SC should investigate Nicole’s retraction — Gabriela Party

Mar. 29, 2009

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) joined concerned citizens and representatives of women’s and people’s organizations as they filed a special petition for the Supreme Court to investigate the circumstances of the alleged execution of the sworn statement by Nicole on March 12, 2009 and the disclosure of a draft Court of Appeals (CA) decision on Smith’s acquittal.

GWP Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said the Court of Appeals should not be influenced by any means in its decision on Smith’s appeal, especially by Nicole’s alleged sworn statement. “In the first place, such document does not show any ‘recantation’ at all. It cannot change the verdict of finding Smith as guilty of rape ‘beyond reasonable doubt’,” she said.

Cristina Palabay, Gabriela Women’s Party secretary-general, one of the petitioners, said that the release in the media of the draft ponencia of retired CA appellate court Justice Dizon is suspect.

Is this meant to set the stage for a possible CA acquittal of Smith? Following the circumstances regarding Nicole’s alleged sworn statement and the delay in the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling on the custody of Smith, there are more reasons for the public to cast serious doubts on the integrity of the whole process, Palabay said.

Among the petitioners are Nicole’s former lawyer Evalyn G. Ursua, Atty. Harry Roque Jr., Gabriela, GWP, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Ecumenical Women’s Forum, former senator Leticia Ramos Shahani, and social activists Mo. Mary John Mananzan OSB, Teresita Ang See and Nina Lim Yuzon, in the representation of the People of the Philippines.

Their petition highlighted the seriously disturbing timing and the circumstances of the so-called recantation, describing that Nicole’s counsel, Atty. Evalyn Ursua, was officially dismissed on March 16, 2009. However, Nicole’s affidavit was executed on March 12, five days before Ursua’s knowledge about the termination of her legal services.

The petitioners believe that the filing of the March 12 sworn statement by Smith’s lawyers was obviously meant to influence the resolution of Smith’s appeal by the CA.

In addition, the petitioners describe the CA’s disclosure of the draft on Smith’s acquittal after the media projection of Nicole’s “recantation”, as improper and prejudicial to the judicial process and outcome. They say the people’s right to due process with respect to the appeal was violated since Nicole had already been prejudged as having recanted, which is most untrue, and the public opinion against her certainly has a severe psychological effect on the justices of the CA who are now publicly expected to come out with an acquittal.

For reference:

Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan (0920-9213221)

Cristina Palabay, Secretary-General (0917-5003879)

Lorie Ann Cascaro, Public Information Officer (0920-9523463)

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