Remember, a while back I wrote an article here about the Subic Rape case, and the conviction of Daniel Smith in the case? It was one of the top commented articles in the history of this site. To refresh your memory, the “rape victim,” Suzette Nicolas recanted her story, and said that she wasn’t sure if she had been raped back in 2005, as she had earlier testified in court. Immediately after recanting her story, Nicolas left the Philippines and is not residing in the United States.
Well, news broke yesterday afternoon in this case again. You see, Smith had an appeal on file with the Philippine Court of Appeals. The ruling came down on Thursday afternoon, and Smith’s conviction has been overturned, thus meaning that Smith has been found not-guilty of any crime in this case.
Finally, justice for Lance Corporal Smith. I find it funny, though, that when Smith was convicted (and even when he was only accused) this was a huge news story here in the Philippines. There was a huge anti-American outcry among the public, or at least some of the public. However, this reversal, while it made news, seems to be only a minor story in the media here.
There are stories in the media where Philippine activists are claiming that the Philippine President, and the USA itself intervened with the Court of Appeals, forcing the acquital. If these statements are true, then in other words it must be said that Philippine Courts cannot be trusted. Funny, though, that these people were firm in their opinions that because Smith had been convicted by a lower court, he was guilty of the crime. So, a question for the activists… can the courts be trusted or not? You can’t have it both ways.
As of now, the Court of Appeals has ordered Smith freed “unless there are other non-related charges against him.” He is in the custody of the US Embassy in Manila, as he has been for years now. I don’t expect that any “other charges” will be found against him, and that within the next 48 hours he will be rushed out of the country before anything else can be brought up against him. I am sure that he will feel better about life as he looks down from the airplane and sees the Philippines fade into the horizon.
Is this justice? Certainly a lot of people will argue that he is still guilty and was let off. Personally, though, I believe that since the “victim” has now said that no rape ever occured, and because the Courts have found Smith to be not-guilty, this means that justice has finally been done. Do people believe the “victim” or not? Those who believed in her strongly in the past now bad mouth her and say she is a liar. Those who called her a liar before now say she is telling the truth. There are only two people who know for sure what happened that night, and they now agree that nothing illegal happened. Under these circumstances, how could it be said that Smith should be held against his will? Certainly not I.
So, unless there are any unforseen events, the Daniel Smith case will go down in history and fade from current events. Perhaps by the time you read this article, Smith will already be gone from the Philippines.