Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pay Up, Or Else...

It’s entirely possible that LCpl Smith actually raped his accuser. I don’t know—I wasn’t there. Marines, and other young men, have pushed themselves on young ladies before and this won’t be the last time, if that is indeed what happened. But the evidence that I read about used to sentence the 21-year-old to 40 years in a hellish Philippine prison cell probably wouldn’t have even resulted in a trial in most places in the US and Europe.

Still, I shrug, since many ex-pats living out here pretty much knew that Smith was considered guilty by most Filipinos in power long before the protracted trial ever even began. After all, it was imperative that they "show" the Philippine public that they wouldn't allow the United States to "push them around," irrespective of the facts and eye-witness accounts. So, if the life of a young marine had to be sacrificed to prove how unintimidated they are, so let it be done.

A blogger buddy, SF Forever, just informed me that these days, even in the States, men are being found guilty of rape for simply having sex when the woman was drunk during the “event,” even if it was for most of the night and even if multiple “events” occurred. Recent judicial rationale is that after a few drinks consent is no longer possible by the woman. It was the alcohol that said “yes,” not her. Having observed all that though, I have to snicker and roll my eyes at the official comments from Philippine government officials that the 40 year verdict is proof positive of the fairness of Philippine justice. What an ironic joke those statement are.

All the verdict really shows is that when one "plays the game" above board by not paying off witnesses, police, prosecutors and judges that the result WILL be jail time. That is standard knowledge among those of us who live here.

The verdict also goes a long way, I hope, in warning foreigners, especially sex tourists, not to come here, or to think twice before doing so. I live here mostly because my wife’s family is here, but most tourists come here because of the beautiful and “willing” women. A marine on leave for exactly that reason recently had to “acquire” his own Philippine justice when he brought a young lady from a bar to his hotel room. In short order a policeman knocked on the door, and upon entering, informed the man that the girl with him was just 17. The marine sex tourist had no way of knowing her “true” age, since all the girls working in the bar were “advertised” as being at least 18. If not for an extensive amount of moolah sent to him by family he would still be languishing in a local jail, probably waiting for more than a year for a docket date. Instead, he paid his “fine,” and without ever having to suffer through what passes for a trial in these parts, he is now safe and sound back where he belongs. His story is NOT unique and still the sex tourists come here, exactly like lambs to the slaughter. Idiots!

Here’s some cryptic advice for all you guys coming to the Far East to “meet” beautiful ladies: Go to Thailand.

Another American was recently released from the local “gulag” after a year behind bars. Imagine more than a dozen men crammed into a cell half the size of your bedroom. He too was accused on trumped up sex charges, but he refused to pay off the local officials, which would have easily “proven” his innocence. It seems he finally wore them down, because he was set free after it was declared that there was not enough evidence against him. So much for a speedy trial. By the way, other than the lack of a jury system, jurisprudence rules here supposedly mirror ours almost exactly.

And check out this scam. A retired American who has spent much of his life helping children and young people by schooling them in the martial arts was approached by the local gendarmes and informed that he should either pay up or be charged. Charged with what? Well, there is an ordinance that no foreigner is to provide money or free stuff, including karate classes, to minors without first getting written permission from parents. His protest that he was not aware of that law and that he would cease and desist immediately until he had the required permissions in hand was dismissed. He was given the choice of paying immediately or going through a long-drawn-out time in court, including possible pretrial jail time. He was also informed that he not tell anyone of this or all bets were off. Rather than calling their “bluff,” if it was one, he paid some big bucks. So, in this case a well-meaning permanent resident foreigner finds out the hard way what justice means in these parts.

Pay up, that’s what it means.


Ed said...

I haven't kept up with the particulars of the first case but it made the news here yesterday or the day before. I shudder to think of spending 40 years in a Philippine prison.

Personally, even if I were single again, I would never think of trying to elicite sex in a foreign country just for the reason that I might end up in jail. A former friend of mine learned that the hard way in Mexico.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I think I'll post a response to your comments in a separate post you guys...

Darren, Jennifer, Madalin, Maximilian said...

anyone know of an american who's served time in philippine prison willing to talk to a Stars and Stripes reporter about the experience? interested in learning more about what Lance Cpl Smith could be facing if his appeal is denied. thanks.

Stan said...

I did follow the case and the verdict, however, not from your vantage point. This Smith kid is guilty of rape but the fact, the evident and the law if not “rape” for stupidity. Un-consensual sex by any mean is rape. Smith is a victim of circumstance. Since you are very knowledgeable on these kinds of incidence, there were a similar incidence in Okinawa, whereas, the Japan government wanted to expel the entire U.S. military. In fact, it is still considering it in a diplomatic way. I grant that one incidence is not the cause but it is the affect because these incidences built upon each other.

Back to the Smith case: he will not serve 40 years in a Philippine jail trust me. This case is all about the Filipino maintaining their dignity and sovereignty. That is the real issues. Are you knowledgeable on the Status of Force Agreement that the U.S. have in most country with a U.S. present? This agreement stripe a sovereign country of any jurisdiction regarding military personnel. Is it fair? In a Muslin country Smith would have receive the death penalty and a likely chance of being carry out depending upon it relationship with the U.S. Smith will be pardon and release to U.S. custom in a few years. In the mean time, some kind of compensation to the victim is likely

Something about me: I am retired AF too, my first visit there was 1965. I have live there for a long, long, time in Angeles. My wife is also Filipino. My kids were born there, and I have close in-law relationship there with business dealing. I feel a great personal relationship with Filipino people; and, how they treated in their own country. Remember we are always a guest in other country never forget that. This may or may not apply to the Philippines but you know the phase “Ugly-American.” Incidence what we are discussing generate that sentiment. Most foreigners like us as individuals but as a whole, we are still the “Ugly-American.”