The Smith verdict

Around noontime news rooms got wind of the verdict: American serviceman Daniel Smith would be convicted while the rest of the accused would be acquitted. The news broke a short time ago.

Tonight, the House of Representatives is scheduled to amend its rules and do a Smith to the Constitution. See the proposed rules and the actual constitutional amendments to be initially proposed:
Rules Of Constituent Assembly

They contain what the legal fight will be about in the weeks to come, the first major case that will confront the next Chief Justice. Whether they will manage it tonight remains to be seen -but this week promises to be eventful, anyway. I’ve been told that in the past, the highest attendance accomplished by the House leadership was along the lines of 165 representatives. They will need 190++ tonight. There’s some sniffing around the President’s proclamation of a state of national calamity, based on the suspicion that it permits the useful juggling of funds to inspire a positive outcome, though this suspicion can’t be stated too boldly, for obvious reasons.
My column for today is Frustrated idealists.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

71 thoughts on “The Smith verdict

  1. thanks for publishing the Proposed Rules of the Unicameral ConAss MLQ3. For everyone’s cut and paste convenience I have typed it up:

    RULE I

    Section 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members.

    Section 2. A constituent assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution may be called by three-fourths of all Members of Congress in a resolution adopted for this purpose.

    Section 3. When proposing amendments to the Constitution, Members of Congress act, not as representatives and/or Senators, but as component elements of a constituent assembly exercising constituent power which is separate and distinct from legislative power.

    Section 4. A majority of all the Members of Congress sitting in a Constituent Assembly shall elect the following officers:

    (a) Presiding Officer
    (b) Deputy Presiding Officer
    (c) Majority Floor Leader
    (d) Secretary
    (e) Sergeant-at-arms

    Section 5. The foregoing officers shall exercise the powers and functions inherent to their respective offices.

    Section 6. The Presiding Officer shall appoint the staff of the secretariat.


    Section 7. A majority of all the Members of Congress shall constitute a quorum to conduct business in plenary session.


    Section 8. Any Member of Congress may introduce to the Plenary, through the Majority Floor Leader, proposed amendments to the Constitution either as individual amendments or package of amendments.

    Section 9. A majority of all the Members of Congress present shall decide whether an amendment shall be considered and voted upon individually or as a package of amendments.

    Section 10. The vote of three-fourths of all Members of Congress approving individual amendments or package of amendments shall be duly recorded in a roll-call vote.

    RULE V

    Section 11. The Presiding Officer shall certify and submit immediately to the Commission on Elections the approved proposed amendments for ratification in a plebiscite pursuant to Section 4 of Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution.


    Section 12. A vote of a majority of all the members of the Congress shall be necessary for the adoption of or amendment of these Rules.


    Section 13. The parliamentary practices of the Philippine Assembly, the House of Representatives, the Senate of the Philippines and the Batasan Pambansa shall be suppletory to these Rules.


    Section 14. These Rules shall take effect upon the date of their adoption.

  2. Is this in the form of a house bill? Then I suppose the rules have to go through the Senate and they have to vote on them. Separately. We’re still bicameral after all. 🙂

  3. With the majority of the incumbent lawmakers jumping aboard the Cha-Cha train, and most are presumed to do so in order to perpetuate themselves in power, I came up with this novel suggestion to test their sincerity of proposing a Charter for a long term interest and prosperity of the country as they all professed. A simple and not really a monumental sacrifice:

    Why not all incumbents make a pledge to disqualify themselves from running or holding office for the next Ten Years On the New Parliament as proposed in the New Charter? Too long, make it Five Years. No lesser… Any volunteer?

  4. ADOPTION OF THESE RULES Section 12. A vote of a majority of all the members of the Congress shall be necessary for the adoption of or amendment of these Rules.

