At exactly 12:00 o’clock noon today, the Regional Trial Court of Makati City acting through Judge Benjamin Pozon, handed down the verdict on the four U.S. Servicemen of USS Essex for alledgedly raping ‘Nicole’ in Subic last November of 2005. After a little more than one year of trial and countless controversies and issues regarding the case, the RTC of Makati acquitted three (3) of the accused and found LCP Daniel Smith, the prime suspect, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and meted a penalty of reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment) and ordered to pay the victim Php 100,000.00 in Moral and Compensatory Damages.
This case has the making of becoming a landmark case of U.S. Servicemen accused of Rape and tried in a local court. Justice may have been (half) served for Nicole and not served at all for Smith. It is still a long battle between the two parties and it will be the Supreme Court that will ultimately decide on the matter. It is a fight almost done for Nicole and a new one for Smith.
For Nicole, my utmost admiration for your courage and unwavering faith in the justice system and Philippine law. In the end, may justice be truly served!
See a video of the dispositive portion of the Decision in the next page:
Postcript: After the Court declared that LCP Daniel Smith shall in the meantime be detained at the Makati City Jail, Nicole was seen to have jumped from her seat out of joy. However, the Decision is clear that pending agreement on his detention under the Visiting Forces Agreement, he will remain at the Makati City Jail.
Related Post: There are Supporters for Daniel Smith!