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Makati judge enters not guilty plea for 4 GIs

Posted by Michille on April 28th, 2006

Makati judge enters not guilty plea for 4 GIs – ABS-CBN News!

A Makati regional trial court (RTC) judge on Friday entered a not guilty plea for the four US servicemen accused of raping a Filipina last November.

Makati RTC Judge Benjamin Pozon entered the plea for Daniel Smith, Keith Silkwood, Dominic Duplantis and Chad Carpentier after they refused to enter any statement.

The lawyers of the accused said their clients refused to enter any plea because the rape complainant failed to show up at the arraignment.

Earlier Pozon junked a justice department motion to reduce charges against three of the four US servicemen.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez earlier recommended the downgrading of rape charges against Silkwood, Duplantis and Carpentier from principal to accessories in the case.

Pozon, however, said he could not allow the downgrading of the charges against the three marines “on the basis of the evidence not yet presented” to the court.

He added that the motion “not only asks for the disregard of the requirements of due process but also tends to erode the court’s independence.”

Gonzalez said he will not contest Pozon’s decision. “I don’t want to be accused of lawyering again for the defense,” he said, adding that he respects the court’s independence.

The alleged rape happened in Subic on Nov. 1, 2005 after the US marines took part in joint US-Philippine military exercises in the former US naval base.

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