. They need us more than we need them. The VFA has not offered anything substantial and had made our country into America's little playground. Either they recognize our sovereignty or let us do away with the VFA.