Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/04/06MANILA1576.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA1576 2006-04-07 06:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO5309
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1576 0970621
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 070621Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0433
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 001576

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2016
TAGS: PGOV PTER RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH SENATE PRESIDENT DRILON

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

¶1. (U) Ambassador Kenney, accompanied by Pol/C, called on
Senate President Franklin Drilon on April 6. The meeting
received prominent coverage in the media on April 7.

¶2. (C) Counterterrorism legislation: Drilon admitted that
passage of proposed CT legislation by the Senate had become
“more difficult” than even six months ago, given the
“arrogance of power” demonstrated by Malacanang with the
week-long State of National Emergency and Executive Order 464
(limiting testimony to Congress by senior GRP officials
absent prior Malacanang approval) as well as attempts to
“muzzle the media.” He noted that certain members of the
Opposition in particular now feared that Malacanang could use
provisions of the CT legislation to “harass” them. He
provided the Ambassador with copies of Senate Committee
reports critical of aspects of Executive Order 1017, which
proclaimed the State of National Emergency. He lamented that
E.O. 464 left no way for the Senate to talk officially with
GRP leaders, who now channeled their remarks through the
press instead. He noted an ongoing Supreme Court review of
this E.O. He called for a clear indication from Malacanang
of at least a “certain degree of tolerance of dissent.”

¶3. (C) Charter change: Drilon described the three methods
prescribed by the 1987 Constitution for amendment or revision
— a Constitutional convention, a constituent assembly, or a
People’s Initiative. He described his understanding as a
lawyer of how a 1997 Supreme Court ruling had “permanently
enjoined” the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from
overseeing such an initiative in the absence of sufficient
legislation, which the 1995 law on this issue was not,
according to the ruling. He expressed incredulity that the
GRP was nonetheless expending resources and involving the
Department of Interior and Local Government, as well as local
government units, in the current campaign. In addition, the
Constitution made clear that a people’s initiative was only
for minor revisions to the Constitution, not for a major
change of system, he stressed. (Comment: The Constitution
does not make such a distinction. End comment) He commented
that he was “appalled at the brazenness” of this effort by
Malacanang. He underscored that he was not at all opposed to
charter change, especially making some of the economic
provisions more “flexible,” but rather objected to the
“manner” in which Malacanang was now pursuing change. He
noted that all twenty-three Senators had concurred in a
resolution condemning the current people’s initiative
campaign as “illegal,” and provided a copy. (Comment: The
unity of the Senate on this point is not surprising, since
the proposed Constitutional change would abolish the Senate.
End comment)

¶4. (C) Corruption: Drilon also reviewed some of the
corruption allegations against the First Gentleman, as well
as the allegations stemming from wiretaps of President
Arroyo’s conversations with a COMELEC official after the 2004
elections. He provided a report by the Commission on Audit
about misuse of funds designed for fertilizers in advance of
the 2004 elections.

¶5. (U) North Korea: Drilon said he would accept a
twice-delayed invitation from the Speaker of North Korea’s
National Assembly just after the Holy Week holidays, and
would also stop in Beijing. He expressed appreciation for
the update from A/S Hill on the Six Party Talks and related
issues during A/S Hill’s recent visit. He explained that he
had met the North Korean speaker during the 2005
International Parliamentary Union meetings in Manila, at
which time he brought that Speaker together with his South
Korean counterpart.

¶6. (C) The Ambassador expressed her desire to help the
Philippines move forward and achieve the kinds of political
and economic successes that its talented and warm people
deserved. She promised to consult closely with the Senate
President during her tour.

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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