Press Release
February 11, 2009


Independent senator and judicial reforms advocate Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan hailed the Supreme Court ruling to place convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith under Philippine custody in accordance with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Smith was convicted of raping a 23-year-old Filipino woman inside the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales, and was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 4, 2006. He was subsequently detained at the Makati City jail.

However, Smith was transferred to the US Embassy less than a month after his conviction, upon an agreement made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney.

In a decision made today, however, the

Supreme Court ruled that Smith be placed under the custody of the Philippine authorities, canceling the agreements between Romulo and Kenney and affirming the constitutionality of the VFA.

As of this writing, the United States Embassy is still seeking legal advice from Washington regarding the Supreme Court ruling.

Kiko exhorted the United States government to respect the sovereignty of the Philippines.

"We call on the United States government to respect Philippine sovereignty on this matter," Kiko said. "Let us act as co-equal states and abide by each other's laws."

"Ultimately, we call on the United States to respect the Supreme Court ruling just as we would respect the laws and institutions of the United States government," Kiko reiterated.

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