Oct 042014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/04/07MANILA1054.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1054 2007-04-02 07:45 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO1330
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1054 0920745
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020745Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5929
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS MANILA 001054

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP AND EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: N:A
TAGS: PHUM PREL RP
SUBJECT: PROSECUTING TIP OFFENDERS

REF: A. MANILA 1043
– B. MANILA 688

¶1. Summary. Philippine authorities are increasingly focused on
labor trafficking as well as trafficking for purposes as for
prostitution and are relying on a variety of legislation to bring
the culprits to justice. The cumbersome nature of the overburdened
Philippine legal system, notably the slowness of trials and the
paucity of judges and prosecutors, remains the biggest brake on the
number of successful convictions in TIP cases. USAID’s Rule of Law
Effectiveness Program is working on systemic improvements in this
domain, but clear results will take time to appear. End Summary.

¶2. Philippine authorities, with the help of some NGOs including the
U.S.-based International Justice Mission (IJM) with assistance from
the U.S. Government, are actively pursuing numerous prosecutions
related to trafficking, using a variety of legal tools. Key items
of legislation include:
— Republic Act 9231: “Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labor
Act”
— Republic Act 9208: “The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act”
— Republic Act 8239: “Philippine Passport Act of 1996”
— Republic Act 8042: “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos
Act” aka the “Anti-Illegal Recruitment Law”
— Republic Act 7610: “Anti-Child Labor Act”

¶3. Based on admittedly incomplete statistics collected by the
Philippine Department of Justice from its local and field offices,
there have been at least 269 trafficking cases since 2003, resulting
in a total of nine convictions (actually ten, counting the March 29
conviction – ref a – not yet included in the latest DOJ update).
Four out of these nine convictions resulted in life sentences. At
present, at least 117 trials are underway using any or several of
the above-mentioned pieces of legislation. At least another 122
cases are in the preliminary investigation phase, while 73 other
cases have been dismissed or dropped, usually due to the lack of
cooperation from victims and/or witnesses. Notably, there has only
been one acquittal since DOJ starting keeping statistics in 2003,
the year the landmark RA 9208 went into effect.

¶4. Of these cases, trials are underway in at least five cases
specifically involving RA 8042 for labor trafficking, with an
additional 22 cases now under preliminary investigation. There was
one conviction in a 2005 case filed under RA 8042. Legal action in
at least ten of these cases began in 2006, slightly down from the
sixteen cases in 2005. At least four more cases involving illegal
recruitment, but under RA 9208, are in the works already in 2007 but
have not yet led to the filing of charges.

¶5. Officials at the Visayan Forum Foundation, an NGO that with USG
assistance runs prevention programs and operates half-way houses for
victims, have commented to poloffs recently that Philippine
authorities appear increasingly to recognize that an initial focus
since the 2003 TIP law on prostitution cases was overly narrow, and
have begun to apply much more official energy on labor-related cases
as well. VFF-assisted victims are engaged in at least two legal
cases of trafficking for forced labor — at a sugar cane plantation
in Batangas province and at a poultry farm in Isabela province.
Currently, the cases in which IJM prosecutors are involved in
Philippine courts include one under RA 8042 and five under RA 7610.
In the latter cases of child labor, IJM has already helped to win
four convictions in one case, and two in yet another. IJM is also
currently helping to prosecute 23 cases under RA 9208.

¶6. Comment: The cumbersome nature of the overburdened Philippine
legal system — notably the slowness of trials largely due to
delaying tactics by defendants and the paucity of judges and
prosecutors — remains the biggest brake on the number of successful
convictions in TIP cases. USAID’s Rule of Law Effectiveness
Program is working on systemic improvements in this domain, but more
dramatic results will take time. Well-intentioned Philippine law
enforcement and judicial officials remain clearly committed to
bringing any and all culprits of trafficking in persons for any
purpose to justice, and to cooperating even more effectively with
the U.S. and other donors, as well as with local and international
NGOs, to make this happen.

KENNEY

   

 

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