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Mar 19

The Long View: Victim of circumstance

The Long View
Victim of circumstance

By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:33:00 03/19/2009

HER affidavit caused a sensation. Even without paying heed to Evalyn Ursua’s allegation that the notary public before whom the affidavit was formalized belonged to the opposing party’s law firm, anyone reading the affidavit signed by “Nicole” can see how it serves Daniel Smith’s legal purposes. And so the best that can be said concerning the affidavit’s first nine points is that they bring up the very reasons lawyers say the courts tend to discount secondary affidavits like this one – it brings up too many questions, raises too many possibilities concerning motives, all of which serve to actually strengthen the value of actual testimony given under oath in open court.

But there are two portions of the affidavit that struck me as possibly highly revealing about Nicole’s true feelings both before and after her rape case made her a household name.

The first is the last sentence of item 10 in her affidavit: “When people gathered around me at the seawall, everyone seemed to have drawn the conclusion that I was raped except for one who called me a bitch.”

The second is point 11: “Based on the account of SBMA police, I was very hesitant to board the mobile police car that brought me to the headquarters for investigation. I was so confused and the first thing that entered my mind was how would my mother and boyfriend react if they learn that I was last seen with Daniel Smith and that a condom was seen on my pants after Daniel Smith left the van? I was scared of losing not only my American boyfriend but the chance of living in the United States. In fact, I did not immediately tell my boyfriend that I was raped by Daniel Smith. All I said was that something bad happened to me.”

The first points to a process that began the moment those American servicemen kicked her out of the van. Her countrymen immediately began passing judgment upon her, and the verdict would only be that she had been victimized, or that she was a floozy. Neither verdict left her with the option of salvaging her self-respect, because both verdicts opened her up to essentially the kind of malicious scrutiny that had always been there, and of which she was surely aware, but had previously preferred to shrug off. While many women surely shared her enthusiasms, and many young people displayed similarly reckless abandon in seeking companionship and fun, any misadventures get turned into a morality tale.

Filipinos of an older generation used to warn their daughters of the dangers of being too enthralled by GI’s, saying “Hanggang pier ka na lang.” Behind that statement surely lies many other Nicoles, abandoned under circumstances ranging from the truly heart-breaking to the utterly degrading. But always, the essential assumption is there: not only of the uncouth, predatory foreign male, but the gullible, weak, or worse, mercenary Filipina; and always, the elders of both sexes prepared to respond to any eventuality with “I warned you, but you wouldn’t listen;”

Which is exactly what her story became: a morality tale, but one deprived of a victim who, by the standards of her community, both local and national, could be considered truly innocent. From the very start, the question of whether she was raped got bogged down in public opinion being divided on whether her behavior prior to, and during, her encounter with Smith was relevant, or not. Never mind if legally and even morally, her behavior was irrelevant to determining if there had been the crime of rape or not.

Shunted aside was the event that, up to now, with or without her recantation, and whatever the reasoning of Smith or his lawyers, has stood up as genuinely true, and therefore, unquestionably a fact: she was thrown out of a van, disheveled and undressed, and with a condom providing undeniable proof of coitus having taken place, under consensual circumstances or not. This fact alone should have led to a general hue and cry condemning the servicemen and to a dressing-down of the American commander by Filipino officials.

The tragedy is that she had to bow to a public that only offered her the option of being a victimized whore, the publicity of the case meaning that her family could no longer shrug off as innuendo the dark mutterings of those who’d been passing judgment on her all along. More to the point, her American boyfriend (and all future servicemen she’d encounter) might consider her permanently damaged goods.

We know the choice she made: to fight. We know her cause was taken up by many, even as many others viewed her cause with hostility. What we now know is that the ultimate cause of her lawyer and many who rallied around her – severing ties with the United States, consigning the RP-US alliance to the dustbin of history – was not her cause, and that furthermore that cause does not seem to have impressed either her or her family, much as they went along with the rhetoric in the beginning.

