Cablegate: Marine Case: Verdict Planned for November 27
DE RUEHML #4257 2790622
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 060622Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3331
INFO RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 0038
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 004257
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR KCRM CASC RP
SUBJECT: MARINE CASE: VERDICT PLANNED FOR NOVEMBER 27
REF: MANILA 4176 AND PREVIOUS
1. The Prosecution announced in a brief hearing on October 5
that it will not after all present rebuttal evidence before
the court in the case of the four Marines accused of raping a
Filipino woman. At the hearing, Judge Benjamin Pozon gave
the Prosecution and Defense 30 days to file Memoranda of
Evidence. There will be no oral summations. He also
announced that he planned to render his verdict on November
27. (Comment: It is possible that this date could shift
until later, i.e., if lawyers for either the prosecution or
defense seek extensions on the submission of their memoranda.
2. This latest development renders unnecessary the Embassy's
request (ref a) for Department's concurrence in allowing
Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) witnesses Guy
Papageorge and Tony Ramos to testify in the Prosecution's
rebuttal case on October 5 and 6.
3. Tensions between the complainant and the chief prosecutor
remain high. According to press reports, the family of the
complainant submitted an affidavit to the Department of
Justice claiming that Chief Prosecutor Emelie de los Santos
had pushed for an out of court settlement in the case as
early as July 2006. De los Santos allegedly responded: "They
can easily weave together any story, but they still need to
4. In a television interview with Lei Alvez of GMA-7 that
aired on October 4 and 5, LCpl Daniel Smith denied any
settlement talks originated from the Defense, saying "even if
there was an attempt to settle, I wouldn't want to because
this is my life and I'm being accused of what I feel is the
worst thing anybody can be accused of... I would like my name
to be cleared." In the same TV interview, Staff Sgt.
Carpentier clarified his direct testimony regarding his
opinion that the complainant was a "professional," saying,
"the statement that I made was in the context of being asked
my impression of her behavior that night. And based on my
observation... that was the conclusion that I came to."
Portions of this television interview were also carried
widely in Philippine print media.
5. The Defense had rested on September 25, after calling
only six witnesses: the four accused Marines themselves;
another Marine and friend of the complainant, LCpl Justin
Bamberger; and Defense medical expert Dr. Teresita Sanchez.
6. With testimony complete, we expect increased attention to
possible verdicts. Emboffs at all levels will decline to
speculate publicly or privately on the verdict or its
possible aftermath, while continuing to underscore the
presumption of innocence of the accused. Current public
affairs talking points on this case are:
- This has been an emotional and difficult case for everyone
- It is the principle of Philippine and American law that
anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven
guilty. The U.S. is committed to seeing that justice is
served, through a fair and impartial process that can provide
for a just outcome.
- The U.S. has cooperated with Philippine authorities in
accordance with the Visiting Forces Agreement since day one.
The case is being tried by a Philippine judge under
- It would be inappropriate for the United States to
speculate on the verdict that the Philippine judge may render.
7. Mission continues to provide security, citizen services,
and other support to the defendants. Personnel from III MEF,
JUSMAG, the Regional Security Office (RSO), and the Consular
Section attended all court sessions. RSO was consistently
pleased with the extent and quality of security support
provided by the mayor's office and police department. The
Consular Section has responded to family member inquiries.
Embassy continues to provide access to some fitness and
sports facilities on the Chancery grounds for the four
Marines, as well as to respond favorably to many of their
requests to contribute services on an as-needed basis
(painting, clean-up, etc.), also within Chancery grounds.