The United States has cancelled its annual joint military exercises with the Philippines due to the continued detention of a US marine convicted of rape.

Legally, there is a longstanding legal agreement between the US and the Philippines that grants US authorities custody of US military personnel accused of violating Philippine laws until completion of all judicial proceedings.

This has not been done with Smith.

AFP reporting that the Subic Rape case “… has sparked street protests and revived anti-American sentiment in the former US colony.”

Translation: The Left is using this to increase anti American sentiment at a time when the US is helping the Philippine army destroy “insurgents”, including the (communist) NPA who is popular with the left and with the people in this area.
But many of the elites, who have a love/hate relationship about the US, hailed the conviction as proof that the powerful Americans are not above the law…as if a conviction was about Philippine pride rather than about a little thing called justice.
Alas, the truth is a bit fuzzy in all this.

The truth is that the “rape” was at the most “date rape”, where a drunken lass who flirted and danced with the Marines and had sex with one of them in the van.

The initial reports was that she had been kidnapped and raped, and there was much outrage orchestrated by women’s groups and the left.

Then the physical evidence showed only one set of sperm, and evidence she was willing albeit drunk. so the court expanded the “incapacitated” definition, which in the law meant unconscious to include merely  intoxicated, even though a previous court case rejected that interpretation.

In short, the court was under severe pressure by the left and the press to convict all the Marines, but there was no physical evidence that anyone beside Smith was involved, so the judge creatively found a way to convict Smith by expanding the law.

Now, since a lot of US soldiers train there, the agreement between the US and the Philippines is that any military person convicted is remanded to US custody, the expectation is that Smith would be placed in US custody while his appeal is going on. They are NOT protesting the actual court decision.  Given the judicial lawmaking of the lower court, and given the political pressure on the court there is a good chance of the charges eventually being thrown out. But the physical danger to the convicted rapist in Manila jails is real, and the appeals could take years, so the US is right to seek custody.

In the meanwhile, with conviction, and with the evidence made public that her original accusation was exaggerated to the press, the anti Americanism has actually settled down. The left has moved on, and is busy demonstrating agains charter change, and against “judicial killings” of left wing activists.

The US Government canceling military exercizes, however, might inflame the issue further.

But the left is not the only ones who can manipulate the headlines.
Indeed, today’s headline proclaims Christmas gifts, carols for jailed Marine

“..Members of the group Justice for Daniel Smith (JDS) (a small organization of military wives, students, and professionals, said they would bring him gifts and sing hymns that they hope he would hear from the stockroom of the jail facility where he is detained…”

The US government won’t officially interfere with the Philippine courts, but that doesn’t mean that some of the estimated 100 000 Americans, many of whom are veterans, and their wives who live here can’t get involved.

The local feminists tried to make a case of poor innocent women who were victimized, but they do protest too much. Now, next to American girls, they are indeed quite chaste, but “good” Pinays travel in groups for protection, and don’t go out drinking alone with lonely Marines. However, this is not the same as saying all these girls are prostitutes. Most are just trying to find a nice husband, and their aim in life is to live in Detroit or San Diego, or even Makati, and meeting Americans or Europeans in bars is one way to do it.
The problem that “Nicole” miscalculated is tragic for all involved, especially since the law does not differentiate between Date rape and stranger/forced rape. The expansion of the law to convict Smith of rape for “having sex with an intoxicated female” is bordering on ridiculous if it were not so tragic.
Given the amount of liquor that flows in the Subic bars, the way things stand now is that any US soldier, sailor, Marine or expat is in danger of 40 years in prison if he takes up an offer of the  generous but tipsy ladies of the evening.

—————————-Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines with her husband, six dogs, three cats, and a large extended family.  Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket and this essay has been crossposted to Townhall.

Be Sociable, Share!