From rape to un-rape?
As a departure from norm, let us (re)introduce the rape case that is said to have put a strain on the Visiting Forces Agreement on the one hand and blurred the public’s understanding of law on the other – in more graphic terms.
Or consider this. Lady A, is a Filipina while Gentleman B is an American. The former accused the latter of rape for which the Court found him guilty and thus sentenced to serve term.
The simple rape case, however, is pulling the root from another tree thereby putting in question a government to government agreement that has no bearing whatsoever on the rape case. This was to be the VFA.
Then it came to pass. Lady A one day decided to go to US agreeing to leave a manifestation, receive P100,000 from the accused, and start a life for good given the prospect of getting married to an American fiancée. Offhand compensatory as well as moral damages having been paid must automatically provide legal relief to Gentleman B
While at this, Gentleman B serves sentence at the US Embassy, not directly under Philippine authorities. And as a matter of course, the lawyer of the rape-convict moves to make a manifestation with the Court of Appeals on this new development – a seeming out-of-court settlement that apparently erased civil liability.
If this scenario be granted, then, let us see.
People are simply exposed to the same medium – as they receive dose upon dose of news accounts, video footages, commentaries, and opinions from either side of the case. In the haze and maze of all these information sources, some embrace worldviews diametrically opposed to other worldviews hence a resulting Great Cultural Divide.
But certain things just challenge reflection. The case is about to come to a final close or is it actually being undone? For one, who is Nicole? It must have been an alias tagged to her. During the early part of the case, did anyone ever see her face across the tri-media? Not until very recently that the Inquirer posted a photo of a pretty Lady A or Nicole but her real name is Suzette Nicolas. Gentleman B on the other hand looks older than his real age by more recent flash.
So then, some more dominant worldviews dominate others. There are those who say, Lady A might have to be charged with perjury having given what appears to have been false testimonies throughout the period the case is being heard. Some quarters would give Lady A’s decision the green lights as with my good classmate, Dr. Sylvia Mayuga-Claudio who thinks, as a psychologist, that Lady A would have to move on. Still others believe nothing can change the whole configuration – it will not add any legal light.
Take your pick.
If we backtrack a bit, we realize that when Lady A has to ordinarily appear on any of those scheduled court hearings, there are a lot of her “decoys” or Nicole look-alikes also within the radius if her face is not always being covered from the paparazzi. Why all these? And yet, that of Gentleman B or Daniel is always flashed?
Myths have it that this is done to give her privacy, to protect her dignity, and so as not to compromise the case. On the other hand, these myths do not have to apply to Gentleman B. In other words, Lady A has conveniently hid herself from the protection of a not-to-well-explained legal smokescreen.
Maybe, it is time to revisit the anti-rape law that has created this feverish imbroglio. There is so much of a contagious social fever from this apparently celebrated rape case. If the whole scenario is one that follows script, it is not at all difficult for any Lady A to pretend she is a victim of rape against her will. For one, she is under no obligation to show her face. With face covered in black veil, she can always express herself theatrically and be believed.
Who did not then bite the bait – hook, line and sinker – than both sides of the legal feud can be willing to accept? Come on.
This so-called Nicole vs. Smith sets dangerous precedent. When more Lady As can in fact fake themselves, fake their testimonies, fake their faces – chances are, some fake facts can come out from it.
There are any number of legal smokescreens that now must be crashed. And there are even a lot more antiquated legal doctrines or assumptions that now must be buried to oblivion. Whoever said there is no lady in her right mind who will cry rape if she is not actually raped since she will go through humiliating rituals? That sounds stupid these days. Now, justice secretary Gonzales makes final confession – “we were taken for a ride”. Kaput!
Pray tell, is this not tantamount to saying that there are in fact, clowns just as well in the judicial world? Stated differently, where is legal scholarship headed to?