Press Release
March 18, 2009

Pia: Don't crucify Nicole

Senator Pia Cayetano today expressed disappointment over the sudden decision of 'Nicole' to recant her testimony and clear American Serviceman Corporal Lance Daniel Smith of the crime of rape.

"It's the biggest letdown because Nicole's case involves not only the pursuit of justice by a woman whose rights have been violated, but also of an entire people's assertion of sovereignty before the world's biggest superpower, the United States."

But Cayetano appealed on the public to refrain from blaming Nicole even if she decided to accept money and migrate to the US in exchange for clearing Smith.

"The issue here is not Nicole, but on the Arroyo government's conscious failure to assert its justice system and sovereignty. I won't join others who are quick to crucify Nicole. I myself do not agree with it, but I respect her decision."

"Who are we to judge her reasons for backing out? Who are we to blame her for losing faith in the justice system when all along, the justice secretary has been lawyering for her violator instead? Long before Nicole decided to back out, her government has already sold her case."

"Was she bribed or pressured? We wouldn't know. But what we know is that her government has abandoned her from day one. Throughout the trial and even after Smith's conviction, her government has not been protecting her."

"When it was the VFA itself that was put on trial, her government scrambled to defend the agreement despite the serious legal and constitutional questions that were raised against it," stressed Cayetano, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice and President of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

"President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez must be the happiest people in the world right now, aside from Daniel Smith. They can rejoice all they want, but Filipinos know the truth."

"I am all praises for Nicole's lawyer, Atty. Evelyn Ursuja, and the women's groups that valiantly pursued this case despite all the adversities. There's still hope for the country."

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