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News Release

19 June 2008

Reference: Joms Salvador, Spokesperson, 371-2302 / 09189182150


The militant women’s group GABRIELA vowed to give their full support to Nanay Melly, the mother of the 22-year old Filipina raped by a US soldier in Okinawa, Japan, in their quest for justice.

“A mother’s determined fight for justice for a daughter violated deserves the full support of the public,” said Joms Salvador, GABRIELA spokesperson in a press conference this morning.

“’Hazel’ is the epitome of a good daughter who sought employment abroad to support her family only to be brutalized. Yet, despite her trauma and agony of being far from her family, and knowing the odds of fighting a rapist soldier backed by the super power US and the Japanese government, Hazel exemplifies the bravery of a Filipino and is now courageously taking on this fight,” added Salvador.

The women’s group commended the resolve of ‘Hazel” and her family. Salvador noted that the victory of justice in the Subic rape case – a first in the history of legal fights on crimes committed by US soldiers in the Philippines – was founded on the united strength and determination of Nicole and her family and the support of the Filipino people.

“In the case of Hazel, we must amplify and intensify the people’s unity to fight for justice. The rapist soldier who violated Hazel will do anything to absolve himself of his crime. He has the support of his government, unlike Hazel who, seemingly, has been abandoned by the Philippine government,” said Salvador.

“The government’s neglect of Hazel is not surprising given the Arroyo government consistent betrayal of the Filipino people’s interest. This government robbed the people of our victory when they turned over the rapist soldier Daniel Smith to US custody.”

“We must all bear in mind that this is not just Nanay Melly’s fight for her daughter. This is the fight of all women for the respect of our rights. This is a fight of all Filipinos against the violation of our dignity as a people. This is a fight of an aggrieved people against a super power military that deems it can get away with brutalizing other people.” ###