Oct 032014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06MANILA3913.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3913 2006-09-15 09:38 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO4166
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DE RUEHML #3913/01 2580938
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150938Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2995
INFO RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 0034
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003913

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR KCRM CASC RP
SUBJECT: MARINE CASE UPDATE 09/15/06

REF: MANILA 3875 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. SUMMARY. The Defense case in the trial of four Marines
accused of raping a Philippine woman commenced the week of
September 11 with testimony from the accused LCpl Daniel
Smith, and another Marine LCpl Justin Bamberger. The
subpoena served to the Embassy requesting presentation by
NCIS of the clothes worn by LCpl Smith the night of the
alleged incident has been overtaken by events. The
Prosecution and the Defense have agreed that the Court will
receive the garments and that neither side would challenge
that they are the clothes worn by Smith on November 1. On
September 17 the complainant and her family publicly called
for the replacement of the Prosecution and reportedly sent a
letter requesting this to the Philippine Department of
Justice. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said September 18
that he had not received this letter but that when he does,
he will take their request under advisement. Current U.S.
Embassy talking points on this case are provided in paragraph
7 below. END SUMMARY.

¶2. LCpl Smith testified that he met the complainant the
night of November 1, that the sexual activity between the two
of them was consensual, and that he made an informal
arrangement to meet her again the following evening. LCpl
Bamberger, a former acquaintance of the complainant,
testified that the complainant initially denied she was the
victim of rape via text messages received the morning of
November 2, and then changed her story via additional text
messages to him about eight hours later.

¶3. The subpoena served to the Embassy by the Defense
requesting that an NCIS official present in court the
garments worn by LCpl Smith the night of November 1 (ref) has
been overtaken by events. The Prosecution and the Defense
have agreed to let the Court directly receive the clothing
with the stipulation that each side agree that they are
indeed the clothes worn by LCpl Smith on the night of
November 1. No testimony from an NCIS official will be
needed. Department can disregard the recommendation in
MANILA 3875.

¶4. The Defense is expected to call medical expert Dr.
Teresita Sanchez and the other three Marines involved in the
alleged incident to testify next week, and perhaps wrap up
their case by the week’s end. There will then be an
opportunity for the Prosecution to commence a rebuttal case,
and then the case will proceed to the verdict phase after
both the Prosecution and the Defense submit a Memorandum of
Law to Judge Pozon. A verdict is not currently expected
until mid to late October at the earliest.

¶5. On September 14, the complainant and her mother abruptly
walked out of the courtroom immediately before testimony was
set to begin for the day. In an impromptu press conference
later that afternoon, she publicly called on the Philippine
Department of Justice (DOJ) to replace the prosecutors on the
case because she did not believe they had prepared adequately
for the cross examination of LCpl Smith. The complainant’s
mother reportedly sent a letter to the Philippine DOJ
requesting replacement of four of the five prosecutors.

¶6. On September 15, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said
publicly that he had not seen any letter from the complainant
or her family, but that “(o)nce I get that letter, let’s see
if they have a very, very good reason for such a request,”
adding, “We cannot just replace the panel because they think
these people are incompetent.” It is unclear at this time
what impact a potential change in prosecutors would have on
the timeline for finishing the case. Testimony scheduled for
September 15 was postponed until September 18 at the request
of the Prosecution.

¶7. Current U.S. Embassy public affairs talking points on
this case are as follows:

This has been an emotional and difficult case for everyone
involved.

It is the principle of Philippine and American law that
anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven
guilty. The U.S. is committed to seeing that justice is
served, through a fair and impartial process that can provide
for a just outcome.

The U.S. has cooperated with Philippine authorities in
accordance with the Visiting Forces Agreement since day one.
The case is being tried by a Philippine judge under
Philippine jurisdiction.

MANILA 00003913 002 OF 002

¶8. Mission continues to provide security, citizen services,
and other support to the defendants. Personnel from III MEF,
JUSMAG, the Regional Security Office (RSO), and the Consular
Section will continue to attend all court sessions. RSO
remains pleased with the extent and quality of security
support provided by the mayor’s office and police department.
The Consular Section continues to respond to family member
inquiries.

KENNEY

   

 

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