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February 2019
Tim Bilecki

Marines Secretly Brings Filipina Girl to Base, SILT Approved

Violation of Article 92 (Failure to Obey a Lawful Order) and Article 128 (Assault Consummated by Battery)
Camp Navarro, Zamboanga, Philippines, and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe, Hawaii
Marine Staff Sergeant – E-6
SILT approved.

In Zamboanga, Philippines, at Camp Navarro, the life of a Marine Staff Sergeant took an unexpected turn. Married, with his spouse waiting back in Hawaii, he embarked on a clandestine relationship with a local Filipina woman he met during a “team night” event. At these gatherings, Special Operators and Marines could bring girls and other vetted foreign nationals onto the base to enjoy food and a limited number of drinks. Like many Marines stationed in the Philippines, he fell in love with one of the girls and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, despite being married to someone in Hawaii and despite the woman’s profession as a freelance sex worker at night.

To leave the base, the Marines signed out vehicles from the motor pool under the guise of a mission requirement but instead went into town to party with the Filipina girls. As the motor pool Sergeant, he had access to the motor pool. He and a few of his Marine buddies signed out a truck and drove to the nearby town to meet his girl from “team night” and her friends. They partied at local bars, drank Red Horse and San Miguel, sang karaoke, and had a good time with their respective girls for the night. Towards the evening’s end, all the Marines, except for the Staff Sergeant, decided to leave their companions at the bar and return to the base. Fortunately, one of the Marines stayed sober and drove one of the two vehicles back to the base without problems. The Staff Sergeant stayed and partied with his “team night” girlfriend until all the bars closed. They then went back to the truck and decided to sleep there for a while to sober up before attempting to return to the base. Using the cover of night and the vehicle they had taken without authorization; the Staff Sergeant managed a risky return to the base before the first formation. With his girlfriend hidden in the back to avoid detection at the Entry Control Point (ECP), he successfully got her onto the base and into his room. After ensuring she was settled, he grabbed a can of Monster and joined the formation.

The Staff Sergeant’s “team night” girlfriend needed to return home, so she attempted to sneak out of the base. However, she didn’t get far before a member of the Marine base leadership saw her walking down the barracks hallway in a club dress and high heels. The Marine detained her, and she revealed everything that had happened, triggering an immediate investigation into the Marines’ actions. The detention of the Filipina woman within the military compound initiated a chain of events with far-reaching consequences for the Marines. The inquiry soon uncovered his role in her unauthorized entry and multiple violations of military regulations, including unauthorized absences from the base using official vehicles for personal escapades.

The investigation led to the Staff Sergeant being sent back from the Philippines to his home unit in Hawaii. The investigator informed his wife, who was understandably upset and demanded that he cease all contact with the Filipina. Despite this, the Marine continued to text her, sending money, explicit photos, and promises of return like General MacArthur, but this time with a visa and a wedding ring.

His wife, learning of the ongoing relationship, got into a heated argument with the Marine, in which she slapped and scratching him. He pushed her away. This resulted in her claiming assault, military police were called, and he was arrested, facing additional charges.

The prosecution and command charged the Staff Sergeant with numerous violations of a lawful order and assault at a general court-martial. The Marine retained Hawaii court martial lawyer Tim Bilecki to defend him.  Bilecki provided a robust defense, interviewing witnesses, reviewing CCTV footage from Camp Navarro, and addressing the allegations. Bilecki was able to refute the domestic violence charges but recognized liability for the incidents in the Philippines.  Negotiations led to a Separation in Lieu of Trial (SILT), which was approved, resulting in all charges being withdrawn and dismissed.

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