US embassy: Smith has left RP

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2009 12:49 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2009 09:39 PM

US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith left has left the Philippines after the Court of Appeals acquitted him on Thursday of raping 'Nicole' in Subic in 2005, the US embassy said Friday.

In an April 24 statement, the US embassy said, "Following the decision of the Philippine Court of Appeals, Daniel Smith departed the Philippines under the authority of United States military officials." 

"We have seen the decision of the Court of Appeals acquitting Daniel Smith and intend to respect that decision. Throughout this long and difficult case, Daniel Smith remained in custody of the US Embassy in the Philippines in compliance with the terms of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which provides the framework for U.S.-Philippine cooperation in legal cases involving visiting U.S. military personnel," the US embassy said.

"This has been a difficult and emotional case for all involved, especially their families and loved ones.  We hope that the parties can now move on with their lives," the embassy added.

Meanwhile, militant groups held a rally at the Court of Appeals (CA) and the United States embassy in Manila on Friday assailing the acquittal of Smith in the Subic rape case.

Court of Appeals decision

In a 71-page decision written by CA Associate Justice Monina Arevalo Zenarosa, and concurred with by Special 11th Division chair Justice Remedios S. Fernando and Associate Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal, the CA said the alleged rape was in fact a "spontaneous, unplanned romantic episode" between the two parties.

The CA said Smith should be released immediately unless he is being held for any other lawful cause.

"No evidence was presented to show force, threat and intimidation applied by the accused upon Nicole," read the ruling, referring to the alias of the victim.

"Wherefore, on reasonable ground, the accused Lance Corporal Daniel Smith is hereby acquitted of the crime of Rape as alleged in the information. He is ordered released immediately unless held for other lawful cause," the CA said.

The appellate court’s decision said it believes the two parties were "carried away" by their passions on the night of the incident, and that there was no forced sexual intercourse.

The court said there is also no evidence that the victim was threatened to have forced to have sex with Smith, saying her only defense was that she was intoxicated that night.

"This court finds it deceptively posturing Nicole's portrayal of herself as a demure provinciana lass... On hindsight, we see this protestation of decency as a protective shield against her own indecorous behavior," the decision said.

The court added that the degree of Nicole's supposed drunkennes was not clearly established, and that telling others of her resistance to Smith's actions is not enough to establish that she did not consent to the sexual intercourse.

'Unplanned romantic episode'

"Resistance by words of mouth does not suffice to establish that she indeed did not give her consent to the sexual intercourse," the court said.

"What we see was the unfolding of a spontaneous, unplanned romantic episode with both parties carried away by their passions and stirred up by the urgency of the moment caused probably by the alcoholic drinks they took," it added.

The decision stated that it was not influenced by the sworn statement released more than a month ago by the victim, which stated she doubts if she was really raped.

The court said it reviewed the evidence presented before the Makati Regional Trial Court, and decided that rape was not proven to be "beyond reasonable doubt."

"A careful and judicious perusal of the evidence on record does not convince the prudent mind about the moral certainty of the guilt of the accused, hence, we must acquit," the decision stated.

The court also attacked the victim's credibility, saying her statements had numerous inconsistencies.

The CA decision is final and executory and can no longer be appealed.