Philippines: GABRIELA Condemns CAs Decision Approving Smiths Transfer

Apr. 11, 2007

09 April 2007

Reference: Joms Salvador, Gabriela Spokesperson, 371-2302

GABRIELA Condemns CAs Decision Approving Smiths Transfer

The militant womens group GABRIELA condemned the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the legality of transfer of custody of convicted rapist Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith from Philippine jail to US Embassy.

The just decision, the right decision would have been to uphold the sovereignty of the Philippines and that would mean the imprisonment of the rapist Smith in Philippine jail, said Joms Salvador, Gabriela spokesperson.

The 12-page decision made by Associate Justice Ricardo Rosario of the CAs 12th division junked Nicoles appeal for the court to issue a warrant of arrest for Smith so he could be returned to Philippine jail. The appellate said that Smiths transfer is legal based on an agreement between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy.

In December last year, former Makati Regional Trial Court judge Benjamin Pozon convicted Smith for raping Nicole and sentenced him to life imprisonment in any Philippine court to be agreed upon by both Philippine and US governments.

This Court of Appeals resolution goes against the very integrity of Judge Pozons decision to uphold both the rule of law and Philippine sovereignty. It is deplorable how the US government influences the countrys judiciary, as exemplified by the higher courts resolution.

Salvador also said that the CAs decision is akin to declaring that US soldiers in the Philippines can rape Filipinas without fear of retribution. ###

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