In Rape Case, Filipino Accuser Backtracks

In Rape Case, Filipino Accuser Backtracks
March 19th, 2009  
Team Infidel

Topic: In Rape Case, Filipino Accuser Backtracks

In Rape Case, Filipino Accuser Backtracks
New York Times
March 19, 2009
By Carlos H. Conde
MANILA — A Filipino woman who won the conviction of a Marine for raping her in 2005 in a contentious yearlong case that strained Philippine-American relations now says she has “doubts,” and might have been “too friendly” and made him think she was willing to have sex.
“My conscience continues to bother me,” her statement said. “I would rather risk public outrage than do nothing to help the court in ensuring that justice is served.”
During the trial, the woman testified that she had been raped and treated “like a pig” by the Marine, Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, and three other servicemen at Subic Bay, the former United States naval base, and that she wanted nothing but the death penalty for him.
Her new statement, while not exactly a recantation, has created an uproar in the Philippines.
It was unclear why she raised questions about her original account now, but they came in a sworn statement to the news media on Tuesday, a week after she left the Philippines for the United States, where, her mother told Filipino television, she planned to marry her American fiancé. Corporal Smith’s lawyers said he paid the woman $2,062 in compensation on March 12.
In one community in Manila, four people were stabbed on Wednesday after a melee erupted while they were debating her case, the police said. And nationalists accused the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the United States of putting pressure on the woman to change her story.
What impact the development might have on the fate of the Marine convicted in the case in 2006 and sentenced to 40 years incarceration remained unclear. The United States Embassy in Manila is consulting with legal experts in Washington on the case, an embassy spokeswoman, Rebecca Thompson, told reporters.
Corporal Smith and the three other service members, who were accused of egging him on, maintained that the sex was consensual. The corporal has been held at the United States Embassy in Manila pending his appeal.
“I can’t help but entertain doubts on whether the sequence of events in Subic last November of 2005 really occurred the way the court found them to have happened,” she said in her new statement.
After the corporal’s conviction, the wrangle over which country should have custody of him strained American-Philippine military relations, leading to the delay of an annual joint military exercise in 2006. The case became a rallying point for nationalists who wanted Manila to abrogate an agreement that allowed American troops in the Philippines and that the United States said allowed it to keep responsibility for Corporal Smith.
Many nationalists fear that the Philippine Senate may drop its plans to review the agreement.
Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bayan, a nationalist group, said the woman’s new statement “should be seen in the context of the U.S. and Arroyo government’s efforts to preserve” the military agreement “at all costs.” His group planned a protest rally at the American Embassy on Saturday.

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