Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Judge junks plea to inhibit self from Subic rape case

By Tetch Torres, INQ7.net

OLONGAPO City Regional Trial Court Judge Renato Dilag has refused to inhibit himself from the Subic rape case following a complaint from one of the accused American soldiers that he has prejudged the case.

Dilag on Thursday denied the motion filed by the Filipino lawyer of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith “for lack of merit."

Smith was charged before the Olongapo court with raping a 22-year-old Filipino woman on November 1 inside a van at Subic Bay, as three fellow US soldiers cheered him on.

In his motion, Smith said Dilag had prejudged the case based on the media statements the judge made immediately after the case was raffled off to his courtroom.?

This prompted the defense lawyer to seek to stop Dilag from making further statements to the press, which the judge also denied.

Dilag said some media reports misquoted him or took him out of context.

Smith, together with Lance Corporal Keith Silkwood, Lance Corporal Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier, joined last year’s counterterrorism exercises in Subic, a former American naval base northwest of Mania.

Dilag earlier issued arrest warrants against the four soldiers, only to withdraw them Thursday following US government’s continued refusal to hand over the accused soldiers to Philippine custody.

The rape case is seen as a black mark on US military exercises that have been credited with helping to weaken Al-Qaeda-linked extremists in the southern Philippines.??The Marines were on liberty after the joint maneuvers with Filipino troops when the alleged rape took place. With The Associated Press


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