I’ve heard it argued that we, as a people, are less concerned with actual morality and are obsessed, instead, with saving face. What if Nicole’s real concern was to somehow save face, if only partially? Or what if justice for her was not in what transpired in her coital encounter with Smith, but with how it ended? There is no crime called dumping a naked person out of a van, no means of seeking compensation for the public seeing you treated as a LBFM (Little Brown Fucking Machine), as one American website refers to Filipinas. The only assurance of a semblance of recovering her dignity, never mind justice, may have been to claim rape.

The other possibility, indeed, what the justice system has concluded, is that rape took place, but to her, the crime was always about the perpetrator and not the country he served, and where she’s finally gone to live.

34 comments

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  1. Carl

    For too long, Filipinos have been beguiled by the American Dream. For many, they would do almost anything to get the chance to live in America. And it’s mostly because we don’t have a level playing field. If you’re not among the elite, opportunities are very scarce here.

    I wonder, though, how the current economic crisis in the U.S. will affect this mindset in the future?

  2. Leytenian

    great blog manolo.. i miss your site. I was abused by DJB at FV. LOL 🙂 i am seeking shelter.

  3. hector_olympus

    “hanggang pier ka na lang”

    in her case, it isn’t.

    america, here she comes.

  4. TheEQualizer

    Manolo:

    You are putting too much enphasis on the “Retraction Affidavit”.Do you really believe she wrote that???

  5. mlq3

    EQ, not all of it, and possibly, not even any of it, but enough of it had to be written with her past history and statements in mind to make it semi-plausible. the last part of point 10 and point 11 all seem in accordance with what is known and said about her and her own statements to the press.

  6. Madonna

    Hi leytenian!

    LOL, same here. At least with Manolo, even if we disagree with him, it is never a bruising experience.

    If we were to go by RTC decision, other evidence such as the medico-legal report aside from the testimony of Nicole had been given weight, all giving credence to her tale.

    You have to make count in here the mentality of how a woman views it. A victim of rape, in a judgmental society such as ours, as you had correctly pointed out, the first reflex is to be silent and just let it pass. Rape is the only crime when shame is more attendant to the victim, rather than the perpetrator.

    But Nicole opted to fight it out, so plausibility-wise, she was telling the truth, because what would she gain for her to let the whole world know about it — but more condemnation, more judgment — all the lurid personal details of who she is, that she has indeed been the typical Filipino woman all too agog with getting an American husband. She gained little sympathy as far as her person was concerned after pursuing the case. In fact, practically the entire country has judged her as that kind of woman, close to a whore. The main question was if a rape took place, regardless of the personality of the victim (the case is pretty close to what Sara Tobias played by Jodie Foster in The Accused had gone through). So, we fell in line with what the RTC decided.

    It’s the same classic problem that hounds rape victims: did she ask for it?

    I don’t condemn here at all for choosing to opt out and to “recant”. Who knows what pressures she had been under.

  7. amee

    hi manolo.

    great entry. clarified a few details that were unclear to me before reading your post.

  8. TheEQualizer

    Raul Manglapus’ tenure as Foreign Affairs Secretary was overshadowed by a remark he made during a Senate hearing on the rape of Filipina domestics in Kuwait during the 1990 Iraqi invasion.
    He quipped, to general outrage, that” if rape were inevitable, one should relax and enjoy it.”

  9. DJB

    Aw C’mon Madonna, Leytenian,
    All I did was ask you not to cry like a baby. Or was it my calling your position “unjust” and “unfair” that now here I find you crying on Manolo’s shoulder, bawling your eyes out, making me look like some kind of ogre. At least I never use profanity, like you do. I never use the “F” word on commenters like you did. With all caps pa! It’s really worse hearing major cuss words from the female sex, and even if I am a man, I do have feelings that can be hurt. Oh Manolo, you should hear these two talk. It’d make a sailor on the beagle blush.

