Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, October 06, 2006

Subic rape prosecutor disputes colleagues' decision

One of the state prosecutors tasked to handle the Subic rape case criticized her colleagues over the decision to end their presentation of rebuttal evidence against the accused American servicemen, ABS-CBN's Bandila reported Thursday.

"I still stand path on my conviction that we have to take this opportunity to strengthen more the prosecution evidence," State Prosecutor Hazel Valdez said.

The government lawyer added that she was not considered and consulted by Senior State Prosecutor Emelie de los Santos when the panel decided on its decision.

"I even [did] not know that there was an actual deliberation or brainstorming so as to arrive at the decision," said Valdez.

She confirmed that a spat between her and de los Santos ensued after the lead prosecutor accused her of being an ally of Evalyn Ursua, the private prosecutor of the complainant identified only by the pseudonym "Nicole."

Valdez said that she believes de los Santos' sudden decision to end the presentation of evidence was influenced by factors.

One of these, she said, was Nicole's submission of her mother's affidavit detailing an allegation that de los Santos attempted to settle the case.

Another factor was Nicole's letter asking the Department of Justice to prevent de los Santos from handling the presentation of rebuttal evidence and the complainant's plan to return tot he witness stand.

Nicole's appeal to return as witness was agreed upon by Valdez and Ursua, with the prosecution panel's permission.

"I asked de los Santos about that and she said it [had] nothing to do with that," Valdez said.

Valdez, however, cited an instance when de los Santos met with agents of the US Naval Criminal Investigation Service in preparation for the presentation of rebuttal evidence.

The prosecution panel had planned to call back to the stand NCIS agents Guy Papageorge and Tony Ramos to prove that the primary accused in the case, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, was lying.

Smith, in previous testimonies, told NCIS agents that fellow servicemen were cheering him on while he and Nicole were having sex inside a moving van at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on Nov. 1, 2005. With a report from Ces Drilon ABS CBN


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