Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/11/05MANILA5138.html

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA5138
2005-11-03 01:12
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 005138

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP DAS JOHN AND EAP/MTS

PACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR PHUM RP
SUBJECT: MANAGING THE IMPACT OF THE ALLEGED RAPE CASE
INVOLVING US MARINES

REF: A. COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI 030112Z NOV 05

— B. OPREP-3/CTF 76.4/022000Z NOV 05 (NOTAL)

¶1. (SBU) Embassy’s proactive consultations with Department
of Foreign Affairs officials, briefing of political leaders,
and interactions with media appear to have focused political
and media attention constructively on cooperation between
U.S. and Filipino authorities, according to the Visiting
Forces Agreement, in the alleged case of rape involving five
U.S. Marines. The decision for the five suspects to
disembark from the USS Essex and remain in the Philippines
under U.S. custody as the Philippine investigation proceeds
(ref a) was essential to our ability to manage public and
political perceptions in this highly emotional case. After
consulting with DFA officials early on November 3, CDA
briefed key congressional leaders on the U.S. approach to
the case. Once the news broke on Manila TV at midday,
Embassy released a public statement (para 5; press guidance
at para 6). CDA met Foreign Secretary Romulo in the
afternoon, after which CDA was interviewed by TV and print
journalists outside Romulo’s office. In each interaction,
we conveyed our intent strictly to adhere to the Visiting
Forces Agreement (VFA), make the suspects available to
Filipino authorities as provided for by the VFA, and
cooperate fully with Filipino counterparts as our respective
investigations proceed.

¶2. (SBU) CDA telephoned early on November 3 Chairman of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Miriam Defensor
Santiago, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Antonio Cuenco, Senator Dick Gordon (whose political base is
in Subic, where the alleged incident took place), and the
Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. All
interlocutors welcomed our proactive briefings and the
cooperative U.S. approach to the alleged incident. Senator
Santiago and Congressmen Cuenco underscored the importance
of the suspects having remained in the Philippines after
their ship departed to manage constructively political and
public perceptions. Senator Santiago later released a
positive press statement, highlighting the need to uphold
the VFA.

¶3. (SBU) In a meeting with Foreign Secretary Alberto
Romulo on November 3, CDA expressed appreciation for
cooperation from the DFA and in particular from the VFA
Commission as both governments begin to handle this
sensitive case. He pledged that we would strictly adhere to
the VFA. He noted that US military authorities were
conducting their own investigation, as such alleged acts
would constitute violations of US military and criminal law.
Romulo separately issued a statement, which noted that the
“US Embassy did not allow the accused to join the schedule
departure of their ship this morning and has given the
assurance that the accused will be made available to our
authorities.” Romulo and CDA had separate sessions with TV
and print journalists. In addition to drawing from Embassy
guidance, CDA pointed out that the suspects were innocent
until proven guilty and expressed condolences to the victim
and her family.

¶4. (SBU) Comment: In this first day, we appear to be
succeeding in managing the political and public fall-out of
this case. Had the accused Marines departed with their
ship, the political fall-out would have been completely
different. We will closely track public and political
perceptions as the investigations continue to ensure that
this case does not detract from our ability to hold
exercises in the Philippines in the future or distract from
cooperation in counter-terrorism and other issues. End
comment.

¶5. (SBU) Text of U.S. Embassy Statement Follows:
U.S. Embassy Manila November 3, 2005

Statement: Alleged Rape Incident Involving U.S. Marines in
Subic

Five U.S. Marines are alleged to have been involved in the
rape of a Filipina citizen, which allegedly occurred in
Subic on November 1, 2005. The five U.S. Marines are
currently in the Philippines under the responsibility of the
U.S. Embassy in Manila.

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provides the mechanism
for U.S. and Filipino authorities to work together to
determine the facts of the case and to ensure that accused
individuals are available to both Filipino and U.S.
investigators, since the allegations would be crimes under
both Filipino and U.S. law. The U.S. will strictly adhere
to the provisions of the VFA, and will cooperate closely
with Philippine authorities to ensure this case is handled
fairly and that justice is done.

The U.S. takes reports of violations of U.S. and Philippine
law by U.S. military personnel very seriously, and will
fully cooperate with the Philippine authorities in the
investigation of this incident.

¶6. (U) EMBASSY MANILA PRESS GUIDANCE, November 3, 2005

Alleged Rape Incident Involving U.S. Marines in Subic

Q: Have a group of US Marines been charged with the rape of
a Filipina citizen in Subic while they were on shore leave?

– Five U.S. Marines are alleged to have been involved in the
rape of a Filipina citizen, which allegedly occurred in
Subic on November 1, 2005. The five U.S. Marines are
currently in the Philippines under the responsibility of the
U.S. Embassy in Manila.

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provides the mechanism
for U.S. and Filipino authorities to work together to
determine the facts of the case and to ensure that accused
individuals are available to both Filipino and U.S.
investigators, since the allegations would be crimes under
both Filipino and U.S. law. The U.S. will strictly adhere
to the provisions of the VFA, and will cooperate closely
with Philippine authorities to ensure this case is handled
fairly and that justice is done.

The U.S. takes reports of violations of U.S. and Philippine
law by U.S. military personnel very seriously, and will
fully cooperate with the Philippine authorities in the
investigation of this incident.

Q: Where are the five U.S. Marines now? Are they in
Filipino or U.S. custody?

The five Marines are in the Philippines, under the
responsibility of the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

Q: We heard that one US Marine was released back to the U.S
military and left the country. Was he involved?

One U.S. Marine was briefly detained on charges of rape, and
was later released to the U.S. military when it was
determined he had no role in the alleged incident.

Q: How will this case be handled between the U.S. and
Filipino authorities?

The question of criminal jurisdiction over visiting US
forces is covered in the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces
Agreement. Officials from the U.S. Embassy and U.S.
military are working with Filipino officials to determine
the facts of the case.

Q: Does this case threaten future U.S.-Philippines joint
military cooperation?

The U.S. and the Philippines have a robust and active
military-to-military partnership which includes numerous on-
going activities, such as assistance to Philippine Defense
Reform (PDR); counter-terrorism training; intelligence
fusion support; annual exercises; civil military operations;
senior official visits; international military education and
training programs; and advice and support for logistics,
engineering, equipment, and maintenance.

We expect this cooperation will continue.

Q: Doesn’t this case show that U.S. soldiers are a danger
to the Filipino people when they are here on duty or on
leave?

U.S. military personnel visiting the Philippines are made
aware of Philippine culture and sensitivities, and their
obligation to respect Philippine and U.S. laws. They also
understand that they are fully accountable for their
behavior. Tens of thousands of American service members
have trained with their Filipino counterparts in past years,
without negative incidents.
We take any reports of inappropriate or illegal behavior
very seriously, and investigate any such reports thoroughly,
in cooperation with Filipino authorities.

Q: Names of the Marine involved? Further details on the
alleged incident?

The incident is currently under investigation. Appropriate
details will be released once the investigation is complete.
JONES

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.