  10. Hernan M. Hormillosa, L.M.S.W.

    i have seen hasty, unreflected, unfair condemnations of victim/survivor Nicole which has prompted me to respond, to wit:

    i’d like to offer Nicole moral support as a sexual abuse survivor’s advocate, having treated patients through the lens of a (psycho)therapist in an outpatient clinic over time. councilor jc de los reyes of olongapo advised that his friend, dr. boyet ortiz, medico legal officer of jlg olongapo memorial hospital testified to forensic evidence of rape in court. Nicole certainly would have recurrent nightmares, among other emotional challenges, as a rape survivor with PTSD, a life-long mental illness directly resulting from such abuse. were the pesos 100k + u.s. visa reward a cheap trick forced on her during her ” honeymoon stage ” when survivors are susceptible to deceitful reconciliation efforts by perpetrators of abuse or their agents? this explains why rihanna sang a duet with c. brown after she almost died from alleged choking. statistics show domestic/sexual violence victims reconcile an average of 6X to 7X with abusers before they finally let go for good. i pray that critics will take back their harsh judgments on her. she has suffered enough. she needs to start over. i admire her courage… i feel sad when victims are blamed…

    …. when the justice system has terribly, scandalously failed them… her retraction does not take away the horrible crime committed on her as a human being and the denigration of her dignity as a woman and Filipino.

    Nicole’s retraction does not take away the forensic evidence of dr. ortiz pointing to rape, a public crime. how ironic that mr. jalosjos, a remorseless convicted rapist, has been released at the same time that rape survivor Nicole has been vilified by just about the majority, including the supposed prosecutors of justice who have turned out to be mr. smith’s unabashed defense now. now people also vilify nicole for accepting Pesos 100,000… if it were in the u.s. or any developed country, their justice system would have awarded her tens of thousands of dollars in material and moral damages, if not $100,000, instead of pesos 100,000, in compensation – on top of real jail time for mr. smith. poor nicole…. the katawanes ( getting 30 percent on contracts? )go scot-free while she is painted as the devil. God bless her. someday she will get her rightful due. ” the justice of the gods grinds slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine..”

  11. John

    I think many of the posters have missed the PRIMARY issue involved in the case.

    If “Nicole” had gone to a bar frequented by young Philippine military men and left with 4 of them in a van. Then claimed rape their never would have been a a court case.

    United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

    …the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

  12. Miguk

    I always thought there was something iffy about this case. Frankly, how many rapists take the time to don a condom prior to committing that violent offense? Was there advantage taken? Perhaps. Was there poor judgement? Undoubtebly. Was there rape?

  13. BrianB

    Hernan, how can you distinguish in a psychoanalytic procedure, acute humiliation from rape? Women, from my own experience, are not people you scorn carelessly.

    The point of view of rape victim shouldn’t be ignored but going to jail for a rape you didn’t commit? Have you no sympathy for men?

  14. J_AG

    Time line and the fact that she was obviously high when she was carried out of the club.

    It is obvious she was sober when she was dropped off. How long was she with the GI’s?

    The first is the last sentence of item 10 in her affidavit: “When people gathered around me at the seawall, everyone seemed to have drawn the conclusion that I was raped except for one who called me a bitch.”

  15. Madonna

    DJB,

    LOL. Get your story straight. It was not in all caps. Sus. Shocked ka ba? Never heard a woman cuss? And I wasn’t cussing you, I cussed out of an expression. And I only did it once for which yours truly apologized to Nick, Editor of FV and for which I put in record that it was out of unjust and unfair provocation. Don’t sound like you’ve been victimized because a woman cussed. You attacked first. And it was not the first time you used that tactic of sweeping accusation. Hardly just and fair. That’s my point.

    LOL, you don’t have to gossip how leytenian and I talk, Manolo Quezon knows how I talk, afterall I’ve been a commenter here for two years na.

    If leytenian and I hurt your feelings, then sorry na po. Our egos should be the least of our concerns when apparently we are tackling issues of “importance”.

    Manolo,

    Pardon for this out-of-topic intrusion.

  16. ricelander

    My opinion is there is no rape. Just two young people with overflowing libido having the hots for one another who lost all their inhibitions because of alcohol and went all the way. Only, something somewhere went wrong.

    I could be wrong.

    You wonder, what could have been had Nicole been brought home properly.

    Rape is wrong. To be accused of rape wrongly also is.

