Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/02/06MANILA526.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA526
2006-02-06 07:49
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO6657
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0526/01 0370749
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 060749Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9050
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000526

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP, DRL/CRA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2016
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PINR RP
SUBJECT: DAVAO MAYOR CHANGING TACK ON EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS?

REF: A. 05 MANILA 5749
¶B. 05 MANILA 5521
¶C. 05 MANILA 3754

Classified By: Acting Pol/C Joseph L. Novak for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: Extra-judicial killings in Davao,
Mindanao, continue, but at a lower level than in 2005. So
far, there have been five summary killings in 2006, which is
less than 2005’s roughly 13 per month average. Observers
believe that the Mayor of Davao, Rodrigo Duterte, may be
worried about investigations and newly concerned with the
city’s image, and thus may be re-thinking his support for
brutal “law and order” tactics. During meetings in Davao,
February 2-3, Acting Pol/C underscored that the killings need
to stop. If Duterte has indeed changed his stripes (and that
is by no means clear), it would be positive human rights
news. End Summary.

A Dip In Killings
—————–

¶2. (C) So far, there have been five summary killings in
Davao city, Mindanao, as of early February 2006, according to
Kabataan Consortium, a network of NGOs based in the Davao
area. This compares with the figure of 153 extra-judicial
killings in Davao for all of 2005, or roughly 13 per month
(see ref A for further background). During a February 2
meeting with Acting Pol/C who was visiting Davao, Manny
Roldan, Kabataan’s program coordinator, said the profile of
the victims in 2006 had so far been very similar to those in
the past: most of them were young (under 25), male, poor,
and allegedly involved in criminal activities, such as the
drug trade. Roldan remarked that family members of the
victims have not wanted to press complaints with the police,
which has been the case in the past, too.

A Change in Perspective by Duterte?
———————————–

¶3. (C) Asked whether the lower numbers for 2006 represent
any trend, Roldan said he thought that they might. Roldan
explained that the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent
GRP agency that investigates graft and dereliction of duty by
government officials, had suspended four Davao-based
Philippine National Police (PNP) officers in 2005 for their
failure to look into the summary killings in an adequate
manner. While the Court of Appeals had reinstated the
officers in a subsequent decision based on technicalities,
Roldan commented that he thought that Mayor Duterte and his
supporters (including those in the PNP) had taken note. In
doing so, they may have decided not “to green light” (at
least not as often as in the past) the “Davao Death Squad,” a
shadowy, underground network made up of former criminals and
militants that reputedly carries out the killings. Roldan
quickly added that none of Duterte’s public statements had
indicated that he was taking a new tack, however.

¶4. (C) Alfred Sipaco, the Regional Director for the
Commission on Human Rights (CHR), agreed with many of
Roldan’s points. (Note: The CHR is an independent
governmental agency that investigates alleged human rights
abuses. End Note.) Sipaco added that he thought that
Duterte might be newly concerned with the city’s image. The
Mayor, he related, had played host to the ASEAN Tourist Forum
(ATF) in January and had done his best to paint a picture of
Davao as a modern city at the center of a vital region that
includes Mindanao, nearby islands in the western Pacific
area, and the Indonesian island of Sulawesi to the south.
Sipaco commented that his relationship with Duterte had
cooled over the years (although Duterte was the godfather of
two of his children) due to various CHR investigations of
City Hall, but he thought that Duterte and many in the local
business community might be beginning to think twice before
unequivocally supporting summary killings as a way to stop
crime — “People in Davao know that it is the Philippines’
third largest city and believe that it can play even a bigger
national and international role if it becomes more
sophisticated.” (Note: Strong traces of Duterte’s
confrontational style, however, emerged during the ATF when
he reportedly stated that Davao was a safer city than
American cities and would be “heaven” if it had as much
funding as American cities. End Note.)

Underscoring Concerns about Killings
————————————

MANILA 00000526 002 OF 002

¶5. (C) During his meetings in Davao, Acting Pol/C
underscored that the killings need to stop. While noting
that the numbers for 2006 seem to be down, which was
positive, Acting Pol/C told Vice Mayor Luis Bonguyan (a 1991
IVP grantee) and Patricia Ruivivar, Duterte’s Chief of Staff,
that impunity has to end and perpetrators of past murders
brought to justice. (Note: Duterte was in Manila for a
health check-up and was not available for a meeting. End
Note.) Bonguyan and Ruivivar denied any sort of City Hall
involvement in the killings, but added that the city was
“proud to have the lowest crime rate of any major
municipality in the Philippines.” Acting Pol/C made similar
points in a meeting with Davao area PNP Chief Catalino Cuy,
who asserted that most of the killings were related to
“gangs” and had little to do with vigilantes, adding that the
killings were not officially sanctioned in any case.

¶6. (C) Acting Pol/C also emphasized concerns about the
summary killings in separate meetings with Davao area
Congressmen Prospero Nograles, the House Majority Leader, and
Vincent Garcia. In response, Nograles and Garcia basically
threw up their hands, noting that Duterte was “very popular”
with the public due to his tough stance on law and order and
was considered “unbeatable” in any political race he chose to
run in. Acting Pol/C noted that the killings were a
discredit to the city and only damaged its reputation.

Comment
——-

¶7. (C) If Duterte indeed has changed his stripes (and that
is by no means clear), it would be positive human rights
news. Davao — which is otherwise a growing and increasingly
prosperous city — has had a poor reputation for years now
due to the killings. Unfortunately, the use of summary
killings have spread in recent years to such major cities as
Cebu and to smaller towns (ref B). Mission will continue to
emphasize that the killings and impunity for perpetrators
need to end.

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/

Jones

   

 

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