|06MANILA5014||2006-12-15 09:40:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Manila|
1. (C) On December 15, the Philippine Solicitor General,
on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs as a "real
party-in-interest," filed a petition-in-intervention with the
Court of Appeals in support of the motion already filed by
Lance Corporal Daniel Smith's defense attorneys to return
custody to the U.S. Government in accordance with the terms
of the Visiting Forces Agreement. Embassy's Justice Attache
reviewed the petition and considered it strong. Embassy has
sent a copy by e-mail to EAP/MTS.
2. (C) Pol/C met on December 14 with Undersecretary for
Public Safety of the Department of Interior and Local
Government Marius Corpus regarding the continued 24/7 access
by Embassy officials and III MEF representatives as long as
LCpl Smith remains in the Makati City Jail. Corpus indicated
that a letter from the Ambassador to DILG Secretary Puno
formalizing our request, and citing the need to uphold our
obligations under the VFA, would be helpful in deflecting
growing criticisms of special treatment. He promised that
Secretary Puno would respond favorably in writing. Embassy
sent this letter on December 15.
3. (U) It now appears that the Court of Appeals may permit
the private prosecutor in the case also to file a motion,
which could lengthen its period of consideration. There is
little chance that the Court will rule before December 18,
and possible that the deliberations could take even longer.
As of COB December 15, the Assistant Solicitor General was
reportedly conferring with the appeals judge.
4. (C) We continue to impress upon Philippine contacts the
need for prompt action and the potential adverse
consequences, in terms of cancellation of key U.S.-Philippine
military programs, of further delay.
5. (U) Jail officials are now preparing a more suitable but
equally private room (the former female warden's suite) at
the prison. Prison officials continue to be highly
cooperative with emboffs, in accordance with explicit
instructions from Secretary Puno and U/S Corpus.
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