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Subic Rape Case Timeline

November 3, 2005: A 22-year-old woman (later referred to by the media as "Nicole") filed before the Olongapo City prosecutor's office a criminal complaint for gang rape against USS Essex military servicemen Chad Staff Sergeant Carpentier, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, Lance Corporal Corey Burris, Lance Corporal Albert Lara, Lance Corporal Keith Silkwood, and another unknown suspect. The rape allegedly occurred in Subic on November 1, 2005. November 9, 2005: Nicole's mother, accompanied by one of her brothers, appeared on GMA7's "24 Oras" to ask for justice for her daughter. She asked GMA7 to show her face on television. "Ako na po mismo ang naglakas-loob na lumantad kasi para sa anak ko. Buhay ng anak ko kaya ipaglalaban ko para malaman ng tao kung ano ang pinagdaanan ng anak ko kung paano siya ginahasa," she said. She stressed that her daughter is not a sex worker, that she has a decent job and that she just on vacation in Subic. She vowed to fight for justice and asked the for the president's help. November-December 2005: Duration of the preliminary investigation on the Subic rape case. December 27, 2005: Rape charges were filed against Smith, Carpentier, Duplantis and Silkwood at the Olongapo Regional Trial Court. Burris and Lara, initially named as suspects, were cleared after evidence indicated they were not in the van during the alleged incident. January 2, 2006: Foreign Affairs Secretary Romulo said that the Department of Foreign Affairs remains committed to invoking the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement to obtain physical custody of the suspects in the Subic Case: “Based on the opinion of the Department of Justice, in which we are in full agreement, we continue to assert that this is an extraordinary case under the VFA and that the Philippines should have actual, physical custody." January 3, 2006: The Subic rape case was raffled off and assigned to Olongapo RTC Branch 73, handled by Judge Renato Dilag. January 16, 2006: Invoking Article 5, Paragraph 6 of the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement, the US embassy said that its government has decided that it will retain custody of the four US Marines. GMA News reported that Atty. Katrina Legarda's group, which had handled Nicole's case since November 2005, had stopped representing Nicole in the Subic rape case. Nicole's mother told GMA News that despite this, they will go ahead with the case. March 5, 2006: Nicole faced the media to deny allegations that she is a sex worker. She asked the government's help to win the case and called on Soriano to help her. She said she wants her rapists to be imprisoned for life. She was accompanied by her new lawyer, Atty Evalyn Ursua, among others. March 15, 2006: Judge Dilag set the arraignment of the case on March 24. Dilag inhibited himself from the case shortly before this date upon the request of Nicole's lawyers. Dilag's son worked with the defense counsel of S/Sgt Carpentier, one of the suspects. March 27, 2006: Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez asked the Supreme Court to allow the transfer of the case to Manila, saying that the lack of judges in Olongapo City could delay proceedings. March 28, 2006: The Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the criminal trial of the Subic rape case to the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. April 3, 2006: The case was raffled off and assigned to Makati Regional Trial Court 139 handled by Judge Benajmin Pozon. April 28, 2006: US servicemen Smith, Silkwood, Duplantis and Carpentier appeared before the Makati RTC for the arraignment of the Subic rape case. The court entered a "not guilty" plea for the four principal accused as they did not enter any plea. June-November 2006: Duration of the Subic rape case trial at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 139. Nicole took the witness stand in July; she recounted her ordeal before the court and identified Smith as her rapist. Smith, meanwhile, testified in September; he maintained that he had consensual sex with Nicole inside a van on the night of November 1, 2005.
  • June 2, 2006: First day of the Subic Rape case trial: the complainant and the four accused (Smith, Duplantis, Silkwood and Carpentier) showed up at the Makati Regional Trial Court. It was the first time that Nicole and the accused met after six months when the rape was allegedly committed.
  • June 16, 2006: In an exclusive interview with GMA News, Nicole said she felt irritated whenever she saw the accused in the courtroom -- "Minsan kasi hindi mo maiiwasan na tumingin sa kabila. Tapos andun din sila. Tapos ngumingiti sila na parang there's something... sobrang iritang-irita ako, gusto ko silang saktan actually." Nicole also said that hearing the witnesses' testimonies on what happened to her on the night of November 1, 2005 was torturous.
  • July 6, 2006: Nicole took the stand and broke down in tears a couple of times as she recounted what happened to her on November 1, 2005. She failed to attend the hearing the following day due to severe traumatic stress.
  • July 10, 2006: Nicole resumed her testimony. Recounting what happened in the van on November 1, she said she screamed and tried to push away Smith, who was already on top of her. She also heard laughter in the van. The next thing she remembered after regaining consciousness was that she was on the pavement with her pants worn the wrong way. A commotion in the courtroom occurred after a break when Nicole struck Smith repeatedly with her bag. She claimed Smith tripped her as she entered the courtroom. To avoid a repeat of the incident, Judge Pozon changed the seating arrangement of the accused.
  • July 13, 2006: Nicole resumed her testimony, saying her life changed for the worse after the (alleged) rape. The lives of other family members have also been disrupted, as they attend to her and run the canteen she used to manage.
  • September 11, 2006: Smith testified that he and Nicole had consensual sex. "I kind of asked jokingly if she wants sex here (inside the van), she said yes. I kind of looked surprised. So I started to getting undressed … and she did the same."
