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Gabriela Solon Calls to Stop Nicole-bashing, Further Denounces VFA and Phil. Justice System
Press Release Posted on March 19th, 2009.
REP. LUZ C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Lorie Ann A. Cascaro (Public Information Officer) 0920-9523463
Gabriela Women's Party-list Representative Luzviminda Ilagan called to stop putting the blame on Nicole with her recantation on the rape case against Daniel Smith who was convicted in December 2006, saying that Nicole-bashing could not conceal the loopholes of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the failure of the Philippine justice system to carry out the terms of the conviction.
Since the publication of the new sworn statement of Nicole on March 12, criticism aired against her has divided public opinion. It has been said that she betrayed and failed to live up to the expectation of her supporters for accepting the payment from Daniel's party. Some commentators said that all she needed was a permanent US visa.
Nicole's flight to the US “for good” and the termination of the legal services of Atty. Ursua made others believe that Nicole let go of the cause she had fought for years with the militant and progressive organizations.
Rep. Ilagan, on the other hand, said that these statements digress from the real issues at hand. Nicole's recantation, according to her, exposed the reality that the Philippine justice system can not work to provide protection to its own citizens and to pursue the implementation of a judgment that has already been rendered. She further denounced the Arroyo administration remaining servile to the interests of the US government.
Furthermore, Ilagan said had it not been for Nicole's courage to face the court and to testify against her rapist, the VFA would not have been scrutinized further revealing how lopsided the provisions are in favor of the US military personnel.
Also, the Gabriela solon pointed out that Nicole has the right to decide what's best for herself, considering all the pressures she experienced and her disappointment over the inutile justice system of the current regime. However, Ilagan said the ruling of the Court of Appeals should be awaited.
"Nicole's decision deserves the public's understanding in the light of what she had personally gone through. Coming out to claim justice against rape is the bravest decision she had done that must challenge other victims of violence, especially in the hands of American soldiers during Balikatan exercises." Ilagan added.
Together with other militant organizations who continue to denounce the US-RP VFA, Rep. Ilagan and the Gabriela Women's Party-list vowed to fight for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement. #