    This provision of the proposed Rules of a Constituent Assembly is ambiguous. The “Simple Majority Vote of all the Members of the Congress” that it makes necessary to adopt or amend these Rules can be achieved in two different ways:

    (1) By a simple majority of all the Members of the Lower House AND a simple majority of all the Members of the Upper House. (voting separately); or,

    (2) By a simple majority of all the Senators and Representatives taken as single set of votes. (voting jointly).

    Such a procedural ambiguity is UNACCEPTABLE in a set of Proposed Rules, because the Rules are meant to fill in all the important gaps and ambiguities that may exist in the Constitution itself.

    So when all the Members of the Congress, get to debate these Rules, whether they end up voting jointly or separately, they should proposed to amend these rules so that it explicitly answers the question of how the Rules are to be adopted.

    Otherwise they are lousy rules–Insufficient in Substance for lack of precision and concreteness about the mechanics of how the Congress is to exercise its “Constituent Power.”

    These Rules do not say unambiguously HOW they are to be adopted!

    The Rules must state explicitly how they are to be adopted: by a simple majority of both Houses of the Congress, or not.

    They are useless for any purposes unless they do.

    From a purely formal parliamentary point of view, these Rules appear to be seriously flawed, just on this one essential ingredient of leaving a gaping undecidable question right in the heart of the Rules.

  5. If the rules do not explicitly state how it would be adopted, then it means that this rules cannot take effect. Are they doing this just for the heck of it or a token for documentation?

  6. Jeg,Jhay,

    Both Sections 1 and 2 of these Proposed Rules are likewise hopelessly AMBIGUOUS on the exact same score, and therefore, the definition of the Constituent Power and its exercise in Rule 1 is formally infirm based on the elementary mechanics of parliamentary Rule-making.

    The Three-fourths Majority Rule mandated in both of these two sections should explicitly state whether they mean to achieve such majority votes by having both Houses of the Congress vote separately or vote jointly. Leaving out both phrases and not choosing one is a sign of a guilty conscience and a resolve to stay with obscurantism, hoping against hope to get in under fog.

    Sections 1 and 2 are inutile as Rules, ab initio, because of an ineradicable ambiguity in them.

    They do not in other words, fulfill the PURPOSE of making Rules, which is to fill in the voids in the Constitution.

    Making more voids just doesn’t help things any.

    These Rules are trivially lame and impossible to implement as written.

    They are not unconstitutional per se. Just hopelessly inscrutable and therefore useless as Rules.

  7. How callous of these trapos to give priority to amend the rules of the house when the Bicol region deserves more attention. GNA is late in declaring a national calamity, we have been living in a state of calamity since she took over. The Quezon and Bicol tragedy is nothing compared to the one that is about to hit the country, its called the Cha-Cha Tragedy.

  8. Here is the annihilating observation:

    Sections 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 12 all speak of either a three fourths vote of all the members of the Congress or a simple majority vote of all the members o the Congress.

    But a plain reading of these Proposed Rules cannot resolve the issue of whether these voting majorities are to be achieved by both Houses of the Congress voting separately or voting jointly. Either interpretation is allowed by these Rules and choosing one over the other is a purely arbitrary choice.

    Therefore, like a man with two watches who does not know the time, these Rules settle nothing and are utterly without merit as Parliamentary Rules.

    They cannot be approved because they cannot be unequivocally interpreted. Ergo, they cannot be validly implemented without an arbitrary and grave abuse of discretion.

  9. mlq3, ‘Frustrated Idealist’ is another one of your particularly insightful columns. Last year, when i heard of Ramos’ proposal for Arroyo to abbreviate her term in favor of a unicameral parliament, i was initially in favor of his proposal. My thinking at that time was that even if it was an inferior form of democracy, it would at least spare us the instability of military power grabs brought about Gloria’s legitimacy problem. Subsequent discussions in the comment threads of your blog, particularly with Joselu, has led me to change my mind.

    Among the points i strongly agree with in your essay are the following:

    Where one stands regarding these questions of political form depends on how he/she views that large and unpredictable population known as ‘The People.’

