Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines (AJLPP)-USA
Abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between US and Philippines to Serve Justice for Nicole
The gang rape of Nicole by four US marines in the Philippines is not only an issue of a woman but a whole nation raped for the last century, made possible through onerous and lopsided military agreements, much like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
While on one hand, people should celebrate the verdict of "guilty" for Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, the acquittal of three other rapists, namely: Staff Sergeant Chad Carpenter and Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis must be condemned and opposed.
As the maxim says: "An act of one is an act of all." Why would the Philippine Court exonerate the other three accomplices when they were cheering while the Smith was committing his bestial act on the helpless Nicole on the same vehicle? For a long time, rape was considered a heinous crime and was punishable by death until capital punishment was lifted in the Philippines in recognition of the harrowing trauma that a rape causes. Where is the "spirit of the law?"
Why celebrate the "quarter-victory" when the Philippine government acts as the lawyer for the Americans, cannot even demand custody and accepts the VFA as puppet's delight when Filipinos are being oppressed and trampled by US occupation troops aka "visiting forces" who raped our women and make a mockery of our laws?
Some media presents the decision as half-victory and that people are half-satisfied. The fact that only one out of four was convicted does not make it half. The half-ness may even get worse as the US Embassy was again pushing to take custody of Smith in much the same manner when the US government took custody of the four rapists during trial. There were 2,000 criminal cases committed since the US Bases were established in the Philippines for the last century. Except for Smith, none was ever convicted.
Looking at the big picture, any crime committed by US servicemen will never see justice so long as the Philippine government remains a puppet and tied to the military agreement that violates the Philippine Constitution, which explicitly states: "... that no foreign troops will be allowed in any part of the country for combat purposes."
The case of Nicole is a showcase of the Philippine government failure to assert national sovereignty, and that Philippine courts are symptomatic of this general failure.
It took a woman to again highlight the issue of rape and the lopsided relationship of the Philippines and the US. It will take the courage of the Filipino people and justice-loving citizens of the world to call for the scrapping of the VFA.
Abrogate the VFA, Now!
Uphold Philippine sovereignty!
Justice for Nicole!
Contact: Violy De Guzman