Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3203 2006-08-01 05:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3203/01 2130555
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 010555Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2260
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003203
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/01/2016
TAGS: PREL OVIP PTER PHUM RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S DINNER WITH PRESIDENT ARROYO
Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (C) Summary. President Arroyo promised the Ambassador
that her Administration would push ahead with
counterterrorism efforts, especially against the ASG and JI.
She will also push for new counterterrorism legislation with
the Senate. She reiterated her opposition to extrajudicial
killings. She welcomed senior U.S. visitors and said several
high level Philippine visitors would also go to Washington.
She reiterated a hope for an Oval Office call on President
Bush this fall. She has not yet chosen a new envoy to
Washington yet. End Summary.
¶2. (C) President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s invitation to
the Ambassador for coffee on July 26 ended up as a relaxed
private dinner also including National Security Advisor
Norberto Gonzales and GMA personal adviser Tommy Alcantara at
the Macapagal home in Forbes Park. Septel will report on
economic and commercial topics.
¶3. (C) President Arroyo reiterated that counterterrorism is
a top priority for her Administration, with the Abu Sayyah
Group (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) as the key targets.
She characterized the fight against the New People’s Army
(NPA) as less urgent, noting that the GRP was “still ginning
up to go after the NPA,” which it saw as more of a police
effort. She noted that precision bombing may be needed in
the campaign against JI and ASG, and predicted that new Armed
Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Esperon
would prove effective, since he was a “fighter” and not a
“desk type.” She indicated her resolve to work more closely
within ASEAN on counterterrorism, including energy security.
She said she was working closely with her Indonesian
counterpart but admitted that the GRP needed more of a
concerted effort to involve Malaysia in this drive. Gonzales
also highlighted the need for better intelligence sharing and
for more mobility, such as the use of Cobras.
¶4. (C) Gonzales described the need more vigorously to
pursue legal cases against the NPA and Communist Party of the
Philippines. The Ambassador praised President Arroyo for her
strong denunciation of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in her
State of the Nation Address on July 24. President Arroyo
reaffirmed this position and insisted that the Philippines
did not “want to be known as a nation of murderers.” The
Ambassador urged that the Philippine National Police’s new
Task Force Usig dealing with EJKs make quick and public
progress on these cases, with which the President agreed.
The Ambassador told the President that she would meet with
new PNP chief General Calderon on July 28 to discuss this and
other issues. President Arroyo pointed to successes in the
AFP’s Philippine Defense Reform initiative and said that the
PNP was beginning its own transformational program. The
Ambassador reported to the President that a new U.S. Senior
Law Enforcement Advisor would soon arrive to assist the PNP
with this effort; the President indicated her satisfaction.
¶5. (C) The Ambassador asked the President about the
prospects for passage of counterterrorism legislation now
that the House and Senate were back in session. President
Arroyo confirmed that this was a priority for her
Administration, along with the new National Defense Act.
However, she indicated that she was not yet sure whether new
Senate President “Manny” Villar would prove a more reliable
and effective leader than had outgoing Senate President
“Frank” Drilon. “You never know with Manny,” she commented.
(Separately, the Ambassador met Senator Villar on July 27,
and found him evasive on his legislative priorities.)
¶6. (C) The Ambassador informed President Arroyo about the
upcoming visits by A/S Hill, Codel Hyde, and Codel Inouye,
all of which the President welcomed enthusiastically. She
said that she hoped to send a “stream” of senior Philippine
visitors to Washington over the next months, possibly
including Executive Secretary Ermita, chair of the GRP/MILF
negotiating panel Silvestre Afable, and Foreign Secretary
Romulo. She indicated that she no longer expected to attend
the UNGA session in September but nonetheless wished to have
the opportunity for an Oval Office call on President Bush
sometime in the fall, in addition to an expected meeting at
the APEC Summit in Hanoi in November. She also said that she
might defer her travel to Hawaii for celebrations of the
centennial of Philippine migration from September to sometime
later in the year.
MANILA 00003203 002 OF 002
¶7. (C) President Arroyo recalled that she had sent
President Bush a handwritten note thanking the U.S. for the
visit of the “Mercy” hospital ship, but had not received a
reply. She said she hoped her note had made it to the
¶8. (C) President Arroyo indicated that she was considering
possible choices for a new Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.
but had not made a decision. She expressed dissatisfaction
with the way outgoing Philippine Ambassador Del Rosario had
made public his differences with her Administration.