    He” [the frustrated citizen] “tries to reverse that frustration by supporting politicians who “can get things done,” sooner rather than later, by whatever means necessary. In other words, exchanging idealism for the bluntest expression of the worship of power: The end justifies the means.

    Arroyo feeds on this frustration by cultivating the image of someone who can get things done. The less discerning and more cynical among the middle class and civil society crowd fall for this act.

    I also think a person’s advancing age is also positively correlated with one’s tendency to worship power. This is because a person tends to associate his own decline with the decline of everything else around him. The growing cynicism leads to a desperation that turns a former idealist into a Machiavellian. That is why Teddy Benigno towards the end of his life toyed with a junta, Tony Abaya supports one, and former freedom fighter Max Soliven supported Arroyo. Maybe they just have seen too much and with the accumulated frustrations, their democratic sensibilities had to give way.
    In contrast, you’re young enough to take into consideration ‘The Long View’.

  10. The use of the phrase “of all the Members of Congress” is a ploy.

    This is to sucker in a decision that questions these rules that will also lead to a possible ruling of the Constitutionality of the House move altogether.

  11. Its hard to say if Justice was done in the Subic rape case.

    I didn’t place much interest on the issue so I have little to go on the case except that time was winding down on “Nicole”. With only 1 year to decide on the case; time was not on her side.

    Smith also has time since the U.S. certainly won’t let this end here. The U.S. obviously will do everything within its power to help Smith clear himself.

    Nicole at least has the ability to cement her victory further on.

  12. Sen. Miriam Santiago was in the news again.

    Showing one and all why she is not fit to be a CJ much less a Justice of the Supreme Court.

    Too bad, I had already grown fond of the idea of her being the CJ with the most dissenting opinions.

    She would have had all 9 years to make them. (Unless she cuts it short and run for office again)

  13. i am familiar with the case, but i don’t follow the news that much. i just woke up when they showed a live feed from ABS-CBN. i just thought it was stupid of them to actually not bleep out the real name of “nicole”. i’m not that dense to not know it was her real name. so much for keeping her identity secret from the public.

  14. Everyone should be happy because this case was decided in just 1 year because of the VFA. Nicole should be happy that at least 1 was convicted although the other 3 are definitely accomplices in my opinion. This is American style justice. Someone has to take the blame. Status-seekers (Kano ang date ko last night!) should learn a lesson or two about this case.

  15. biankita said “i just thought it was stupid of them to actually not bleep out the real name of “nicole”. i’m not that dense to not know it was her real name. so much for keeping her identity secret from the public.”

    It is not just Stupid, But a Violation of a Standing Court Order. Now, let us see what the Court has to say about it. I have observed hundreds of similar cases where the court ordered protecting victims or accused identities (minor) and have not experienced any such “stupid violation” and ABS-CBN may get away with it. Until that order is lifted, it is still in effect…

  16. The supposedly “courageous’ decision convicting U.S. marine serviceman Daniel Smith could have been more credible had there been no radical demonstrations tending to influence the court. The noisy crowd with its screaming placards and banners demanding ‘justice” through nothing less than the conviction of the accused only served to put the court’s independence in serious doubt. Would the court have acted the way it did had there been no such demonstrations? Now, we would never know for sure because of the disingenuous, knee-jerk idea that justice could only be obtained by protest or mass actions, propaganda or “show of force”.

    In all fairness, the presiding judge would really have decided the case based on nothing but the admitted evidence and the law, no matter what. In that case, any attempt to influence the outcome of the trial would have been useless, stupid and contemptible. Otherwise, the whole search for justice would have been just be another political exercise.

  17. Bencard,

    Are you suggesting that had there been no demonstrations, the court would have decided otherwise, even “beyond reasonable doubt” just because of the absence of noise, and therefore becomes more credible? Wouldn’t that put the court’s integrity even in greater serious doubt? Damn if you do, damn if you don’t, eh? How is the court gonna decide then? To whose favor? Let’s take out the noise factor, the critical question remains: Did smith rape indeed her? Where, in the judge’s decision was it mentioned that other than the admitted evidence was the accommodation of the protestor’s noise considered in crafting the decision?