    The other thing is are we not perhaps overdoing it? When the risk of being accused of and convicted of rape is high, so does too the risk on boys with going out with girls? When boys and men would rather be with their dolls and gadgets, uh! or with their fellow males, shouldn’t that be cause for worry? One time a read an item on an adult mag where a female columnist was lamenting meron pa bang mga lalake? I almost replied on my own, “Ubos na, buti nga sa inyo!” Wonder if we are not indeed effeminating our males unwittingly.

  17. supremo

    Raped or not

    WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES NICOLE!

  18. manuelbuencamino

    A word of caution: If you have to carry a woman out of a bar so you can have sex with her it’s going to be pretty hard to convince anyone that she was sober enough to consent, You could be accused of rape when she sobers up. And you will most likely be found guilty. So avoid first time sex encounters with anyone who has had too many drinks or drugs. You just don’t know how they will feel when they wake up.

  19. d0d0ng

    Like Supremo, WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES NICOLE!

  20. rego

    LOL….. befor we know it, Nicole and smith is already dating here.

    But I do agree with Benign0 in FV, that nicole and cory just wasted people time….

  21. ricelander

    Rego,ok yan. Saw their pictures side by side on Inq. Tingin ko, bagay. Both lookers.

  22. ricelander

    Paano nga kaya kung magkatuluyan, ano?

  23. John

    If as the guard stated she was carried out. Did he ask if they even knew her? If not why wasn’t he considered an accessory? Oh right he was a local.

  24. DJB

    Everyone please read the Law (RA 8505) Rape Protection Law:

    Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998.

    Section 5. Protective Measures. – At any stage of the investigation, prosecution and trial of a complaint for rape, the police officer, the prosecutor, the court and its officers, as well as the parties to the complaint shall recognize the right to privacy of the offended party and the accused. Towards this end, the police officer, prosecutor, or the court to whom the complaint has been referred may, whenever necessary to ensure fair and impartial proceedings, and after considering all circumstances for the best interest of the parties, order a closed-door investigation, prosecution or trial and that the name and personal circumstances of the offended party and/or the accused, or any other information tending to establish their identities, and such circumstances or information on the complaint shall not be disclosed to the public.

    Who is the victim of this Rape Case?

  25. Carl

    Whether it was rape, consensual sex or sex with a person who wasn’t in the proper state of mind, this sordid affair tells us that Nicole was in love. In love with the American dream and being a part of it.

    After this nightmare, I hope she finds her dream. Not the best of times, though.

  26. Leytenian

    well djb, I feel more secure with manolo. 🙂 LOL

    and what’s this RA 8505?

    if such law RA 8505 will be challenged in court, it may be unconstitutional because the ” government of the people , by the people and for the people” may argue that the RAPE case has caused disturbance of public order and tranquility in the first place. The media or bloggers may appear to be the victims of the RAPE case as they are also members “of the people, by the people and for the people”. Remember ” People of the Philippines Versus Smith”

    Authorities in charge of public order and peace can be held liable for not exercising their duties to act and to prosecute any individuals who illegally exposed the REAL name of Nicole from the very beginning. Two years of inaction from this illegal activity is a strong evidence of intentional failure to act or willfull failure to act- To act was to implement RA 8505.

    what comes around goes around. That’s why folks, if our role models are not leading right, the people will always be mentally raped. 🙂

    hi madonna, thanks for understanding my side. It’s very difficult to EDUCATE DJB 🙂 I don’t know what happen to him, really? He used to be one of my favorites. He was really sounding very intelligent at first. I hope he can maintain that around women 🙂 I asked him lately if we could be friends again but I’m also glad that he has some pride. He totally ignored my request. LOL 🙂

  27. mlq3

    however, you have an inevitable clash because in the case of accused american servicemen, it requires action by both countries and you can’t keep that quiet, e.g. similar cases in japan…

  28. Madonna

    Leytenian,

    LOL. We like Manolo, noh? Apir!

  29. Jan

    seems to me, smith have always claimed innocence since day 1.
    ..and nicole has had different stories all the time..
    have you also considered that maybe smith was the victim of all of these all along..?

