Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/08/08MANILA1837.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA1837
2008-08-01 08:08
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO0970
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1837/01 2140808
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 010808Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1471
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001837

SIPDIS

DOJ FOR ICITAP
DEPT FOR EAP, INL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2018
TAGS: MARR PGOV PHUM PINR PINS PREL PTER RP SNAR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR, NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF DISCUSS HUMAN RIGHTS, PEACE PROCESS, RESOURCE CHALLENGES

REF: 2007 MANILA 3800

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Over a July 31 working breakfast with
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director, Gen. Avelino
“Sonny” Razon, Ambassador discussed extrajudicial killings
(EJKs), the peace process in the southern Philippines, and
the challenges that lie ahead for the Philippines’ police
force. Razon underscored the PNP’s commitment to continued
progress on EJKs and respect for human rights, and expressed
profound appreciation for USG assistance in law enforcement
training and for contributions toward the peace process.
While acknowledging progress in the search for a lasting
peace in the southern Philipines, Razon was frank in his
assessment of the significant challenges that lie ahead. The
PNP Director outlined the need for additional police
personnel and resources, and he described innovative
approaches to addressing the problem in the short term. END
SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) The breakfast conversation opened with a discussion
of Razon’s upcoming mandatory retirement; the PNP chief will
step down at the end of September, and likely assume another
security-related position in the Arroyo administration
cabinet. The Ambassador thanked the PNP Director for the
excellent security his officers have provided the Embassy
during his tenure. In turn, Razon expressed his appreciation
for U.S.-Philippine intelligence cooperation, which he
asserted had greatly improved PNP intelligence capacity
across the board, including maritime police charged with
interdicting smugglers, illegal foreign fishing vessels, and
terrorist elements. Razon went on to say how satisfied the
PNP was with the results of the USG-funded Model Police
Station program, which he viewed as a significant success in
the 10 cities where it has been developed to date.

¶3. (C) Conversation turned to Philippine President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo’s July 28 State of the Nation Address (SONA)
in Quezon City, which was marked by traditional protests
staged by a broad array of leftist and anti-administration
groups. The Ambassador complimented Razon on the
professionalism and restraint shown by Philippine police, who
refused to be provoked by rowdy demonstrators. Razon
responded that although the scale and strident tone of
demonstrations had surprised him, the PNP was determined from
the outset not to provide media with any images of police
clashing with protesters. Continuing with the theme of
improvement in PNP human rights training, the Ambassador
commented on the impressive work of Task Force Usig, which is
dedicated to addressing the problem of extrajudical killings
(EJKs). Acknowledging the Ambassador’s kind words, Razon
stressed that while improvement in EJK statistics was
encouraging, “it shouldn’t be a question of numbers,” because
extrajudicial killings at any level were simply unacceptable
in a democratic society.

¶4. (C) The Ambassador recalled the efficient and bloodless
manner in which PNP Special Weapons and Tactics squads,
supported by some 1,500 loyal soldiers and marines, had
suppressed the November 29, 2007, coup attempt by military
officers at the Peninsula Hotel, in Manila’s upscale Makati
business district. (Military officers on trial for the July
2003 “Oakwood Mutiny” walked out of court and marched to the
luxurious Peninsula, where they fired on police forces for
several hours prior to surrendering to authorities. See
reftel.) Razon responded that the rebellion, which had been
staged to appear spontaneous, had in fact obviously been
planned long in advance, as evidenced by mutineers’ proactive
deployment of snipers to strategic locations. The PNP
Director bemoaned how, in this instance, the PNP had been
caught flat-footed with regard to intelligence information
beforehand, noting that even reporters had checked into the
hotel and set up their cameras in expectation of the event.
Recalling how coup-attempt leaders had capitulated soon after
a PNP armored vehicle — invulnerable to mutineer snipers —
crashed through the hotel’s doors and drove into the lobby,
Razon expressed relief that the uprising had been handled
quickly before the situation could spin out of control.

¶5. (C) Turning to the subject of recently-renewed peace
negotiations between the government and MILF separatists,
Razon thanked the Ambassador for what the U.S. has done in
Mindanao in support of the peace process. Director Razon
went on to say that the PNP stood ready to provide adequate
security for elections scheduled for August 11 in the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Razon reflected

MANILA 00001837 002 OF 002

on how, when he was deployed to Jolo Island on his first
assignment, government forces could hardly travel outside
Jolo City. The situation now was much improved, but security
of Jolo still posed a problem. Razon lamented the way in
which police became unavoidably ensnared in feuds among clan
chiefs and warlords who still exercised control in many
areas, and he postulated that more frequent rotation of
officers assigned to Jolo might help address the problem.

¶6. (C) Looking ahead, Razon asserted that the PNP needed at
least 45,000 additional officers nationwide, and that the
shortage of well-trained police in Jolo and elsewhere in the
southern Philippines would be particularly significant in the
future. He outlined stopgap measures being undertaken to
address the problem in the short term. Police officers are
being withdrawn from clerical jobs, and Razon is studying the
possibility of contracting security for the PNP’s Camp Crame
headquarters to a private company. Razon said that he was
even considering dissolving PNP musical bands in order to
mobilize their members to the field. The PNP chief
underscored how USG-provided police training would be crucial
to achieving PNP goals in heretofore conflict-affected areas
of the southern Philippines, and opined that police-military
cooperation would likewise be key to continued progress.

¶7. (C) COMMENT: A key figure in the Arroyo administration,
General Razon has been a close and trusted interlocutor to
the Embassy. Embassy contacts in Arroyo’s inner circle
speculate that after stepping down as PNP chief, Razon may
assume duties as head of the government’s National
Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), a position for which
he would appear to be eminently well-qualified. We look
forward to continuing to work with Razon as the peace process
moves ahead, terrorist elements are marginalized, and
civilian authorities assume many public-security
responsibilities that until now have often fallen on military
personnel. END COMMENT.
KENNEY

   

 

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