    The court has spoken. And you’re still making noise.

  18. I polled my friends: you think it was rape? I asked. No one had Nicole’s sympathy. I had encounters with drunk women, boy, they were hot, if you dreaded a suit, you’d be better off being gay.

  19. Bencard… One of the strongest noisemakers who attempted to influence the outcome of the trial was James Reuter, SJ.

  20. ricelander,

    so having encounters with DRUNK women makes it consensual? in the animal kingdom, they call it “preying”, an opportune time for predators to attack on its prey when its most vulnerable.

  21. […]While the pertinent provisions of the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 (the present) Constitution are identical, the very natures of the two assemblies under the two constitutions are not. The National Assembly under the 1973 Constitution being unicameral would have no choice but to vote jointly because for all intents and purposes it was just one assembly. It is not so as regards the present Congress under the 1987 Constitution, which is essentially composed of two houses or assemblies internally checking each other.

    The Congress under the present Constitution is no different than the Congress under the 1935 Constitution. Therefore when the 1987 Constitution does not specify how Congress shall vote when constituting itself as a constituent assembly for the purpose of proposing an amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution, it is simply assuming the obvious, that is, that it will vote as a bicameral body as in the 1935 Constitution and not as a unicameral assembly as in the 1973 Constitution.

    I have no access at this point to the debates among the commissioners who drafted the 1987 Constitution. But do those debates even matter if the people who ultimately approved the 1987 Constitution had in mind the structure of government under the 1935 that had served the country well rather than the discredited Marcos constitution of 1973 which they rejected?[…]

  22. Even if it were a consensual sex or even if the girl is a prostitute, doing it at the back of a van with three of your friends watching then leaving a girl half naked beside a street, is bad enough to be condemned by any society. This man just deserve to pay for his stupidity and will teach others a lesson.

  23. The first lesson for females is to avoid appearances of inviting a sexual encounter. Getting drunk is dangerous because inhibitions drop. A female whose behavior is agreement to groping, touching and foreplay is sending an invitation or consent to sexual intercourse.
    …”Just say no” should be way before groping/touching and foreplay even starts. “Saying no” after her panties have been pulled down can be just stupidly too late.

  24. Did the judge not believe the girl’s terstimony that the three other GIs cheered while they were doing the deed? Why were the 3 acquitted? If I rememeber correctly, the girl said one of the ‘cheerers’ was the ringleader.

  25. These 3 GIs should also be castigated even after their acquittal for allowing that incident to happen. They are soldiers and not ordinary citizens who should know better what is proper and what is not.

  26. Excerpt from…..

    Here’s where my one semester of Logic will come in handy.

    Smith is guilty of rape. Duplantis sat inside the van. Duplantis watched what Smith was doing. But, Smith was guilty of rape.

    So, Duplantis was watching a rape take place.

    Now. Tell me again why he was acquitted, when clearly the court agrees that Duplantis watched the rape and did nothing but sit there taking no liberty of stopping a crime from taking place.

  27. UPn Student, your advice, while practical in these environments, comes from a misogynistic point of view. It is the men of our society, not the women who should be taught a lesson about rape.

    “A lot has been said about how to prevent rape.

    Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn’t have long hair and women shouldn’t wear short skirts. Women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn’t dare to get drunk at all.

    Instead of that bullshit, how about:

    If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
    If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
    If a women is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
    If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
    If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
    If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
    If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
    If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
    If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
    If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
    If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
    If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.

    If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
    If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
    If your step-daughter is watching tv, don’t rape her.
    If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
    If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.

    If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
    If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and It’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.

    Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.

    Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
    Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
    Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
    Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
    Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.”


  28. ricelander,

    so having encounters with DRUNK women makes it consensual? in the animal kingdom, they call it “preying”, an opportune time for predators to attack on its prey when its most vulnerable.

