Oct 032014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2005-11-17 10:27
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 005396



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2015

REF: A. STATE 210275

¶B. MANILA 5371
¶C. MANILA 5348

Classified By: CDA Paul W. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary. The six U.S. Marines under investigation in
the alleged rape case have been moved to the U.S. Embassy
compound as of November 18. NCIS investigators have offered
their cooperation to GRP authorities but have only received
access to one witness (the driver of the van) so far. CDA
has reiterated request to DFA for full cooperation from and
access to witnesses and evidence by US investigators. The
media attention to the case has continued, most recently
fueled by the November 17 Congressional hearing into the
custody provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement. With
the Marines now more likely to have to appear before
prosecutors on November 23, according to their lawyers, the
media attention and security concerns will intensify. End

¶2. (C) The Marines moved to the Chancery compound on
November 18 (ref a). Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)
Commission Executive Director Zosimo Paredes requested access
to the Marines in their new location, and the opportunity to
photograph them there. Emboffs informed Paredes that he may
see the Marines in a Chancery conference room, but not where
they are billeted. We will not permit them to be
photographed. Emboffs also reiterated to Paredes the lack of
access by NCIS investigators to witnesses and evidence in the
case and reiterated our verbal and written requests for such
cooperation, as provided for under the VFA.

¶3. (C) Olongapo City prosecutor Prudencio Jalandoni assured
NCIS chief Beltz on November 17 that he and his staff would
cooperate with the parallel NCIS investigation in this case.
With the assistance of VFA’s Paredes, NCIS met on November 16
with the driver of the van in which the rape is alleged to
have occurred, and took a statement from him. Jalandoni
indicated no objection to NCIS access to the alleged victim
but noted that the victim’s lawyer had prevented even the
prosecutors from interviewing her so far. Jalandoni also
agreed that NCIS should have access to the doctor who
initially examined the victim and other key witnesses, as
well as well as to physical evidence. Jalandoni added that
Justice Secretary Gonzalez was “elated” with NCIS’ offer of
assistance in proceeding on the investigations. However,
Jalandoni’s staff was unable to make any such arrangements
for NCIS on November 18. NCIS chief Beltz will meet again
with Jalandoni on November 19 to reiterate these requests.
CDA renewed these requests for cooperation on November 18 to
Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs Abadilla, who offered
personally to work with NCIS to make such arrangements. NCIS
is now in direct contact with Abadilla with a list of desired
interviews and requests to view evidence. Embassy has also
requested a separate meeting with Justice Secretary Gonzalez
to discuss cooperation in this case, as well as other issues.

¶4. (C) The media attention to the case continues, now fueled
by a November 17 hearing by the Congressional VFA Oversight
Committee, specifically with regard to the arrangements for
custody under the agreement. Secretary Gonzalez, Director
Paredes and Acting Foreign Secretary Seguis were all grilled
by a bicameral panel of legislators seeking to assign blame
for the fact that the Marines are in U.S. custody. Senator
and Foreign Relations Committee Chairperson Miriam
Defensor-Santiago, a strong ally of President Arroyo, was
particularly aggressive in her questioning. CDA attempted
repeatedly to talk privately with Santiago on November 18 to
underscore US commitment to VFA provisions and the need for
cooperation between the two investigative teams, but was
unable to make contact.

¶5. (C) According to a lawyer for one of the Marines, the
prosecutor’s office will require the physical presence of the
Marines with the submission of their counter-affadavits, now
due on November 23 (the date initially set for a hearing by
the subpoenas). Embassy has not been able to confirm this;
Jalandoni had indicated to NCIS chief Beltz on November 17
that he did not/not believe the Marines needed to appear in
person. Embassy plans to meet with lawyers for the Marines
on November 21 to discuss the possible appearance of the
suspects in public, and necessary media and security
arrangements should they travel to Olangapo.



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