Sep 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06MANILA3779.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3779 2006-09-08 08:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO4728
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3779/01 2510837
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 080837Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2871
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003779

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
JOINT STAFF J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)
OSD/ISA/AP (LAWLESS/TOOLAN/BAILEY)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2016
TAGS: PHUM PREL MOPS KCRM PINS RP
SUBJECT: CHARGE UNDERSCORES IMPORTANCE OF EJK RESOLUTION TO FILIPINO LEADERS

REF: A. MANILA 3140
¶B. MANILA 3203
¶C. MANILA 3247
¶D. MANILA 3346
¶E. MANILA 3404
¶F. MANILA 2697

Classified By: (U) Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Paul W. Jones
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. Charge d’Affaires Jones reinforced the
importance of Philippine Government (GRP) action in solving
the recent spate of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of leftist
activists in the Philippines to current and former Filipino
leaders, including National Security Advisor Gonzales,
Foreign Secretary Romulo, and former Philippine President
Ramos. At Charge’s request, SOCPAC Commander also reiterated
our concerns to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
Chief of Staff General Esperon. These recent meetings
reinforced an earlier demarche by Ambassador Kenney to the
same officials plus President Arroyo and new Chief of the
Philippine National Police (PNP) Calderon. These current and
former officials all claimed that the GRP and the Arroyo
administration are seized with the question of EJKs and aware
of its potential effects on the overall US-GRP relationship.
Gonzales admitted possible AFP or PNP involvement in some
EJKs, but he and General Esperon said the killings were more
likely due to possible New People’s Army (NPA) purges.
Gonzales also indicated that the GRP had taken steps to
invite an international investigative body to assuage
international and domestic doubts that the GRP is addressing
the problem. Former President Ramos called attention to the
creation of the Melo Commission, a new independent commission
that will oversee and assist in investigations of EJKs headed
by retired Supreme Court Justice, Jose A. Melo. See septel
for Charge’s meeting with the Melo Commission. End Summary.

——————————————— ——-
Gonzales: GRP Suffering from a “Credibility Problem”
——————————————— ——-

¶2. (C) Charge told National Security Advisor Norberto
Gonzales in their September 5 meeting that Ambassador Kenney
had conveyed to him growing USG concern about reports of
EJKs, which were having a significant impact in Washington.
Gonzales recognized that the GRP was suffering from a
“credibility problem,” and claimed that President Arroyo and
her Cabinet were committed to stopping the series of murders
of leftist activists.

¶3. (C) Observing that EJKs represent a breakdown in
institutions, Gonzales said, “It will be difficult to govern
the country if this gets out of control.” He said he took
the issue personally because of allegations by some leftists
that he had authorized the killings. Gonzales noted that the
Philippines needed a credible investigatory body that would
be believed by world and domestic Filipino public opinion,
and claimed the GRP had sounded out Spain and other European
countries about participating in a fact-finding commission to
discover the truth behind the murders. (Note: Embassy calls
to both Spanish and Dutch Embassies in Manila indicate that
the GRP has “informally” proposed something like this to the
Spanish, but that practical discussions on funding sources or
membership of such a commission have not taken place yet.
End note.)

¶4. (C) Gonzales speculated that while elements of the
military and police may be involved, the Communist Party of
the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA), some
politicians, and even organized crime might also be taking
advantage of the opportunity to “settle accounts.” He vowed
that any AFP or PNP officer found to be involved in the
killings would be prosecuted. “If it is Palparan (Major
General Jovito Palparan, the outgoing commander of the 7th
Infantry Division, who has been accused of human rights
abuses) so be it,” Gonzales asserted.

——————————-
Romulo: GRP on Top of the Issue
——————————-

¶5. (U) In a September 6 phone call, Foreign Secretary
Alberto Romulo asserted to the Charge that the GRP is on top
of the EJK issue. He claimed President Arroyo very much

MANILA 00003779 002 OF 002

wants to see it resolved quickly. Secretary Romulo noted
that he was glad the Charge had discussed the question with
National Security Advisor Gonzales as well. The Charge
stressed Ambassador Kenney’s concern about EJKs and noted
that she is raising the matter in her Washington
consultations.

—————————————
Esperon: EJKs Intended to Discredit GRP
—————————————

¶6. (C) At Charge’s request, SOCPAC Commander Major General
David Fridovich relayed Embassy concerns about EJKs to
General Hermogenes Esperon, the AFP Chief of Staff. In a
one-on-one conversation with Fridovich, General Esperon
strongly denied any personal knowledge of
government-sponsored EJKs. He further expressed his
unequivocal personal belief that EJKs violate the rule of law
and are counterproductive to GRP reform efforts. General
Esperon stated that he is also keenly aware of the negative
primary and potential secondary effects these allegations
have on US-GRP relations. He opined that groups seeking to
discredit the GRP committed these acts, citing possible
incidents of internal purging by CPP/NPA insurgents.

——————————————— —
Ramos: No One to be Shielded from Responsibility
——————————————— —

¶7. (U) In an August 30 meeting with the Charge, former
President Fidel Ramos praised retired Supreme Court Justice
Jose A. Melo, who has been appointed chair of an independent
commission to investigate the EJKs, commonly referred to as
the Melo Commission. Ramos reminisced that he had appointed
Justice Melo to the Supreme Court when he was President.
Ramos underscored his concern about EJKs and pointed to his
public condemnations of the killings. He noted that he
personally handed Chairman Melo a congratulations letter that
highlighted the importance of this new EJK probe. Ramos
believed neither General Esperon nor PNP Task Force Usig
Chief Avelino “Sonny” Razon would “shield” high ranking
members of the AFP or PNP who might be involved in EJKs.

——-
Comment
——-

¶8. (U) Embassy continues to underscore to senior GRP
officials the importance of quickly resolving the EJK issue
and apprehending suspects in these killings. The Ambassador
has personally raised this issue with President Arroyo (ref
b) and with the new PNP Chief Oscar Calderon (ref c). The
establishment of the Melo Commission and PNP Task Force Usig
are welcome moves but it remains to be seen whether either
entity has the ability to gain control of EJKs and bring
perpetrators to justice.

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

   

 

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