Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06MANILA3935.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3935 2006-09-19 05:36 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0012
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #3935/01 2620536
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 190536Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3016
INFO RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 003935

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR PM, S/CT, INR/EAP, INR/B, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (LAWLESS/TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS MCAP PREL PTER PINS PINR RP
SUBJECT: CHIEF OF STAFF ESPERON OUTLINES HIS VISION FOR THE AFP

REF: MANILA 03095

¶1. (U) SUMMARY: General Esperon, the newly appointed Chief
of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), laid
out his vision for the Philippine military in a major policy
speech to the Manila Overseas Press Club on September 11. He
called the entire AFP a “counterterrorism unit,” and said the
AFP would continue its ongoing operation to capture or kill
the senior Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah leadership
on the island of Jolo through the month of Ramadan. Esperon
emphasized respect for the chain of command, and strongly
endorsed Philippine Defense Reform, which he acknowledged was
a long-term effort. Defense Secretary Cruz, Undersecretary
for Defense Reform Carolina, and the senior leadership of the
AFP and Philippine National Police attended the event in a
clear sign of support. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (U) On September 11, General Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr.,
Chief of Staff of the AFP delivered major policy speech to
the Manila Overseas Press Club, in which he outlined his
vision for the AFP. Esperon covered a broad range of topics,
including counterterrorism strategy, the importance of the
chain of command, support for democratic processes, and
Philippine Defense Reform.

¶3. (U) Esperon said the AFP will pursue a three pronged
approach to defeating terrorism: (1) to deter; (2) to
defend; and, (3) to destroy terrorist groups. At the heart
of deterrence is building the capacity of government forces
engaged in the fight against terrorists. Esperon pointed to
the importance of bilateral and multilateral initiatives and
to strengthening linkages among various domestic agencies,
including the AFP, the Philippine National Police, National
Bureau of Investigation, and other investigative bodies.
Esperon advocated stationing troops in and around vital
infrastructure, specifically citing the Malampaya Natural Gas
facility on Palawan and the Subic-Clark Expressway. Esperon
said to destroy terrorist groups, the Philippines must “choke
off critical terrorist nodes, such as access to sanctuaries,
funds and equipment.” He stated that this strategy had
worked against Jemaah Islamiyah, and that the AFP would
sustain and intensify its ongoing campaign against the Abu
Sayyaf Group in southern Mindanao, noting in the subsequent
question and answer session that the AFP would continue its
ongoing operation to capture or kill senior Abu Sayyaf and
Jemaah Islamiyah leaders on the island of Jolo through the
Muslim month of Ramadan. Esperon cautioned against
complacency and assured his audience that “your AFP is firmly
resolved to pursue terrorists.” He urged them to support the
Anti-Terrorism bill, which is pending in the Philippine
Senate.

¶4. (U) Esperon strongly endorsed Philippine Defense Reform
(PDR), while acknowledging that reforms will not happen
overnight. He noted that because of PDR “by 2010, the AFP
will be stronger than (it is) today.”

¶5. (U) When asked about military adventurism and past
military involvement in coup attempts, Esperon firmly
rejected any effort to change government through violence.
He said he supported prosecution of Brigadier General Danilo
Lim, the former Scout Ranger commander who was implicated in
the February 2006 alleged coup plot.

¶6. (U) The following quotes provide some flavor for Esperon’s
thinking::

— “The entire AFP is a CT (counterterrorism) unit.”

— “The best antidote to terrorism is development.”

— “Any self-respecting military man respects the chain of
command.”

— “We respect the CPP’s (Communist Party of the
Philippines) right to free speech; As long as they are not
involved in (military) engagements, we will give them the
benefit of the doubt.”

¶7. (U) COMMENT: The Overseas Press Club address was a major
event for Esperon, who has previously been reluctant to
engage the press. His remarks demonstrated that he has a
clear sense of where he wants to take the AFP. Couching his
speech to a domestic audience, Esperon consciously used the

words “your AFP” on numerous occasions to demonstrate the
military’s links to the Philippine people. Secretary of
Defense Avelino Cruz, Undersecretary of Defense Reform
Ernesto Carolina, and the senior leadership of the AFP and
Philippine National Police attended the event in a clear sign
of support. At one point Secretary Cruz was invited to say a
few words, but he declined, appearing content to leave the
limelight to the Chief of Staff. END COMMENT.
KENNEY

   

 

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