By Julie Alipala - Inquirer
A LITTLE OVER a week before the judgment comes, Nicole says she has come to terms with herself and she is putting all in God’s hands.
“I leave everything to God. Whatever the outcome is, our Lord has His own purpose. He knows why and He has reasons why I am in this situation,” Nicole (not her real name) said yesterday as she awaited the outcome of the rape case she had filed against four US Marines.
For the United States, one legal case won’t shake the ties between two close allies, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney said.
“We have to keep moving forward together regardless of the outcome of the legal case,” Kenney told the Inquirer in Zamboanga City.
The Makati City judge handling the case, Benjamin Pozon, has said he would hand down his decision on Dec. 4.
Search for justice
“I didn’t ask for it,” Nicole said. “It was part of God’s plan and He has reasons why these things happened to me.”
Nicole, who comes from Zamboanga City, spoke to this Zamboanga-based reporter by phone. She said she had just received communion and that she was spending her time in La Union province with some close friends and supporters.
She also said she was “already at peace” with herself.
“But still I am seeking justice. Everything that I am doing here is all for justice, not for myself or for my family but for every Filipino,” she said.
A journey of discovery
Nicole said she was ready to accept the verdict.
She said learning to trust God in everything had made her stronger.
“At first, yes, it was so painful, embarrassing, so traumatic, but now I came to realize that it has a purpose, and I am on a journey discovering what this purpose is God has set for me,” she said.
Nicole’s mother, who was with her, said Nicole had become more religious after the incident.
“Her deep spirituality turned her into a stronger young woman. Her experience made her a strong person,” the mother said.
The mother likened their pursuit of justice to fighting a giant.
“We are fighting a Goliath here. Our enemy is very powerful, very strong and the only thing we can do is to pray because we know that God is the truth. We all put our trust to our Lord,” she said.
Interviewed on Thursday when she visited Zamboanga City, Kenney said the outcome of the controversial case should not tarnish the relationship between her country and the Philippines.
An emotional case
Kenney said that the case presented a difficult situation because it was “absolutely emotional for everyone involved.”
“We have been able to handle this case. As a legal case, it doesn’t have any effect on anything else,” she said.
Kenney, who has been regularly visiting Zamboanga, Nicole’s birthplace, said that despite the controversy, the relationship between the United States and the Philippines remained firm.
“It is becoming stronger and one legal case doesn’t change that (relationship),” she said.
A year ago
On trial for rape are Lance Corporals Daniel Smith, Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis, and their superior officer Staff Sgt. Chad Carpentier.
Nicole accused Smith of raping her on board a van at the Subic
Bay Freeport before midnight on Nov. 1, 2005, while his three comrades allegedly cheered him on.
Smith denied forcing himself on Nicole, then 22, and told the court that he and the complainant had consensual sex.
The prosecution presented witnesses to support its case that Nicole was too drunk to have consented to sex that night.