Everyone knows the story by now. It's all over the papers, the radio and the primetime TV news. "Nicole," the Filipina rape victim who won her case against US Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith is in the news again. This time, through an affidavit submitted to the Court of Appeals by Smith's lawyer, "Nicole" is telling another story and saying that she was probably too drunk to know what really happened to her.
This story is wide, broad and deep and has far-reaching implications especially in the face of renewed calls for the scrapping of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which allows the temporary stationing of US military forces in Philippine territory.
But the call coming from "Nicole's" lawyer, Atty. Evalyn Ursua, that it's too early to judge "Nicole," should be heeded.
In a press statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan said that "we cannot blame Nicole and her family," and asserted that this is "an indictment of our justice system that is perceived to favor the wealthy and the powerful and ... to be biased against the ordinary folks like Nicole." He added that "Nicole did not fail us; our justice system did." But to which we should all add that before human systems fail, individual humans themselves fail first.
However, "Nicole" and her family do owe the Filipino nation a clear and honest explanation, at least, if only to provide all of us with a concrete starting point in resolving this big politico-historic, socio-cultural crisis. It is not only the Philippine justice system that is indicted here but our culture and value systems as a nation. We have to confront this reality and deal with it right here, right now. What really happened here?! Filipino dignity demands nothing less. The honor of all Filipinos -- not just every Filipina -- is at stake. Not only here, but around the world.