Oct 232014


Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA2993 2005-06-29 08:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002993



E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2015


¶B. MANILA 2887
¶C. MANILA 2840
¶D. MANILA 2815
¶E. 04 MANILA 2231

Classified By: Political Officer Timothy L. Cipullo for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: According to President Arroyo, husband Jose
Miguel “Mike” Arroyo has now “volunteered to go abroad.”
Susan Roces, the widow of former presidential candidate
Fernando Poe Jr., called for Arroyo’s immediate resignation,
while privately indicating through an intermediary that she
did not plan to lead a political opposition movement or
encourage “people power.” Representative Roilo Golez,
Arroyo’s former National Security Adviser, also called for
Arroyo’s resignation as he quit her coalition partner party.
Arroyo continues to staunch the bleeding from recent scandals
and she appears increasingly likely to weather this storm.
End Summary.

Bye, Bye, Hubby

¶2. (SBU) In a televised June 29 speech before business
leaders, President Arroyo announced that husband Jose Miguel
“Mike” Arroyo — who has been accused of profiting from
illegal gambling — had “volunteered to go abroad,” but did
not provide further details regarding his specific plans or
destination. Arroyo expressed hope that this step would
dispel long-standing allegations that the First Gentleman and
his contacts had undue influence over certain government
agencies. The visibly exhausted Arroyo said that “I am
grateful to my husband for his sacrifice; my family will miss
him terribly.” She made no mention of the possible
resignations of son Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo
or brother-in law Representative Jose Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo.
Iggy Arroyo announced June 28 that he has no plans to do so.
(Note: Acting Pol/C is scheduled to meet with Mikey Arroyo on
June 30. end note)

¶3. (U) The rest of Arroyo’s ten minute address highlighted
her administration’s economic reform plans. Arroyo said her
husband’s exit would help her demonstrate that “nothing can
stop my administration from implementing phase two of my
reform program,” which would include increased investments in
necessary public services. Arroyo warned the audience of the
need to fortify the GRP’s economic policies in order to
confront difficult external economic challenges, in
particular the rising price of oil.

Roces Steps up, sort of

¶4. (U) Also on June 29, FPJ widow Susan Roces called for
Arroyo’s immediate resignation at a press conference. Roces
accused Arroyo of having “stolen the Presidency not once, but
twice.” She added that Arroyo was “arrogant,” had destroyed
the people’s trust and, thus, had no right to lead. Roces
said the opposition had plans to change the government, but
said she could not reveal details yet. When questioned
whether she would ask Filipinos to take to the streets to
protest against Arroyo, Roces responded, “You start it and I
will finish it,” borrowing a popular movie line from her late

¶5. (C) In a subsequent meeting with A/DCM, former
Sandiganbayan Justice and COMELEC chairman (under President
Estrada) Harriet Demetriou — who is also personal legal
counsel to Susan Roces — clarified that Roces did not intend
to head any political opposition movement or to support or
even condone any new “people power movement,” which Demetriou
said Roces saw as potentially disastrous to the Philippines.
She indicated that she and Roces intended instead to focus
their energies on reform of the electoral process, especially
COMELEC itself, and heighten public attention to the need for
“moral leadership.” A/DCM underlined U.S. support for
transparency, accountability, and the rule of law, and
emphasized that the USG would not support any extralegal
attempts to change the government. Roces has accepted the
invitation to Embassy’s July 4 reception, and Demetriou
confirmed that Roces will attend.

Turning on the President

¶6. (C) Representative Roilo Golez, Arroyo’s National
Security Adviser 2001-04, publicly demanded on June 28 that
Arroyo resign due to “Gloria-gate” and told the media that
“the President is now in an untenable position (and) she
cannot any longer lead and govern. Her image and the
country’s image are in pathetic state…” On June 29, during
the ongoing House hearings into the tapes controversy, Golez
then publicly announced his resignation from the KAMPI Party,
which is closely allied with the President. Golez proceeded
to recuse himself from the hearings and announced his
resignation as Chairman of the National Defense Committee.
Senate President Franklin Drilon — a key GMA ally —
separately urged the President to show she is “serious in
taking steps to restore the people’s trust in her” or risk
losing his own support.

¶7. (SBU) An impeachment motion against Arroyo over the tapes
sponsored by a private citizen has now gained a sponsor in
the House, as required by the rules. Representative Rodante
Marcoleta of the small Alagad party announced that he thought
the petition deserved a hearing. Marcoleta is believed to be
the only member in the House belonging to the Iglesia ni
Cristo (INC), an influential religious denomination (ref E),
which supported Arroyo’s election bid in 2004.


¶8. (C) As with her announcement on June 27 apologizing for
improper discussions with an election official, Arroyo’s
remarks regarding her husband are a bid to staunch the
bleeding from recent scandals. Mike Arroyo has always been a
very controversial figure and his departure from the country
could help earn Arroyo some breathing space. The momentum of
attacks against her appear to have slowed, although Golez’s
defection is a surprise blow. Golez’s reported unpopularity
with many House colleagues may limit the impact of this move.
Once again, Susan Roces deliberately avoided taking up a
call to the streets and dampened the hopes of the opposition
for a powerful rallying force against the President, whom she
clearly nonetheless detests. Embassy has quietly encouraged
many members of the media and civil society to focus on
institutional and systemic reforms, especially on the
electoral process, rather than seeking extralegal measures.
Roces’ interest in such measures could help coalesce support
for such needed reform, although not in time for the August 8
elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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