Tuesday, April 18, 2006

DOJ Downgrades Rape Case vs. 3 U.S. Servicemen

The Department of Justice today downgraded the rape case against three American servicemen who filed petitions for review at the department.

S/Sgt. Chad Carpentier, Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis would be charged of being accessories instead of being principals to the crime of raping a 22-year old Filipina.

Only Lance Corporal Daniel Smith will remain as a principal suspect.

The Olongapo City Prosecutors Office has previously charged the four as principals.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez explained that there was no evidence showing that the four conspired to rape "Nicole."

"I should have exonerated them but we're satisfying the mob," Gonzalez added.

Gonzalez said he would order Olongapo City Prosecutor Prudencio Jalandoni to file a new information before the Makati Regional Trial Court stating that the charges against the three have been downgraded but added that it was still up to the local court if it will accept the resolution.

"But it's very rare that it will refuse because prosecution always lies in the hands of the Secretary of Justice," Gonzalez said.

Atty. Jose Justiniano, counsel for Silkwood, said he was satisfied with the resolution and said this would bolster his client's claim of innocence.

But Atty. Evalyn Ursua, Nicole's counsel, said she would either oppose the resolution before the Makati court or directly appeal to the President.

Ursua added that the least that the DOJ could have done was to include the three as accomplices and not accessories.

"Accessories are those involved after the crime," Ursua said.

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