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Subject: Generality and Territoriality

Suzette Nicolas v. Alberto Romulo

G.R. no. 175888
February 11, 2009

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.

Should the Philippines have custody of the defendant L/CPL Smith?

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.