Oct 042014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/05/05MANILA2294.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA2294 2005-05-19 05:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002294

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/PMBS, G/TIP, EAP/RSP, INL, DRL/IL, DRL/CA
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE/TS – SAULS
LABOR FOR ILAB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KCRM KWMN RP
SUBJECT: TIP: GRP WORKS TO STRENGTHEN PROSECUTIONS AS
AUTHORITIES MAKE HIGH-PROFILE ARRESTS

REF: A. MANILA 2200

¶B. MANILA 2193
¶C. MANILA 1815
¶D. MANILA 607

¶1. (U) Summary: A committee of the Philippine Supreme Court
is reportedly about to issue a new rule that would prohibit
judges from dismissing cases based on a minor’s unwillingness
to testify. The rule aims to address the problem of victims
recanting their testimony after being threatened or bribed by
defendants. In other trafficking-related news, Philippine
government (GRP) agencies recently made several high-profile
arrests and conducted rescues, including of minors. The fact
the GRP and the judiciary are actively addressing the problem
of witness tampering and its impact on trials is a positive
step for TIP prosecutions. End Summary.

—————————————-
Supreme Court Works to Protect TIP Cases
—————————————-

¶2. (U) Ref D reported on the difficulty of prosecuting TIP
cases given that victims often recant their testimony after
being bribed or threatened by defendants. To try to ensure
that cases move forward regardless of such incidents, GRP
Secretary of Justice Raul M. Gonzalez issued unequivocal

SIPDIS
instructions on April 12 to prosecutors requiring them to
object to any motion to dismiss TIP cases based on withdrawal
of testimony (Ref C). In addition, at the urging of NGOs and
the GRP, the Philippine judiciary is now examining additional
steps meant to protect prosecutions. The Supreme Court’s
“Committee on Revision of the Rules of Court,” for example,
is seriously considering a proposal that would prohibit
judges from dismissing cases based on a minor’s unwillingness
to testify. Although some defense attorneys oppose the
proposed rule change, Mission understands that the Committee
is inclined to accept the proposal and then ask the Supreme
Court to implement it through a national circular.

¶3. (U) NGOs and government prosecutors have often complained
to poloffs that defense attorneys appear to hold most of the
cards in trafficking cases. NGOs — who by Philippine law
are allowed to investigate cases and bring prosecutions for
trafficking — seem encouraged by recent trends and have told
us that the DoJ instructions have already assisted in the
prosecution of TIP cases. NGOs expect that prosecutors will
be further empowered if the Supreme Court indeed does go
ahead and issue the new rules.

———————–
New Arrests and Rescues
———————–

¶4. (U) GRP agencies have recently made arrests and conducted
rescues in the following high-profile trafficking-related
cases:

— On May 11, the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested
two men and a woman in Caloocan, Metro Manila, and rescued
seven minors from a brothel. One of the minors was 12 years
old, two were 13, two were 14, one was 16, and one was 17.
The proprietor had lured the victims with promises of
legitimate employment and education. The PNP turned the case
over to DoJ prosecutors with a recommendation for prosecution
under the Anti-Trafficking law and related statutes.

— On May 12, the National Bureau of Investigation’s
Anti-Human Trafficking Division (NBI-AHTRAD) arrested two
women and rescued several minors in a raid on a Manila
brothel. The NBI turned the case over to Manila city
prosecutors with a recommendation for prosecution under the
Anti-Trafficking law and related statutes.

— On April 28, NBI-AHTRAD agents, working with the
Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, arrested an unlicensed
entertainment promoter. Agents, acting on a tip from local
journalists, also rescued 17 victims, including three minors,
in Nueva Ecija, a rural province located north of Manila.
The promoter had recruited the victims with promises of work
in the entertainment field in Canada and Japan after several
months of “training” in her rural nightclub. The NBI turned
the case over to DoJ prosecutors with a recommendation for
prosecution under the Anti-Trafficking law and related
statutes.

——-
Comment
——-

¶5. (U) The fact that the GRP and the judiciary are actively
addressing the problem of witness tampering and its impact on
trials is a net positive for TIP prosecutions. At the same
time, while the arrests and rescues are most welcome, the
increased volume of cases being developed by law enforcement
agencies is adding to the caseload of prosecutors and judges,
who are struggling to handle the influx. Mission is
continuing to assist the GRP in building prosecutorial
capacity, including through the sponsorship of a weeklong
training program in June for police officers, prosecutors and
judges (Ref B).
MUSSOMELI

   

 

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