US Marines' Gang-rape of a Filipina: A Violation of a Woman’s Right and a Nation’s Sovereignty

On December 4, the Philippine Court will release a verdict on the following four US Marine “visiting troops” charged with gang-raping a 22-year old Nicole and a fresh graduate from a Catholic University: Lance Corporals Daniel Smith (principal accused), Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier. The latter three were reportedly at the scene cheering while the principal suspect was raping Nicole inside a cruising van at Subic Bay Freeport, which used to be part of the biggest US military naval base in the last Philippines, last Nov. 1, 2005.

Witnesses saw how Nicole was lifted from the van “like a pig” and left on pavement with her pants and panty down on her knee, and a used condom thrown at her. The defense lawyer, typical of other rape cases, argued that US Marines engaged in “consensual sex” and therefore there was no crime to speak of. During the hearing, a forensic expert proved that contusions on both sides of labia minora were indicative of a forceful entry of a blunt object. During cross-examination that is re-traumatic for a rape victim, Nicole testified that she resisted but felt helpless, as she was drunk. Adding insult to injury, Nicole was accused of being a “prostitute” (not that prostitutes can be raped) out to lure a white American soldier for an easy entry to the land of “milk and honey”.

Right from the start, the Philippine government through Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, who tried to downgrade the case of three Marines until opposed by two judges, has not only shown insensitivity to the rape victim but ironically was aiding the accused and showing its utter subservience to the US by handing the CUSTODY of the US marines to the US government.

This sheds light on another dimension of the rape case: the US marines who are in the Philippines by virtue of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) have violated the 1986 Philippine Constitution, which states “that no foreign troops will be allowed in any part of the archipelago for combat purposes.” No matter how you read the Constitution, the presence of the US “visiting troops” whether they are for “military exercise” or on “rest and recreation” program clearly violates the fundamental law of the Philippines. What make things worse are the reports of US marines clearly participating with their Philippine counterparts in military combat operations supposedly in an effort to fight “terrorists.”

The defeat of the Republicans in the last election has clearly shown the US public's utter disapproval of its government's foreign policy most especially the “war on terror.” The Philippines, regarded, as the so-called “second-front” is not spared from the brutalities of the war waged against innocent civilians and against women.

The case of Nicole is simply one of the more than 2,000 criminal cases against the US troops who have been in the Philippines in the last 100 years. To date, not a single US soldier has ever been convicted.

We demand that the US goverment respect the morals, culture and basic human rights of the people and most especially the women of other countries. We also demand that just as the US public had shown outrage over foreign policy on the war against Iraq, the US must honor the sovereignty of the Filipino people and immediately pull out the US troops there.

Justice for Nicole!
US troops out of the Philippines now!

Initial Signatories:

Rev. Diane Schmitz
*United Church of Christ Minister
Seattle Washington

Cory Jong
*High School Teacher
Los Angeles

Dorli Rainey
*Veterans for Peace (VFP)
Seattle Washington

Beth P. Dollaga
*BC Committee
For Human Rights in the Philippines
Vancouver Canada

Christine Araquel
*Chair KmB-USA
Los Angeles

Maru Mora Villalpando
*Washington Community Action Center
Seattle Washington

Muna Coobtee
*Free Palestine Alliance(FPA)/
ANSWER LA Steering Committee

Erin Fanning
*Comite Oxaqueno Seattle
Seattle Washington

Prof. Nenita P. Domingo

Linda Abad
*Health and Legal Coordinator
Damayan Migrant Workers Association
New York, NY

Fe koons
*PAGE, Carson
Los Angeles

Atty. Bernice Funk
Seattle Washington

Emilyn Chan
*Samahang Pilipino UCLA
Community Coordinator

Maria Lourdes Nocedal
*KmB Kabataan Maka - Bayan
( Pro- People Youth)
San Francisco California

Alexis Gaviola
*Bravo High School
Los Angeles, CA

Sophia Agtarap
*Beacon UMC Church & Society Coordinator
Seattle Washington

Alejandra Sanchez
Outreach Worker
*People’s CORE
(People’s Community Organization
for Reform and Empowerment)
Los Angeles California

Mona T. Han
*Seattle Burma Roundtable
And US Campaign of Burma

Cynthia Antonio
Los Angeles

Amanda Vender
*Network in Solidarity with the
People of the Philippines (NISPOP)
New York , NY

Jan Strout
*Co-chair, US Women and Cuba Collaboration

Zara Marie Bukirin
Public Allies, Los Angeles

Riya Ortiz
*Coordinator Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan
New York, NY

Jane Cutter
* Coordinator ANSWER -Seattle
( Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)

Jennifer Ocampo
Los Angeles,CA

Monica Ly
Culver City California

Anne Lo
Los Angeles, CA

Cheryl Zarate
Los Angeles,CA

Rosemarie Robles
Los Angeles,CA

Sheryl Salonga
Carlson ,CA

Christine Corpus
Riverside, CA

Ramona Soriano
Los Angeles, CA

Violy De Guzman
*AJLPP Coordinator - Seattle

* for personal id only