US Embassy won’t confirm ‘rapist’ of Pinay a US Marine

05/15/2009

The US Embassy yesterday would not confirm if the American who was accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipino student is a member of the US Marines.

When asked by the local media to confirm the reports, US Embassy deputy spokesman Karen Schinerer said they have seen the news reports, but have “no additional information on this allegation.”

She, though, said “the US takes seriously, specific allegations regarding activities by visiting US personnel.”

An alleged university student named by the media as “Vanessa” had said she was “raped” last month in a hotel in Makati City by an American she named as John Jones, whom she said she had met in a bar in the upscale commercial district of The Fort in Taguig City.

Jones, whom Vanessa said introduced himself to her as a US Marine, was said to be part of a group of American soldiers who are in the Philippines for an annual joint military exercise with their Filipino counterparts.

She, though, refused to press charges against Jones, saying her case might meet the same fate as that of previous rape victim Suzette Nicolas, whose case against Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith was dismissed by the Philippine Court of Appeals last month. Days before the CA decision, Nicolas recanted her statement and quietly fled to the US.

In 2007, Smith was convicted by a lower court of the charges of raping Nicolas at the former American military base of Subic Bay in Olongapo City, Zambales province.

But almost three years later, Nicolas submitted an affidavit to the appeals court, stating that it was “possible that she was not really raped” by the American soldier.

In her sworn statement, Nicolas raised doubts over her own previous allegations, saying she and Smith “might have merely gotten carried away” while being near each other and that she might have consented to having sex with him at the time when she said he raped her.

On the same issue, the number of foreigners becoming victims of sexual abuse in Kuwait is on the rise as another Filipino overseas worker was reported to have been raped in the Middle East state.

According to the Arab Times, a Filipino woman worker, who was unidentified, filed a complaint with the Farwaniya Police Station Monday, charging two unidentified men of sexually abusing her.

The report said the Filipino woman told authorities she was walking on the street on Monday when two men alighted from a car, held her and forced to board their vehicle before driving off to an area in the desert where they raped her. After consummating the deed, the two men allegedly returned her to where they had snatched her and sped off.

The rising incidents of Filipino women being raped in Kuwait has become a cause for alarm for Philippine embassy officials.

About 73,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, majority of whom are women and are mostly employed as domestic helpers.

Last year, a Kuwait soldier was charged with the murder of a Filipino woman domestic helper, who was found dead in a desert.

The naked and decomposing body of Fatima Sagadan Maulana was found in the Kabd desert. Police said that she may have been killed a week before her body was found.

Reports said upon interrogation by the police, the soldier admitted killing Maulana after she refused to sleep with him. He said he was under the influence of alcohol at the time he committed the crime.

Philippine embassy officials in Kuwait usually provide private counsels for rape victims for them to be able to seek justice for the violation that was done on them by their assailant.

But while the number of Filipino women being sexually abused in Kuwait increase, the Philippine government is in a conundrum on how to provide protection to Filipino female workers in the Middle East state.

The Philippines has not imposed a ban on the deployment of Filipino woman workers in Kuwait amid the rising incidents of Filipino women being raped there. Michaela P. del Callar and Danessa Rivera

Ellie