Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Victim in Subic rape case insists RP should take custody of convicted rapist

The complainant's camp in the Subic rape case on Thursday said they will insist that convicted rapist US Lance Corporal Daniel Smith be turned over to Philippine custody when the Supreme Court holds oral arguments on the matter Friday.

In a radio interview, lawyer Evalyn Ursua, the victim's legal counsel, said they expect to go up against Philippine government lawyers who will insist that Smith remain in the US Embassy's custody.

"Ine-expect namin igigiit ng Philippine government na manatili si Smith sa US Embassy. Yan ang kanilang position. Kami igigiit namin dapat sa atin ang custody (We expect the Philippine government's lawyers to argue that Smith be allowed to remain in the US Embassy. We will insist that he be in Philippine government custody)," Ursua said in an interview on dzBB radio.

Smith was convicted on December 4, 2006 of raping a woman in Subic in November 2005. But shortly after he was whisked to the Makati City Jail, the US serviceman was spirited away and was brought to the US Embassy.

On the other hand, Smith's lawyer Jose Justiniano said Smith will not likely appear before the High Court Friday, saying they have not even received notice for the hearing.

"Ngayong hapon wala kaming notice of hearing. Kami bilang abogado wala kaming notice of hearing (We as his lawyers have not received a notice of hearing)," Justiniano said in a separate interview on dzBB.

Besides, Justiniano said the major parties at the hearing will be Philippine government officials since they signed the Visiting Forces Agreement.

It is the Solicitor General who will argue the case for the Philippine government and not them, he added.

In the interview, Ursua said the High Court will also hear on Friday oral arguments who should have custody of Smith, and if the US should be cited in contempt of court.

Also, she said they are hoping the High Court will decide on the matter before this year ends.

"Pag nagtawag sila ng oral argument, ang decision di malayo (If the high court calls for oral arguments, a decision may be forthcoming)," Ursua said. - GMANews.TV

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