Nicolas v Romulo

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Subject: Generality and Territoriality Suzette Nicolas v. Alberto Romulo G.R. no. 175888 February 11, 2009 Facts: Respondent Lance Corporal (L/CPL) Daniel Smith, a member of the United States Armed Forced was charged with the crime of rape against petitioner Suzette Nicolas. The Regional Trial Court of Makati found respondent guilty. Furthermore, pursuant to Article V, paragraph no. 10 of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), respondent shall serve his sentence in the facilities agreed upon by appropriate Philippine and United States authorities, while pending agreement and he shall be temporarily detained in Makati City Jail. On December 29, 2006, Smith was brought to a facility for a detention under the control of the US government, provided for under the Romulo-Kenney agreement executed. Issue: Should the Philippines have custody of the defendant L/CPL Smith? Ruling: Anent to the ruling that the VFA is constitutional and valid, however the Court found that there is a different treatment when it comes to detention as against custody. The moment the accused has to be detained, Section 10 of Article V of the VFA reads that the confinement or detention of Philippine authorities of the US personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippines and United States authorities… and that detention shall be “by Philippine authorities.” Therefore, the Romulo-Kenney Agreements are not in accordance with the VFA. The Court ordered the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to negotiate with the US authorities.

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