Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4638.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4638 2006-11-08 08:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #4638/01 3120858
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 080858Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004638

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2016
TAGS: MARR PREL PGOV RP
SUBJECT: DEFENSE SECRETARY CRUZ’ “WAY FORWARD” ON PDR AS HIS LEGACY

REF: A. MANILA 4615

¶B. MANILA 4600

MANILA 00004638 001.2 OF 002

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

¶1. (C) Summary. Defense Secretary Cruz admitted to
Ambassador that long-standing disagreements with President
Arroyo over the pace of Philippine Defense Reform and the
campaign against the New People’s Army, as well as over
constitutional change, had led to his regrettably public
resignation. He expressed appreciation for U.S. military
support and assistance. Ambassador voiced our thanks for
Cruz’ many contributions, notably in pushing PDR, offered
best wishes for his next career, and promised that we would
work closely with his successor. End Summary.

¶2. (C) In a November 8 private lunch with Ambassador
(scheduled before his November 5 resignation), Defense
Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, Jr. promised to complete a

SIPDIS
“Way Forward” plan on Philippine Defense Reform before he
leaves office on November 30. If possible, he will complete
a version in time to share with PM A/S Hillen, BG Toolan, and
Real Admiral Tracy when they meet on November 10. He
admitted that disagreements dating back to December 2005 with
President Arroyo — in part over the pace of PDR programs —
had been a key factor in his resignation, which President
Arroyo formally accepted on November 7. He insisted that PDR
had to move forward “in an orderly way” and said that he was
“not comfortable” with calls to speed up aspects of it,
although he said that the U.S. Foreign Military Sales process
moved too slowly. He noted regrets that he found himself
unable to stay longer to achieve more of the PDR goals. He
said that he also regretted the extensive publicity about his
resignation and that he had found public service “very hard,”
albeit rewarding.

¶3. (C) Cruz cited disagreements with President Arroyo on
two other major issues:
— Constitutional or “charter”: change, with what he
publicly termed “harebrained” People’s Initiative the “straw
that broke the camel’s back” when he found himself unable to
keep quiet about what he perceived as an inherently
unconstitutional process that could have produced a
non-legitimate government; and,
— the push to “eliminate” the Communist New People’s Army
within two years, which Cruz insisted was simply not
possible. He noted that the challenges to winning the battle
against the Communists were far more than military, entailing
just as importantly also economic, social, infrastructural,
and developmental programs. He expressed special concern
that elements of the Philippine National Police and Armed
Forces of the Philippines might perceive this self-imposed
deadline as an implicit blessing of extrajudicial killings or
other “short-cuts,” despite the clear statements from the
President and leaders opposing such killings.

¶4. (C) Cruz insisted that he and President Arroyo would
remain friends, while expressing personal relief that their
long-standing tensions over these policy disagreements could
now end. He noted that he believed he had been almost
uniquely useful to her in his ability to “say no” and to
influence her away from ill-conceived ideas. While declining
to speculate on his successor, he expressed concern that the
next Secretary, especially if drawn from the ranks of retired
military leaders, would not be able to disagree with the
President. He noted that President Arroyo did not even know
many from the business community who might capably run a
large and complex bureaucracy like the Department of National
Defense. He had high praise for Armed Forces Chief of Staff
General Esperon, whom he called a “wonderful soldier,” but he
admitted that Esperon’s closeness to the President would be
both a strength and a weakness, especially in dissuading her
from ill-conceived courses during her expected 1-3 month
tenure as Acting Defense Secretary following Cruz’ departure.
He commented that Malacanang was clearly worried about the
outcome of the May 2007 elections, when many
pro-Administration members would have to step down due to
term-limits, and expressed a wish that the agreement he had
signed recently with the Commission on Elections to keep the
military out of the electoral process would remain intact.

¶5. (C) Cruz expressed warm appreciation for the U.S.
military support and assistance, including civil-humanitarian
programs like the U.S. hospital ship “Mercy,” which provided
an excellent model for AFP programs and worked wonders in
changing local perceptions in Muslim communities about the
U.S. He promised that the Philippines would retain its
commitment to the Global War on Terror, and praised ongoing
operations under WestMinCom chief General Cedo against High
Value Targets on Jolo Island. He praised the Philippine

MANILA 00004638 002.2 OF 002

military as “wonderful” and very deserving of better
equipment and other reforms now underway. He urged the U.S.
to maintain its close interaction with DND and the AFP.

¶6. (C) Ambassador expressed our thanks for Cruz’ many
contributions as Defense Secretary, notably in pushing PDR as
well as in creating the Security Engagement Board, offered
best wishes for his next career, and promised that we would
work closely with his successors.

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

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.