Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08MANILA795.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA795
2008-04-01 06:21
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO9870
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DE RUEHML #0795/01 0920621
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 010621Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0265
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000795

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/31/2018
TAGS: MARR MASS MCAP PREL RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR REEMPHASIZES EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS, TERRORISM SUCCESSES WITH PHILIPPINE ARMED FORCES CHIEF

REF: MANILA 426

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: At a private breakfast on March 28, the
Ambassador and Philippine Armed Forces Chief General
Hermogenes Esperon discussed measures the Philippine
government is taking to address extrajudicial killings and
progress on the DNA testing of suspected remains of Jemaah
Islamiyah terrorist and Bali bomber Dulmatin. The Ambassador
emphasized again to Esperon the need to solve the
extrajudicial killings problem and conclude outstanding
investigations to show that the military will not tolerate
these crimes. On Dulmatin, Esperon opined that the DNA
analysis was was moving slowly and asked for U.S. help in
securing DNA samples from the Indonesian government that may
help in the FBI’s efforts to identify the suspected remains.
Despite the delay in obtaining results for the remains,
Esperon emphasized the track record of the Philippine
security forces over the last 18 months, citing the hundreds
of terrorists who have been killed or detained in the
Philippines as solid evidence that the U.S.-Philippine
strategy against insurgents is working. END SUMMARY.

MILITARY ADDRESSING EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
——————————————

¶2. (C) In a March 28 private breakfast with Philippine
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces General Hermogenes
Esperon, Jr., Ambassador Kenney again stressed the need for
the Philippine authorities to continue their efforts to
address extrajudicial killings. Citing the intense interest
in the issue by U.S. government entities and well-respected
groups in the United States, the Ambassador emphasized to
Esperon that despite gains that had been made in reducing the
number of killings, no one in the Philippine government could
afford to underestimate this issue, stressing that effective
investigations and prosecutions were vital. Esperon agreed,
saying that the Philippine military had turned around a
history and culture that many had criticized as accepting of
extrajudicial violence. Esperon said President Arroyo’s
address to the military on Armed Services Day in January, in
which she made clear that such action will not be tolerated,
was a powerful message from the country’s leadership that all
measures must be taken to resolve the problem of
extrajudicial killings.

¶3. (C) While the Philippine government has taken several
measures, Esperon focused on what the Armed Forces of the
Philippines had done to combat extrajudicial killings.
According to Esperon, the lack of a Judge Advocate General
Corps in the Philippine military has been a key deficiency in
the armed forces ability to bring legal proceedings against
military personnel accused of human rights abuses, to include
extrajudicial killings. To improve that ability, Esperon
said the armed forces are studying a proposal to embed
paralegals with troops so that field units will have a
resource for legal issues, while the Office of Inspector
General (OIG) may be augmented to bolster investigative
capability at headquarters. Esperon pointed to more
personnel on the military’s human rights desk and his
personal conversations with Philippine National Police
Director Razon that they must coordinate to eliminate the
problem of extrajudicial killings as proof of the
government’s desire to be responsive on the issue.

¶4. (C) In being responsive to allegations of abuses of
authority, the Ambassador said that Philippine authorities
needed to investigate and prosecute cases if they want to
provide convincing evidence of their commitment to halt
extrajudicial killings. Esperon concurred and thanked the
Ambassador for recent assistance from U.S. Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) agents in helping improve the ability of
military personnel and police to secure a scene and gather
evidence. The Ambassador also stressed that the military
needed whistleblower protection for those willing to come
forward in human rights cases, a suggestion that Esperon said
the military was working to implement by strengthening their
OIG office functions.

WAITING ON DULMATIN DNA RESULTS
——————————–

MANILA 00000795 002 OF 002

¶5. (C) The Ambassador and Esperon discussed the ongoing DNA
analysis of the suspected remains of Bali bomber Dulmatin
discovered on February 18, in the aftermath of a January 31
firefight between Philippine troops and insurgents on
Tawi-Tawi (reftel). A deadly terrorist, Jemaah Islamiyah
senior member Dulmatin is listed as a top fugitive by
authorities in Indonesia and the Philippines and is wanted
under the Rewards for Justice program for up to $10 million.
Dulmatin has key ties with senior Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah
Islamiyah leaders in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is an
explosive and electronics expert implicated in a number of
terrorist operations in Southeast Asia, including the
December 2000 Christmas Eve church bombings, which left 19
dead throughout Indonesia, the October 2002 Bali nightclub
bombing that killed 202 people, including six Americans, and
the February 2005 Valentines Day bombings in Manila, General
Santos City, and Davao, which left 12 dead.

¶6. (C) Esperon lamented that the DNA analysis was
progressing slowly and asked the Ambassador for assistance in
convincing Indonesian officials to release known Dulamatin
DNA samples that could be compared to DNA samples from the
remains. In response, the Ambassador said the Embassy had
encouraged the Philippine police to reach out to their
Indonesian counterparts, with whom relations are good, to try
to break the logjam in obtaining the samples. At the same
time, the Ambassador reassured Esperon that once definitive
results were known, the Philippine government would be
notified immediately.

ESPERON’S SEES SUSTAINED PROGRESS AS TERM ENDS
——————————————— –

¶7. (C) Esperon is slated to step down on May 8 at the end
of his three-month extension as Armed Forces Chief of Staff.
Reflecting on his tenure, Esperon said he was pleased with
the many successes joint U.S.-Philippine cooperation had
produced in the fight against terrorism in the last 18
months, with hundreds of terrorists killed or detained.
Esperon was confident that his successor, current Philippine
Army Chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, will continue
the strong military counterinsurgency and counterterrorism
efforts. Esperon said that he was pleased to have Brigadier
General Juancho Sabban, who had led Philippine troops in
largely pacifying Basilan — a former terrorist stronghold —
as the new commander in Jolo, where Esperon said Sabban’s
experience in mixing hard and soft power will be valuable in
bringing peace to the island. Esperon also thanked the
Embassy for its assistance in sending FBI personnel to Jolo
to help train elements of the new Jolo Internal Defense
Force, which combines military and police units to create a
force that will focus not only on defeating the terrorists,
but also on strengthening civil authorities’ capacity to
provide greater rule of law to Jolo’s population.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/
KENNEY

   

 

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