Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, October 20, 2006

Outstanding Women group slams chief prosecutor in Subic case

Justice chief stands by gov’t lawyers

By Tetch Torres -- INQ7.net
THE Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS), which has been assisting the complainant in the Subic rape case, has written Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to complain about senior state prosecutor Emilie Fe Delos Santos, head of the government prosecution team.

However, Gonzalez, who met with former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, chair of the TOWNS’ task force Nicole, the name by which the complainant is known publicly, stood by the government lawyers, saying he believed they had followed the rules.

Gonzalez also said that, since the accusations made by Nicole and her supporters are already being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), “let's wait for the result if the NBI investigation before we act."

"We attest to the unprofessional and irrational treatment accorded by Senior State Prosecutor Emilie Fe Delos Santos to Nicole, her family and the private prosecutors," the letter from Shahani and TOWNS president Imelda Villar said.

They also said they believed there was a “deliberate effort to sabotage” Nicole’s case against four US Marines accused of raping her inside the Subic Freeport late last year.

"What clinched our suspicion that there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the case was the fact that it was state prosecutor Nolibien Quiambao, the most junior, least experience(d), (and who) least attended the hearings who was assigned the most crucial cross examination" of principal accused, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, the letter said.

The group claimed to have verified that Delos Santos tried to pressure Nicole's mother into negotiating with the accused or risk having the case used as a "trade off" for that faced by former Agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante in the US.

They also asked Gonzalez not to assign Delos Santos to “sensitive task forces” organized by the Department of Justice.

They letter also encouraged Gonzalez to reexamine Nicole's case and not be influenced "by the power and might of the superpower represented by the defense."

During his meeting with Shahani, Gonzalez said he also clarified that state prosecutor Hazel Valdez, who protested the prosecution team’s failure to present rebuttal evidence after the defense presentation, was not booted out of the panel.

"She removed herself from the panel," Gonzalez said.

The Justice Chief accepted the TOWNS letter and said he would study it.


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