Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06MANILA4953.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4953 2006-12-11 09:40 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO1450
OO RUEHNH
DE RUEHML #4953 3450940
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 110940Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4225
INFO RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 0060
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 004953

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2016
TAGS: PREL MARR CASC RP
SUBJECT: FURTHER DELAY IN MARINE CASE CUSTODY HEARING

REF: MANILA 4933 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (U) At a hearing on December 11, Makati City Regional
Trial Court Judge Pozon heard oral arguments from the
Department of Justice about why the Visiting Forces Agreement
(VFA) authorizes that the U.S. should retain custody of Lance
Corporal Smith during the ongoing judicial proceedings. When
questioned, senior representatives of the Department of
Foreign Affairs, whom Pol/C had urged to be present for such
a contingency, voiced full support for this position and
urged the immediate return of LCpl. Smith to U.S. custody.
However, the private prosecutor assisting the complainant in
the case instead urged a review of the original intent of the
negotiators of the VFA. Judge Pozon deferred a decision on
the motions from the defense and private prosecutor without
setting a date for his decision, although defense attorneys
predict it will come on December 12 given the judge’s
vacation plans.

¶2. (C) Embassy’s Justice Attache, who was also present in
court, continues to work with defense attorneys, and is now
coordinating a motion to the Court of Appeals.

¶3. (C) Ambassador contacted President Arroyo, underlining
President Bush’s message to Ambassador Gaa on December 8 and
urging additional steps by the Philippine Government to help
Judge Pozon understand the terms of the VFA and the
importance of abiding by the Philippine’s international
obligations. She and other senior Embassy officials have
also urged related actions by Executive Secretary Ermita,
other cabinet members, leaders of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, and senior DFA and DOJ officials directly
handling the case. All expressed full support for the return
to U.S. custody of LCpl. Smith and agreed on need to comply
with the VFA. No one, however, offered any new ideas of how
to speed up Judge Pozon’s decision-making process, while
nonetheless providing assurances of a favorable decision
“soon.”

¶4. (C) Embassy recommends that the next step, should this
situation continue past December 12, is for Admiral Fallon or
a senior PACOM official to contact AFP chief General Esperon
to underscore the probable implications for military
exchanges and assistance, including humanitarian support for
natural disasters and in Mindanao, should the Philippines’
ability to uphold the VFA remain in question indefinitely.

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

   

 

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