Oct 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/05/06MANILA1965.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA1965 2006-05-08 07:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO6623
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1965/01 1280718
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 080718Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0879
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001965

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, DRL/CRA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINS PHUM RP
SUBJECT: FIVE LEFTIST LAWMAKERS PEACEFULLY DEPART CONGRESS, ENDING IMPASSE

REF: A. OPS CENTER-MANILA 05/08/06 TELECON

¶B. MANILA 1886
¶C. MANILA 1792
¶D. AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified — Please
handle accordingly.

¶2. (SBU) Summary: After two months holed up in Congress,
five leftist representatives left the Batasan Pambansa
(congressional) complex in Metro Manila on May 8. The
“Batasan Five” — who had feared arrest if they left the
complex — were greeted by several hundred supporters during
a peaceful rally. Malacanang — in response to a court
ruling last week — had announced that it had no plans to
arrest the lawmakers at this time, though it might seek to
bring sedition charges at a later date. The peaceful ending
of the impasse was constructive for Filipino politics, with
the GRP deserving credit for acting with restraint. End
Summary.

¶3. (U) “Batasan Five” Go Free: Declaring “victory” over the
government, the handful of lawmakers known as the “Batasan
Five” walked out of the Batasan Pambansa complex at 11:30
a.m. on May 8. They were greeted by several hundred
supporters during a peaceful rally. The complex effectively
had served as the lawmakers’ home since late February, when
they sought refuge there to avoid arrest on charges of
rebellion raised by the GRP during the February 24 – March 3
State of National Emergency (ref C). The five left the
premises only after receiving assurances from the Philippine
National Police (PNP) that they could safely depart, as per
orders from the Department of Justice (DoJ). The lawmakers
had made a May 6 announcement of their intent to leave,
warning of a “politically bloody” battle if they were
arrested.

¶4. (U) A Clear-cut GRP Announcement: In a meeting on May 7,
Cabinet officials involved with national security affairs
decided to allow the “Batasan Five” to go free from
“protective custody” in the House of Representatives. In
announcing the decision, DoJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez said the
Cabinet task force assigned to the problem had decided
against an immediate effort to arrest the lawmakers, stating,
“We don’t want it to be said that we are too repressive. We
don’t want to be a part of their script.” Gonzales added,
however, that the case was not over yet, averring that the
DoJ might press forward with actions against the five
lawmakers, while abiding by proper legal processes.

¶5. (U) Adverse Court Ruling: The GRP’s decision not to try
to arrest the lawmakers was precipitated by an adverse court
ruling last week. On May 4, the Makati Regional Trial Court
(RTC) in Metro Manila threw out an amended rebellion
complaint filed by the DoJ on April 21, seeking to add 46
individuals — including the “Batasan Five” — to the two
originally charged (leftist Congressman Crispin Beltran and
Lt. Lawrence San Juan who remain under detention). RTC Judge
Jenny Lind Delorino said she did not rule on the content of
the charges, but maintained that new information could not
supplant the original complaint, rendering the charges
against the 46 — including the “Batasan Five” — effectively
invalid. The DoJ has announced that it will most likely
appeal the RTC’s decision.

¶6. (SBU) Comment: The peaceful ending of the impasse was
constructive for Filipino politics. At various times during
the past two months, it seemed as if tensions at Congress
might get out of hand, with the police and the left getting
involved in a confrontation that could result in violence.
The GRP deserves credit for acting with restraint once its
court case was rejected by issuing clear instructions that
police should stand down and allow the representatives to
depart peacefully. The end of the Batasan impasse, coupled
with the recent peaceful May Day rallies (ref B), tend to
highlight the relative calmness of the domestic political
situation at this time.

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/

MANILA 00001965 002 OF 002

Kenney

   

 

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