MANILA, Philippines – A left-wing lawmaker and a militant leader said the Court of Appeals decision to acquit American marine Daniel Smith of rape was due to the maneuverings of Malacañang and the United States government.
But while they said the acquittal was expected, Gabriela party list Representative Liza Maza and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes were nonetheless outraged by the development.
Gabriela partylist Representative Liza Maza said: “The stage has been set up for his [Smith’s] acquittal."
"I deplore the grand scheme concocted by the US and Malacañang meant to save Smith and to justify VFA," she said in a text message.
Reyes said the recantation of Smith’s accuser, Nicole, and the government’s inaction to comply with a Supreme Court ruling for it to regain custody of the US soldier led up to the appellate court’s decision.
“This denial of justice is but the logical conclusion of the maneuvers of the US government and the Arroyo government. The Smith acquittal is exactly what Malacañang has been praying for and working for from the onset,” he said.
Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros called the decision to acquit Smith "shameless and thoroughly disgusting."
"It is a complete and treacherous abandonment of our sovereignty, all the more repulsive because it was handed down while the Supreme Court is still deliberating on a complaint filed by women's groups," she said.
"If we can't even uphold our own Constitution and laws and protect our citizens within our own territory, then how can we defend our country from other nations? The decision is an insult to our collective dignity," Hontiveros added.