  • October 4, 2006: In an exclusive interview with GMA News, Smith denied that he raped Nicole. "I couldn't have anticipated that a girl who was nice to me -- we had a good time -- would say something like that about us... I think she got caught up in a situation where it's easier to lie about something."
December 4, 2006: Judge Pozon meted out a guilty verdict against Daniel Smith but acquitted his three co-accused Lance Corporals Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier. As soon as the court clerk finished reading the verdict, Smith's lawyer filed an appeal for the judge to reconsider his decision to send the soldier to the Makati City Jail. Judge Pozon denied the appeal. December 5, 2006: The US Embassy sent a Note Verbale to the DFA, saying it "reaffirms the right of the United States military authorities to exercise custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction until completion of all judicial proceedings, notably in the ongoing legal case of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith." December 6, 2006: Smith's lawyers filed a manifestation before the Makati RTC 139, saying he should be transferred to the US embassy. Nicole's camp opposed this motion. December 8, 2006: Smith's lawyers submitted to the Makati RTC Branch 139 a written agreement between the US and Philippine governments to return Smith to US custody pending the resolution of his appeal. The agreement was signed by US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño. The Makati RTC Branch 139 also received a letter dated December 8, 2006 from Justice Secretary Gonzalez; attached to the letter was another agreement on Smith's custody, signed by Kenney and Gonzalez. December 12, 2006: Judge Benjamin Pozon of the Makati RTC Branch 139 denied the request of the US government to place Smith under US custody: "This Court maintains its ruling... temporarily committing him [Smith] in the Makati City Jail and he shall continue to be so committed until the appropriate Philippine and United States authorities shall have come to a binding agreement as to the proper facilities where said accused shall carry out his confinement or detention during his appeal and until further orders from this Court." December 14, 2006: Smith's lawyers filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for a temporary restraining order on Pozon's order. December 19, 2006: Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney signed an agreement which states that Smith should be returned to US military custody at the US Embassy in Manila, in accordance with the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement. The Court of Appeals rejected Smith's petition for a TRO on Judge Pozon's order, which earlier denied the US government's request for Smith's transfer to US custody. December 22, 2006: Romulo and Kenney signed a second agreement which gave the specifics of Smith's transfer and detention at the US Embassy: "from the Makati City Jail, he [Smith] will be detained at the first floor, Rowe (JUSMAG) Building, U.S. Embassy Compound in a room of approximately 10 x 12 square feet. He will be guarded round the clock by U.S. military personnel. The Philippine police and jail authorities, under the direct supervision of the Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have access to the place of detention to ensure the United States is in compliance with the terms of the VFA." December 29, 2006: Law enforcement agents transferred Smith from the Makati City Jail to the US Embassy shortly before midnight. Smith's transfer was carried out upon the order of the Department of Interior and Local Government. January 2, 2007: The 16th Division of the Court of Appeals dismissed Smith's appeal: the issue on his custody has been rendered "moot" since he has already been transferred to the US Embassy. January 8, 2007: Nicole asked the Supreme Court to nullify the December 2006 Romulo-Kenney agreement on Smith's turnover to US custody. Nicole asserted in the petition that Smith's transfer violated the Philippine Constitution and the Rules of Court. April 24-26, 2007: Smith was hospitalized after complaining of stomach pains. He was initially rushed to the Makati Medical Center then later transferred to the Asian Hospital, where he underwent a kidney stone operation. He was brought back to the US Embassy after being discharged from t he hospital. September 23, 2008: In a phone interview with GMA News at the US Embassy, Smith denied accusations that he had been away from the embassy. Smith's camp also shared photos showing that he was inside the embassy and that he had a copy of that day's newspaper. February 11, 2009: Modifying an earlier Court of appeals decision, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement but ruled that Smith must be detained under the custody of Philippine authorities. The Supreme Court declared that the agreements between Romulo-Kenney agreements to detain Smith in the US Embassy was not in accordance with the VFA. March 12, 2009: Nicole issued a sworn statement expressing her doubts on "whether the sequence of events in Subic last November of 2005 really occurred the way the court found them to have happened." March 17, 2009: Nicole's lawyer, Atty. Evalyn Ursua, disclosed that her client had terminated her legal services on March 16. Ursua also recounted that Nicole's mother said Nicole had already left for the US the previous week to stay there for good. March 24, 2009: Ursua, anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang-See, lawyer Harry Roque, anti-rape law co-author Leticia Ramos Shahani and civil society groups asked the Supreme Court to investigate the alleged anomalies surrounding Nicole's March 12, 2009 statement. The petitioners alleged that Nicole's latest statement was kept secret from Ursua, who was still Nicole's counsel at the time the statement was written; it was also allegedly notarized by a lawyer from the same law firm that was handling Smith's case. April 20, 2009: The Supreme Court ordered Smith's lawyers from the Sycip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan law firm to comment on allegations that they might have committed unethical acts in executing Nicole's recent statement. April 23, 2009: The Court of Appeals acquitted Smith of the rape charge and ordered his immediate release. The appellate court disregarded Nicole's March 12 statement in coming up with its decision; it also did not open a sealed draft decision on the Subic Rape case which was penned by retired Justice Agustin Dizon way back in 2008. April 24, 2009: The US Embassy in Manila said Smith left the Philippines under the authority of US military officials. Source: GMA News Research