24 April 2009
Reference: Joms Salvador, 3712302 / 09189182150
GABRIELA Storms Philippine Appellate Court/US Embassy, outraged over Smith’s Acquittal
The militant women’s group GABRIELA stormed the Court of Appeals this morning and later proceeded to the US Embassy to express outrage over the Higher Court’s decision to acquit Lance Corporal Daniel Smith.
“The Court of Appeals betrayed the Filipinos. By acquitting Smith, they have trampled on the hard-fought justice of women on the Subic rape case and the fight of all Filipinos to defend our dignity as a people,” said Joms Salvador, Gabriela spokesperson.
The women’s group said that the Higher Court abandoned its responsibility to the Filipino people to deliver justice by overturning the lower court’s guilty verdict on Smith in 2006.
“Justice Pozon soundly handed Smith a guilty verdict based on clear evidences that Nicole was raped. He stood on the side of justice despite tremendous political pressure but this is now nullified by the decision of Court of Appeals that clearly reeks of political maneuvering,” added Salvador.
“All recent developments on the Subic rape case, including the termination of Nicole’s legal counsel and the recent affidavit of Nicole, all points to political manipulations being orchestrated no less than the US and the Philippine government,” said Salvador.
The women’s group said that Smith’s acquittal aims to end all contentions on the custody of the convicted US soldier. “The US government’s adamant refusal to turn over Smith to Philippine authorities underscores the grossly unequal relations of US and the Philippines under the Visiting Forces Agreement.”
The constitutionality of the VFA is set to be taken up by the Philippine senate, spurred by the US government’s inaction to turn over Smith despite a Supreme Court decision last February.
“Notwithstanding the CA decision, the truth remains that the US soldier Smith raped a Filipina. The truth remains that through VFA, US soldiers can get away with ravaging our people; that VFA violates our sovereignty. The fight for justice and the fight to junk VFA continues,” concluded Salvador.
35 Sct. Delgado St, Brgy. Laging Handa
Quezon City, 1103 Philippines
TeleFax: (632) 374 44 23
GABRIELA is a grassroots-based alliance of more than 200 women’s organizations, institutions, desks and programs in the Philippines. We seek to wage a struggle for the liberation of women and the rest of our people.