This week’s top news shocker definitely goes to Nicole, the alleged victim in the Subic rape case. Her sudden (?) decision to recant her testimony about being raped by US Serviceman Daniel Smith in 2006 has both shocked and divided public opinion in an instant.
Really, who could blame the public for having conspiracy theories? Nicole’s decision comes at a time when the clamor for the Visiting Forces Agreement have been getting louder. It comes just a few days after US President Barack Obama’s call to President Arroyo, which centered, yes, on the VFA. AND, let us not forget that the latest affidavit Nicole signed was prepared by a lawyer from the same law firm as Daniel’s Smith’s counsel. Come on, we weren’t born yesterday. Nicole’s move has just made it easier for Malacanang to justice the VFA. But has it?
Still, I find myself agreeing with DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez, about feeling that we were all taken for a ride. We have heard harsher words. We have heard Nicole being called a traitor, and worse, a slut. There are even calls to declare her a persona non grata (is that even possible?). Then there are worries that Filipinos as a whole would lose credibility overseas. Not surprisingly, Nicole has transformed from heroine to kontrabida.
I would cut Nicole some slack. The public has its own concept of justice. So does Nicole, and she should be entitled to get her justice her own way (provided that of course, she is not breaking the law). After all, she didn’t exactly get justice after Smith’s conviction. She continued to be hounded by pressures from different sectors, and she really wasn’t able to move on after her case. Who could blame her? She continued to be a victim — although granted that she really was not raped, she now has herself to blame. But given what could be alleged evidence that she was pressured into recanting, she continues to be a victim.
We will have to see how the Court of Appeals decides on the case. After all, legal experts would argue that Nicole’s latest statement really does not hold water anymore. Its decision may just be a landmark decision that would serve as basis for future jurisprudence.
I find it silly that there are moves to file a case of perjury against her, since she’s in the US already. Such a move would only be ceremonial. What do they want to do, extradite Nicole because of perjury?
For me, there are two important revelations. First, at least we know that if there is enough will, a trial can be swift. However, we failed to follow through after the trial.
Second, whether Nicole was indeed raped or not, we have now seen with certainty how flawed the Visiting Forces Agreement is, and that is why it must be reviewed, if not totally junked.