Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/05/06MANILA1941.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA1941 2006-05-05 06:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO4930
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1941/01 1250625
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050625Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0857
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001941

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, DRL/CRA, DRL/IL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINS SENV RP
SUBJECT: ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST SLAIN

REF: A. 05 MANILA 5097

¶B. MANILA 1937
¶C. MANILA 1452

¶1. (SBU) Summary: In early April, two environmental
activists in Cebu received word that an explosives dealer
allegedly had placed a bounty on their heads. Days later,
one of the activists was murdered. The other, Antonio “Tony”
Oposa, Jr., continues to fear for his life. Mission is
taking every opportunity — including at the Cabinet level —
to express concern for Oposa’s safety while simultaneously
urging the GRP to take action on the case of his slain
colleague and other cases of extrajudicial killings. End
Summary.

————-
In Cold Blood
————-

¶2. (U) In early April, two environmental activists in Cebu
received a tip-off that an explosives dealer had allegedly
placed a bounty on their heads. On April 12, a gunman shot
and killed Elpido “JoJo” de la Victoria as he exited his home
in Talisay City, Cebu. Six witnesses identified a Talisay
City police officer as the trigger man. Police then arrested
the officer, who remains in custody. Prosecutors filed a
charge of murder against him on April 19 in the Regional
Trial Court of Talisay City, which has not yet set an
arraignment date but denied bail. De la Victoria’s
colleague, Antonio “Tony” Oposa, Jr., remains under threat
and has gone into hiding.

—————-
Extreme Activism
—————-

¶3. (U) Oposa and de la Victoria had been working closely
together to protect the Visayan Sea, an ecologically-diverse
marine area situated at the heart of the Philippine
archipelago. Oposa is the founder of the Law of Nature
Foundation (LNF) — which has worked with USAID in the past
— and both men were team leaders of “Visayan Sea Squadrons,”
which serve as the action arm of the group. De la Victoria
also served as a Cebu City Commissioner and was the
administrator of the local fish market, where he reportedly
refused to allow the sale of seafood harvested by dynamite
fishing.

¶4. (SBU) In an April 26 meeting with poloff, Oposa explained
that he and his colleagues used various (and sometimes
extreme) methods to promote the protection of the Visayan
Sea. In addition to public education and the filing of
lawsuits against those fishing illegally, he said that that
he and de la Victoria had conducted at least three separate
raids on a dealer/manufacturer of dynamite used in illegal
fishing, whom he described as the mastermind behind de la
Victoria’s slaying. He also claimed that this individual had
sold explosives to members of terrorist organizations,
including the late Fathur Al-Ghozi of the group Jemaah
Islamiyah (ref A).

———–
USG Concern
———–

¶5. (SBU) Mission has voiced concern to a range of GRP
officials, including during the Ambassador’s May 4 meetings
with Secretary of Interior and Local Government Ronaldo Puno
(ref b) and Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources
Angelo Reyes (septel). Officials of both Departments said
that Oposa is now receiving protection, which Oposa confirmed
to poloff. Embassy’s Regional Security Office is in contact
with the Cebu police force regarding the de la Victoria
slaying. Poloff will travel to Cebu later in May to meet
with the local police task force.

——-
Comment
——-

¶6. (SBU) Mission’s concerns over extrajudicial killings
include this killing but also focus on the tragically
numerous cases involving leftists, journalists, judges, and
others. We will continue to raise this issue with the full
spectrum of GRP officials, ranging from the Cabinet level to
the PNP Task Force level and to the municipal and provincial
levels. Our annual human rights report documents more

MANILA 00001941 002 OF 002

extensively these threats to the rule of law and violations
of human rights.

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/
Kenney

   

 

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