Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/12/06MANILA5071.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA5071 2006-12-21 09:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0936
OO RUEHNH
DE RUEHML #5071 3550921
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 210921Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4367
INFO RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 0070
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 005071

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2016
TAGS: PREL MARR CASC RP
SUBJECT: MARINE CASE: JUDICIAL PROCESSES TO DECIDE CUSTODY ISSUE

REF: MANILA 5039

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

¶1. (C) Ambassador on December 21 discussed with President
Arroyo latest developments in the judicial deliberations on
the custody issue involving Lance Corporal Smith,
underscoring the importance of living up to the obligations
under the Visiting Forces Agreement. President Arroyo
assured the Ambassador that the Philippine government was
“doing everything we can” to speed up this process and to
ensure a quick and favorable decision.

¶2. (C) Following Ambassador’s private meeting with
Executive Secretary Ermita on December 20 (reftel), the
Cabinet met to consider options available to the Philippine
government to secure the transfer of custody back to the U.S.
of LCpl. Smith in order to uphold its commitments under the
VFA. After heated debate, with the National Security Advisor
and Secretary of Interior and Local Government (whose
department oversees the police and the prison system) pushing
for possibly extralegal actions in defiance of the Regional
Trial Court’s order, the Cabinet decided to instruct the
Solicitor General to work to obtain immediate and favorable
action by the Court of Appeals, or, if need be, by the
Supreme Court. There was general concern that any other
course of action could backfire on obtaining a favorable
ruling and could even more seriously jeopardize the VFA.

¶3. (U) Later on December 20, after meeting with Embassy’s
Justice Attache, the Philippine Solicitor General filed a
“Very Urgent Manifestation and Motion” to the Court of
Appeals, confirming that both the U.S. and Philippine
governments, represented by the Ambassador and the Foreign
Secretary, were in full agreement that Lance Corporal Smith

SIPDIS
should be returned to U.S. military custody at the U.S.
Embassy in Manila in accordance with the VFA. On behalf of
the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Solicitor General
“urgently and respectfully” requested the Court of Appeals to
turn LCpl. Smith over to the U.S> Embassy “immediately.”

¶4. (U) The DFA, working with the Solicitor General, is also
preparing additional comments to submit to the Court of
Appeals within ten days on the custody issue and on VFA
obligations, should the Court of Appeals not grant a
Temporary Restraining Order against the December 4 order of
custody by the Regional Trial Court. (The Court of Appeals
has ruled against the motion for a TRO by the attorneys for
LCpl. Smith but now has the option of responding to the
Solicitor General’s manifestation.)

¶5. (C) According to the Solicitor General, the government
will submit a motion in early January to transfer
jurisdiction of the case directly to the Supreme Court if the
Appeals Court has not by then ruled favorably on the custody
issue. The Supreme Court will go back in session in
mid-January.

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/
KENNEY

   

 

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