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Leave ‘Nicole’ alone—Palace

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:17:00 03/19/2009

MANILA, Philippines—The Palace urged critics of “Nicole” to leave her alone and respect her decision to leave the country.

Nicole has recanted her case against an American marine who was convicted of raping her.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Anthony Golez said Nicole’s lawyers and supporters “cannot be very emotional” because it was their client’s “right” to make such a move.

“That’s very personal to Nicole, whatever her reasons are, and I think we should all respect that and we should move on,” Golez told a news conference at the Palace.

“We cannot do anything about it because Nicole is they key player in this and that’s her right to do what she has done,” he said.

Asked if Nicole should be left alone, Golez said: “She should be left, because yun ang gusto niya, kagustuhan niya e [that’s what she wants].”

But despite Nicole’s move, Golez said Manila would still continue with negotiations with Washington to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the transfer of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith from the US Embassy to a Philippine facility.

“Tuloy pa din ang proseso [the process continues] in view of improving systems,” he said.

The Solicitor General has sought clarification from the High Tribunal since it maintained that the agreement between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney did not violate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Kenney, meanwhile, has said that the US embassy would wait for word from the US State Department in Washington.

On Wednesday, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the Palace remained keen on a review of the VFA, which governs the conduct of American troops in the Philippines.

In December 2006, the Makati regional trial court found Smith guilty of raping Nicole at the back of a van, as three other US Marines cheered him on after a drunken night out at the former Subic Naval Base in Olongapo City on November 1, 2005.

The American soldiers left Nicole’s half-naked body by the roadside.

In her latest affidavit, Nicole claimed that she was too drunk to remember whether or not Smith forced her to have sex.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-03-19T09:36:24+00:00UTC03bUTCThu, 19 Mar 2009 09:36:24 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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