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Cablegate: Nomination for 2009 International Women of Courage:

VZCZCXRO7610
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2435/01 3030700
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290700Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2197
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002435

FOR G/IWI (ANDREA BOTTNER)
FOR EAP/MTS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWMN PREL KPAO PHUM RP
SUBJECT: NOMINATION FOR 2009 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE:
KATRINA LEGARDA

REF: SECSTATE 99729

1. (SBU) This cable responds to the action request of reftel,
paragraph 11. Post is pleased to nominate lawyer, author,
journalist, and activist Ms. Katrina Legarda for the Secretary's
2009 Award for International Women of Courage (IWOC).

FULL NAME OF NOMINEE: Attorney Katrina Legarda, a.k.a. Maria
Carolina Legarda

JOB TITLE/ASSOCIATION: Founding Chairman, Child Justice League

DATE OF BIRTH: September 10, 1954

COUNTRY OF BIRTH: Philippines

CITIZENSHIP: Philippines

ADDRESS: Legarda Compound, Sobriedad corner Ventura Streets,
Balic-balic, Sampaloc, Manila

TELEPHONE: Mobile phone number +63-929-962-5564

EMAIL: legarda910@gmail.com

PASSPORT NUMBER: XX1228137, issued in Manila on May 22, 2008. (The
letter 'x' in passport number is intentional.)

DETAILED JUSTIFICATION FOR THE AWARD:

Attorney Katrina Legarda has played a vital role for over a decade
in the Philippines' campaign for the protection and advocacy of the
rights of women and children, making her today one of the most
visible equality activists in the country. Among her most
significant accomplishments is the 1999 founding of the Child
Justice League, a foundation that provides free legal assistance to
abused children and children in conflict with the law, educates
others on legal remedies for such children, and advocates for policy
reform on their behalf. While maintaining involvement in the Child
Justice League, she also serves as legal consultant to the Child
Protection Unit Network, which works with the Department of Health
and other agencies to improve the quality of care services for
abused children. She ably chaired the 7th Asian Regional Conference
of the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and
Neglect (ISPCAN) in Manila in September 2007. She is currently
ISPCAN Asian regional coordinator. She is also the president of the
Women's Legal Circle, an organization that provides free legal
assistance to women and children and funds a jail decongestion
program for minors.

A talented and widely respected lawyer, author, journalist, and
activist, Legarda was lead counsel in the famous 1997 statutory rape
case against a member of Congress, who was ultimately convicted and
continues serving his sentence. In the year 2000, as counsel to a
woman on death row convicted of parricide, she persuaded the Supreme
Court to recognize the "Battered Wife Syndrome" as a legitimate
defense, leading to a reduced sentence. She became a tireless
supporter of the Philippines Anti-Violence Against Women and
Children Act of 2004, providing legal recourse to victims of
domestic violence. She continues to be an outspoken advocate for
the enactment and implementation of laws that can further protect
the rights of women, children, and other social groups in the
Philippines. She is also a member of the recently formed Bantay
Korte Suprema (Supreme Court Watch) which is working to ensure that
only individuals of strong integrity are appointed to the high
court.

In the 1990s, she founded the political party "Abanse! Pinay" (Move
Forward! Filipina) to push for women's rights legislation in
Congress. The party won its first seat in the House of
Representatives in the 1998 national elections, and was reelected in
2001. Moving away from direct political involvement, Legarda has
since focused on educating Filipinos to secure and enforce their
rights under the law.

In addition to teaching students at several universities on
jurisprudence and judicial ethics, among other subjects, Legarda
trains judges, prosecutors, social workers, and police personnel in
the Philippines on the investigation of crimes involving women and
children. She continues to educate the public on women's and
children's rights through print, radio, and television. Her regular
appearances on the ABS-CBN news network's morning program and a
related internet column provide a national outlet for her trusted
legal advice to women who are struggling with spousal abuse, child
support, child custody, divorce and annulment, and even economic and
livelihood issues.


MANILA 00002435 002 OF 002


Assessing her activism from a broader perspective, Legarda
demonstrates the spirit enshrined in the President's Freedom Agenda
through her support for democracy, good governance, and human
rights. She has been a critic of corruption in the Philippines, a
key target area for U.S. development assistance, and a vocal
supporter of consumer rights. On human rights, she has been an
outspoken critic of laws in the Philippines that punish adultery but
do not provide for legal divorce, limiting the ability of women to
remove themselves from abusive relationships. She has spoken and
written about the legal rights of the underprivileged, including the
homeless, with a focus on land rights, another target area for U.S.
development assistance.

For her contributions, she received the "Women Helping Women" and
"Women Advancing the Status of Women" Awards from the International
Soroptimist Club, as well as the prestigious Young Professional
Award given by Parangal ng Bayan Foundation, which recognizes the
national contribution of outstanding Filipino achievers. Legarda
participated in a 1992 IVP multi-regional program to the United
States on "The Independent Judiciary."

For her role in improving the ability of Filipinos to protect their
rights and inform themselves about their rights under the law,
particularly women and children, Post encourages the Department to
select Attorney Katrina Legarda as the EAP recipient for the
Secretary's 2009 International Women of Courage Award.

2. (SBU) Post has informed Legarda of the nomination and, should she
be selected, she is willing to accept the award.

KENNEY

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