  30. Leytenian

    Smith could never be a victim. Rape can be very difficult to prove because it will always require that the victim effectively consented. This case is a no brainer. Three circumstantial evidence are more than enough to suffice the crime of rape. I have agreed the initial decision of the lower makati court.
    1. Physical Force is a strong evidence that there was no effective consent. Nicole’s medical report suggested injuries such as bruises on the arms and legs. Bruises in medical term cannot form from normal bodily pressure. Bruises can form when one is resisting or someone is applying force more than normal. Lawyer JCC said that her injury could have been self inflicted by Nicole to make her case solid. But for a reasonable woman like me, the cat and madonna and who else are women here? It is not normal for me to self inflict my body regardless of my state of mind before and after. Self infliction cannot be done by any reasonable woman unless a woman is insane. Meaning a reasonable person even a hooker will never do it. The self infliction cannot be used as a valid defense.

    2. Nicole was intoxicated and there’s no way that she was capable of fully informing SMITH. Even if we assume that she voluntarily said yes to have sex with SMITH will still not bar conviction because a person under intoxication can be considered not conscious of her act.

    3. Intimidation by way of threats- Physical injury is also a good indication that Nicole was intimidated thru force. She was unable to get away from a stronger man.

    many interpreted this case so wrongly. many women in this country also have no clue that this whole case actually affects our real value regardless of the outcome. where’s the women’s advocate of this country? Nicole needed the support of women and yet many may have blamed her instead – siya pa ang na rape, siya pa ang mali..
    what’s wrong with the people of this country.
    Rape is a crime against our PUBLIC LAW. it is a threat to our society. and yet the people who should command to apply the law are the first one who breaks the law.

    Useless Justice system

  31. UP n grad

    to leytenian: what should the courts do about the “Nicole” affidavit of a few days ago?

    What should courts do about testimonies?

  32. Leytenian

    UP n ,

    as I have explained at FV, Rape is a crime against the republic. Nicole is the witness and the prosecutor in behalf of the people initiate the case. This is not a civil case where the victim initiate the suit thus the case : Republic of the Philippines versus Smith. Nicole’s testimony may not be admissible in court as a defense because it’s not the PROXIMATE CAUSE OR ACTUAL CAUSE ” of the offense unless Nicole is NOT given privilege to show up to on sheduled hearings. It will then affect the conviction of the appeal by lowering the number of years or detaining the prisoner to its liking but I’m not the judge of this country. If an acquittal scenario will occur instead then the actual victim is not only Nicole but the whole country.

    Manolo can be right that there are circumstantial consequence that Nicole may have considered personally prior to publishing her testimony. It could have been that she is tired of all this BS plus the brainwash and advice. That to me is overwhelming especially at her age. Who in the right mind would wait for things to happen at an almost 3 years old case. The time wasted actually confirms how corrupt the Justice system is. It cannot prosecute or make a decision at a reasonable time . Or it may be that the prosecutor could be buying time because of other ” REASONS” which we all know are all corrupt 🙂

    This country has no political will. There’s always something not good.

  33. UP n grad

    This country has no political will.
    — by leytenian
    — (could have been said by benign0)

    And witness Parad (holding European hostages) insisting (and getting appeased) for government troops to retreat….

    while another group of Muslim thugs just asking for ransom and not insisting “troops out of Jolo!!!!” — because all they have are Filipino teacher hostages.

  34. Carlo Masajo

    I think that telling a lie for you to fulfill your dreams is not excusable. Nicole did exactly that. That woman used the institutions of this country crying rape when, in reality, she liked what happened. What she did was unforgivable.

    Daniel Smith must be freed. From the start I kinda believed that Nicole was not raped. And true enough, she wasn’t. She used so many people, and encarcerated an innocent man in the naqme of a green card. We Filipinos should be ashamed of what she did for it portrays the extent of what we can do in the name of a US Visa. Poor Nicole, Poor Filipino people.

    If Nicole cheated on us, no wonder our politicians do as well.

    Peace. I am such an admirer, Manolo. Please take time to read my blog.

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