Filipino who accused Marine of rape changes story
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A Filipino woman whose accusations of rape led to the high-profile conviction of a U.S. Marine has altered her testimony, saying in an affidavit that she may have led him to believe she wanted sex.
The woman moved to the U.S. this week and is no longer willing to talk about the case, her lawyer said Wednesday. Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, convicted in 2006 of raping the woman and sentenced to 40 years in prison, remains detained at the U.S. Embassy while he pursues an appeal.
The case strained U.S.-Philippine military relations and became a rallying point for anti-American protesters who have called for the scrapping of a pact that allows U.S. troops to train Filipino soldiers.
Smith's accuser submitted a five-page affidavit to an appeals court Tuesday saying she now doubts her own version of events.
"My conscience continues to bother me realizing that I may have in fact been so friendly and intimate with Daniel Smith ... that he was led to believe that I was amenable to having sex or that we simply just got carried away," the woman said in the statement.
She described the two were drinking, kissing and dancing at a bar at the former U.S. Naval base at Subic Bay before moving to a van, where she originally told the court she was raped while she passed out. Smith had insisted the sex was consensual.
The turnabout has shocked her supporters, including lawyer Evalyn Ursua, who said her client terminated her services this week then moved to the U.S. to start a new life and was no longer willing to talk.
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said the woman could be charged with perjury.
"I am not happy with her because her accusations divided the nation, then she turns her back on everything," he said, adding that the case had affected the country's foreign policy.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila is consulting with American government legal experts in Washington on the case, embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Thompson said, without elaborating. She refused to comment on reports that the woman had gone to the United States.
Smith, 23, from St. Louis, Missouri, is appealing his conviction. Last month, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled he should be serving his sentence in a Philippine jail but left it to the government to negotiate his transfer with Washington.