    *, (how should I address you?)
    My point is: taking alcohol, or drugs, for that matter has its risks and responsibilities. Getting drunk could unleash the wild beast in many us. A cop who shoots at the stars with his gun when drunk can’t escape his bad behavior by invoking his condition. Wasn’t Nicole inviting for sex instead? They alone could know, for sure, but try listening in to Smith if you see a trace of untruth in his story. Between that and her blurry recollection of what happened, if this were not rape, who would you believe? If you were Smith in his age with that bloody mix of raging hormones and alcohol, how would you have fared? I am assuming of course that you’re a heterosexual boy or man who have once tried the wild nights of bad districts.

  29. Based on the evidence, the judge ruled that smith was guilty of rape, beyond any reasonable doubt. Period.

    Let’s just pray that pretty boy smith chooses to serve his sentence in a Philippine prison instead of an american one because when it’s his turn to get raped, and I have no doubt he will get raped because he is so young and pretty, he might as well get it from a little brown brother than from a six foot 250 pound ape with a 12-inch dick .

  30. I wonder when the rape of Nicole will ever end. Years from now she will still be reading her name in connection with US imperialism. We must rise above victimhood, not by mounting the stage of vindictiveness, but by seeing the logs in our own eye: those seven daily Filipino-on-Filipina rapes, those children in prisons mixed in with the adult inmates, our own inhumanity to our own. Americans abhor rape and injustice as much as we do.

  31. “Getting drunk could unleash the wild beast in many us. A cop who shoots at the stars with his gun when drunk can’t escape his bad behavior by invoking his condition.”

    ricelander, i believe that’s called aggravating circumstances.

    in my view, in smith’s case, taking advantage of nicole being drunk is no different from tying her down with duct tape — still rape.

  32. Looks like slingshots and ball bearings are being passed around the glass barangay. Let’s be careful we actually hit the Lone Superpower without too much ricocheting around.

    One thing good about the VFA, of the 2700 reported rapes of Pinays since Nov. 2005, there is at least one case that has reached a verdict in a Court of Law.

  33. I guess it’s a little like Luli Arroyo’s lil airport incident. Foreigners are not allowed to jump ahead of Filipinos in line. Only Filipinos are allowed to do that! How dare the US Marines rape our women?? Only Pinoys are allowed to do that and get away with it! And now they don’t want to be put in jails that aren’t fit even for Filipinos to be put in? Don’t they know that’s part of the punishment for rape? To be raped in turn by the adult inmates that are tired of all the child inmates we’ve mixed in with them? This will teach those US imperialists a lesson.

  34. cvj.. Be aware of the law. Your girlfriend or best friend’s niece may want to have sex only with a man who promised to marry her. Yet, if she is in a sexually-electric environment with groping and cuddling and touching and fooling around, and then penetration. If the contusions around her thighs were not severe enough, her regrets about the penetration may not be enough to convince the judge that the sexual encounter was not consensual.

  35. And damn you’re stupid if you do not tell your female relatives and acquaintances that they should not leave their drinks unattended……

  36. As for the killings in the Philippines:
    …an official of the Delegation of the European Commission (EC) to the Philippines said Tuesday that the political killings in the country are “more complex” than just being extrajudicial executions.
    Gabriel Munuera Viñals, head of the political, economic, trade, and public affairs section of the EC delegation, told reporters the killings cannot all be lumped as extrajudicial because they “point in different directions…that’s why we prefer to think of them in terms of being unexplained.”
    ..He said some of the killings may be explained by internal purges within the revolutionary movement, which is the government’s argument; those of journalists may be explained in terms of the local contexts in which these occur; and some by the involvement of state security and law enforcement forces.
    ..”The picture that one gets is complex [where] one cannot easily single out that the killings were perpetrated by one sector,” Viñals noted.
    Nonetheless, the state (GMA administration) has responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens (even assasinations by NPA against NPA or by gang-members against gang-members).

