Oct 032014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/04/06MANILA1519.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA1519 2006-04-04 08:50 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #1519 0940850
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040850Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0364
INFO RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
UNCLAS MANILA 001519

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, L/EAP, EAP/PD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR KCRM CASC RP
SUBJECT: NEW VENUE, JUDGE ANNOUNCED IN ALLEGED RAPE CASE

REF: A. MANILA 1366

¶B. MANILA 1219 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (U) On March 28, the Philippine Supreme Court transferred
the case of four Marines accused of raping a Filipina from
Olongapo City to Makati City in metro Manila. The Department
of Justice (DOJ) had requested the change of venue after the
original judge, Renato Dilag, recused himself due to a
potential conflict of interest (ref A). In moving for a
change of venue, the DOJ noted that only two other trial
judges were eligible to take the case in Olongapo; of these,
one had a potential conflict of interest in the case, similar
to that of Dilag, while the other is scheduled to retire in
December and might not be able to see the case to its
conclusion.

¶2. (U) On April 3, the case was assigned by lottery to
Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Benjamin Pozon, who is on
leave and not expected to return to the bench until April 17.
According to local press reports, Pozon is currently
handling almost 700 cases, but has never tried a rape case.

¶3. (SBU) King Rodrigo, lead counsel on the team defending
the Marines, told poloff on April 4 that he did not know
Pozon either personally or by reputation. He speculated that
the perhaps the biggest impact of the change of venue would
be greater ease in staging public demonstrations than in the
more distant Olongapo City. Rodrigo also speculated that the
DOJ would seek to avoid public controversy by simply not
ruling on the petition filed by three of the Marines to
reverse the prosecutor’s finding of probable cause. Rodrigo
confirmed that the DOJ is not required formally to rule on
the petition; if it does not, the case moves forward. In
late March, local press reported that the DOJ might rule in
favor of the three Marines or else lessen the charge against
them, but Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez publicly denied
this on March 24.
Kenney

   

 

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