Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06MANILA5109.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA5109 2006-12-30 03:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7093
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #5109/01 3640351
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 300351Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4412
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 0073
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4413
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 005109

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/30/2016
TAGS: PREL MARR CASC RP
SUBJECT: EMBASSY REGAINS CUSTODY OF LCPL. SMITH

REF: A. MANILA 5098
¶B. MANILA 5083

MANILA 00005109 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: A/DCM Scott Bellard, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (U) Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith returned to the
custody of the U.S. Embassy at approximately 11:30 p.m. local
time on December 29, escorted by a team from the Regional
Security Office as well as the Philippine National Police.
He will remain confined in the same quarters in the Rowe
Building on the Chancery grounds that he had occupied before
his December 4 conviction by the Makati Regional Court, which
ordered his temporary custody in the Makati City Jail.
Representatives from III MEF will remain with LCpl. Smith in
these quarters. The ACS chief contacted the family of LCpl.
Smith upon his return to the Embassy.

¶2. (U) On behalf of Secretary of Interior and Local
Government Puno, U/S Corpus turned over custody to the RSO at
the Makati City Jail at approximately 10:45 p.m., providing a
memorandum entitled “Turn-over of custody of LCpl. Daniel J.
Smith to US Custody,” which noted that the “living person in
good physical condition of Lance Corporal Daniel J. Smith, US
Marine Corps, is hereby respectfully turned over to the
custody of the U.S. Government thru the representatives of
the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.”

¶3. (C) U/S Corpus also provided a letter from Secretary
Puno to the Ambassador that included a lengthy opinion by
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales “affirming that the custody
of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith rightfully belongs to the
United States Government pending completion of all judicial
proceedings, including his appeal to the higher Philippine
Courts,” and noting that “based on the foregoing opinion of
the Philippine Government’s Legal Counsel, the Bureau of Jail
Management and Penology, an agency of the Department of the
Interior and Local Government, which administers the Makati
City Jail, stands ready to turn over custody of L/Cpl Smith
to the U.S. Embassy in accordance with the Visiting Forces
Agreement.” The Justice Secretary’s brief cited a 2000
Philippine Supreme Court decision acknowledging the
responsibility of the Philippine government to uphold
international obligations despite “violations committed by
any branch or subdivision of its government or any official
thereof.” It reviewed relevant provisions on custody in
Article V from the VFA. It highlighted the motions to the
Court of Appeals prepared by the Philippine Solicitor General
and emphasized that the Court had already “noted” — without
objection — agreement between the U.S. Ambassador and the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs (ref b) on the custody of LCpl.

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Smith, thereby complying with the ruling of the Regional
Trial Court judge.

¶4. (C) Executive Secretary Ermita confirmed to the
Ambassador late afternoon on December 29 that this solution
was in final stages and would receive the explicit blessing
of President Arroyo.

¶5. (SBU) The transfer was a major media story late on
December 29 and in newspapers on December 30, with the
private prosecutor in the rape case already claiming these
actions could be grounds for impeachment charges. The story
broke late enough that there has been no editorial comment as
of yet. There was a short demonstration by about 50
protesters from women’s groups near the Embassy on the
morning of December 30, but police handled them with
restraint and they dispersed quietly.

¶6. (C) Comment: This bold and welcome step by the
Philippine Government reflected its deep commitment to the
Visiting Forces Agreement and to its respect for its
international obligations, despite frustrations over judicial
decisions (or lack thereof). The legal reasoning of Justice
Secretary Gonzales seems clear, but is unlikely to placate

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opponents of the Administration or supporters of the
complainant in the rape case. The timing of the transfer was
undoubtedly with the expectation that the long holiday
weekend would muffle criticism, at least temporarily, and to
enable the Philippine Government to end the year with a clean
resolution of this issue. DFA contacts also suggested that
the Government in particular wished to clear up this problem
before Vice President de Castro’s attendance at the funeral
of late President Ford on January 2.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

MANILA 00005109 002.2 OF 002

KENNEY

   

 

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