  37. .. GMA administration has responsibility to assure safety or find and convict the perpetrators when any citizen (Filipino or foreign) is killed/harmed/ injured while on Philippine territory).

  38. “nicole” nice title for a movie, don’t you think? I wonder if a movie about this subic incident would fly.

  39. Like I stated, I didn’t place much attention to the case so I really don’t have much knowledge on the evidence concerned.

    There is however an interesting piece and beyond that, that we must remember. That is the practice of “defensive driving”.

    Even though we may be “right”, it is foolish to push on being correct at the expense of life and limb.

    But beyond which even if we failed to apply “defensive driving”, must the court let the other side off the hook because we failed to apply “defensive driving”?

    So should a woman do this and that, should the court let anyone get his/her way with her?

  40. That’s true. Getting drunk is especially risky for women especially if inside a bar. When your inhibitions are down, your baser instincts forces its way to show itself, and sensuality or risque behavior may take over.

    Some suggested that that was actually what happened to the drunk Nicole: she flirted, kissed and later was actually necking and carousing with Smith. In a heightened state of passion, she eventually went out with him and continued their fun inside that van where she went all the way with him.

    What to me was the real fault of Smith was after doing it with her he didn’t even have the civility to pull her pants up and fix her apparel before dropping her off. He was such a barbaric brute to just throw her out the van, with her pants down and her clothes disheveled. Naturally, when she got sober she got the shock of her life to find herself in such a wretched and embarrassing situation. As a Filipina, this is extremely humiliating. Of course, the only recourse to save face is to claim that she was raped although what happened could have been consensual.

    She shouldn’t have gone there and drank too much. It was simply a case of Nicole’s diffficulty in holding her liquor. She shouldn’t have drank that much. Different people have different alcohol tolerance. This case should be a caveat for ladies wanting to have a good time: do not drink too much if you cannot hold your drink.

    And lesson learned from Smith’s case: Guys! After doing it, be gentlemen enough to treat your partner with civility. Be sure that your partner is in the proper circumstances before you leave her after a casual sexual encounter. We are human beings and not animals. Sorry Mr. Smith, you got what was due you!

  41. I just watched a movie for TV inspired by a true story. The US Court of Appeals reversed a lower court rape conviction to a young man who claimed that it was a consensual sex. The woman agreed to have sex until last minute when she changed her mind and the man still forced himself to her.

    The Higher Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals.

    The winning of the case is not because the accused is guilty or not. It is the calibre of the prosecutor and defense counsels.

    And sometimes, there is the outside factor that helps a lot. The Media.

  42. Ten or so years ago, this would not have happened. No American would have been convicted of any crime under a Philippine court of law. This is at least an improvement in terms of our maturing national sovereignty. Of course international politics played a role in the final conclusion of this case but whatever it is, it is a small but substantial step in the assertion of our national soverignty. Those bleeding heart leftists and other anti-American and anti-Administration “activists” did not expect the verdict and got the shock of their lives.

  43. Has anyone seen Nicole? I wonder how she looks like? Just curious. I can only speculate. Basing it on the taste for women of Americans – especially GI’s – one could surmise her facial features.

    On TV, she appeared small – especially when she jumped with joy after the verdict was read. Oh well, as I said, I was only curious.

  44. Red Herring,

    Your idea is embodied in the Party list decision penned by still CJ Panganiban.

    The then Associate Justice wrote this:

    “The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers’ understanding thereof.”

  45. An item to remember is that had the incident occurred in Pakistan (or Afghanistan), “Nicole” would have been required to produce 4 male witnesses testifying that was indeed raped. And if the female was unable to produce the 4 male witnesses, not only is the male-assaulter not guilty, “Nicole” would have been found guilty of moral turpitude or lasciviousness or some such crime.
    … With serviceman Smith having been found guilty by a Philippine court, he is now guilty (until proven ‘not guilty’).

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