Stop Nicole-bashing, denounce VFA and Philippine justice system — Gabriela solon

Mar. 23, 2009

Stop Nicole-bashing, denounce VFA and Philippine justice system — Gabriela solon

Gabriela Women’s Party-list Representative Luzviminda Ilagan made an appeal to stop blaming Nicole for her recantation on the rape case against Daniel Smith, who was convicted in December 2006. Ilagan said 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 Nicole’s new sworn statement 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 by 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. Evalyn Ursua made others believe that Nicole let go of the cause she had fought for years with the militant and progressive organizations.

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.

Ilagan reminded that, 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 as it was and many people would not have seen how lopsided the provisions are in favor of the US military personnel.

The Gabriela solon also 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. It should serve as a challenge to other victims of violence, especially in the hands of American

soldiers during Balikatan exercises.” Ilagan added.

Together with other militant organizations, Ilagan and the Gabriela Women’s Party-list vowed to fight for the abrogation of the VFA. #

For reference:

Representative Luzviminda C. Ilagan 0920-9213221

Lorie Ann A. Cascaro (Public Information Officer) 0920-9523463

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