Oct 032014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/04/07MANILA1043.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1043 2007-04-02 05:07 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO1256
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1043 0920507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020507Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5921
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS MANILA 001043

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP AND EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL RP
SUBJECT: New Trafficking Conviction

REF A: Manila 688
— B: 05 Manila 6039
— C. 05 Manila 5710

¶1. SUMMARY: A regional court in Zamboanga City on March 29
sentenced a member of a trafficking syndicate to life imprisonment
under Republic Act 9208 for having recruited six victims and peddled
them to a brothel in Sandakan, Malaysia. The case is the fifth
conviction resulting in a jail sentence specifically under the 2003
Philippine anti-trafficking law. Septel will discuss prosecutions
and convictions under related legislation. End Summary.

¶2. On March 29, the Sixteenth Regional Trial Court in Zamboanga
City (Mindanao) found a defendant guilty of “qualified” trafficking
under the Philippine Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003
(Republic Act 9208) and the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos
Act of 1995, sometimes called the “anti-illegal recruitment law”
(Republic Act 8042), both of which carry life prison sentences,
which the judge imposed. (Note: Under RA 9208, cases involving
criminal syndicates or the trafficking of minors are automatically
categorized as “qualified trafficking,” which carries a stiffer
penalty. End Note) He also fined the defendant six million pesos
(USD 125,000) and ordered her to pay each of the six victims 200,000
pesos (USD 41,165) for “moral and exemplary damages, plus court
costs.” The convicted trafficker is expected to file an appeal but
remains in jail.

¶3. According to the court’s ruling, the defendant, together with
other five members of a trafficking syndicate (still at at-large),
convinced the six victims to work as entertainers in Malaysia with
monthly salaries of 25,000 pesos (USG 520). In May 2005, the
trafficker escorted the victims from Manila to Zamboanga City, where
they boarded a ferry to Sandakan, Malaysia. A Malaysian national,
allegedly the defendant’s live-in partner, met the victims at the
Sandakan wharf and escorted them to the VIP Pub. For about a month
and a half, the six women were forced to provide sexual services to
several customers each day against their will and were threatened
and beaten up when they refused. The pub did not pay any of them
for their work. The owner reportedly told them that they owed money
to the pub for the expenses incurred in bringing them to Sandakan
and that they must pay their debts by providing sexual services to
the customers of the pub.

¶4. The victims were able to contact their families in the
Philippines, who reported their case to the Philippine Department of
Foreign Affairs (DFA), which instructed the victims to contact a
Filipino volunteer in Sandakan to get word to Malaysian authorities.
On July 12, 2005, Malaysian immigration authorities took into
custody all six victims, together with the defendant and her
Malaysian partner. (The Malaysian authorities later apparently
released from jail the defendant’s Malaysian partner.) The victims
said that the Malaysian national tried to bail out the defendant
from the Malaysian authorities, but without any success. For three
weeks, the victims and the defendant remained in a Malaysian
detention center for deportees, after which they were repatriated to
Zamboanga, thanks to the efforts of a Philippine Embassy volunteer.
The Philippine Embassy then coordinated with the Philippine National
Bureau of Investigation on the arrest of the defendant.

¶5. The same team of prosecutors and judge who prosecuted the first
Philippine TIP conviction in Zamboanga (refs b and c) also handled
this case. Lead prosecutor Ricardo Cabaron (the winner of the
Embassy’s prestigious Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Fellowship in Public
Service in 2007) and assistant prosecutor Darlene Pajarito filed the
case on August 24, 2005 and conducted the prosecution until May
2006, but Judge Jesus Carbon took ten months to issue his verdict.

¶6. Comment: This case is the country’s fifth conviction under RA
9208 resulting in a jail sentence, and Zamboanga City’s second TIP
case with convictions. The judicial system in the Philippines is
notoriously time-consuming, but Philippine authorities are
increasingly utilizing a variety of laws to go after the many types
of traffickers, as septel will discuss in greater depth.
KENNEY

   

 

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