It is often said the Philippines and the U.S. have a love-hate relationship. Can’t live with the damn Americans but can’t exist without them. The country hews closely to what the U.S. wants, specially as to matters pertaining to foreign policy.
Although no one can deny that the Philippines is effectively a vassal state of the U.S., the honor of Philippine womanhood was at stake. Hence, the conviction of Mr. Smith. Despite his clean-cut, boy-next-door good looks, he now personifies all the barbaric Americans who have taken advantage of Filipinas over the past century.
This is also the first time that an accused rapist has been convicted since the Visiting Forces Agreement, a mutual-defense treaty between the Philippines and the U.S., went into effect. The VFA provides for the carrying out of joint military exercises in the country. Which was why Smith was in Subic. By the reckoning of one of the disparate groups supporting Nicole, out of the nearly 3,000 rape cases brought against U.S. military personnel over the past decade or so, Nicole’s was the only one that went to trial and resulted in a conviction. It is a historic case, in a sense. The arrogant Americans have finally gotten their comeuppance.
A certain Scott Spencer of Arizona posted a message online, with reference to a flag-burning incident which occurred at the time the guilty verdict was handed down:
“Why delight in burning the American flag? Does Lance Corporal Daniel Smith represent the whole of the United States? I say not. Did Ferdinand Marcos represent the whole of the Philippines? I should think not!”
We would like to assure Mr. Spencer that the overwhelming majority of Filipinos do not condone, much less encourage, such acts. But this is not just an ordinary rape case. Its political character is undeniable. Not surprisingly, anti-American elements used it for propaganda purposes.
The [tag]Subic Rape Case[tag] has a political dimension which is being played out in a much larger arena than the courtroom. Now that the legal issue has been more or less decided, the diplomatic issues must be addressed. The foremost question is what to do with Smith. The U.S. wants him given over to the custody of the U.S. embassy while he pursues his appeal, in accordance with the VFA. Nicole at. al. wants him to remain at the far more uncomfortable Makati City jail.
Even though Malacanang and the Department of Justice acceded to the formal request of the U.S. embassy for Smith’s custody, Judge Benjamin Pozon denied the motion of Smith’s counsels to have him transferred to U.S. hands. Smith’s camp is poised to appeal the matter to a higher court. The diplomatic tug-of-war continues. Meanwhile, Smith continues to languish in the Makati City jail, under the watchful and caring eyes of his babysitters from the U.S. embassy.
A piece of unsolicited advice to Smith: DON’T bend over to pick up the stray pieces of bath soap found in the common bathroom of the Makati City jail.