Oct 232014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2005-12-15 08:54
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 005844



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2015

¶B. MANILA 5023
¶C. MANILA 2172
¶D. MANILA 1988

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

¶1. (C) Summary: Inveterate plotter and former defense
secretary Fortunado Abat declared himself “President” of a

“Revolutionary Transition Government” at a December 13 press
conference held in Manila. In reaction, the GRP reportedly
detained him on December 15. Amid the on-and-off swirl of
rumors about a “coup,” Malacanang is keeping a close eye on
the situation. No one sees the latest developments as a
serious threat, with many — including those in the
Opposition — openly dismissive of the 80-year-old Abat.
Mission, fielding some questions from the press, has
underscored our strong support for democracy and the rule of
law, and our opposition to any form of extra-legal or
extra-constitutional measures. End Summary.

¶2. (SBU) On December 13, former defense secretary and
retired general Fortunado Abat announced the establishment of
what he called a “Revolutionary Transition Government” and
declared himself its “President.” He also declared that the
room in which he was making this announcement at a social
club in Metro Manila was the new seat of his “government.”
Abat, who heads the small, anti-President Arroyo “Coalition
for National Salvation,” then named his “sectoral Cabinet”
which consisted of: Salvador Enriquez, a former budget
official under former president Fidel V. Ramos who was being
put in charge of “economics”; former National Labor Relations
Commission Chairman Roy Senares who was being put in charge
of “security”; and Emmanuel Cruz, a businessman, who was
being placed in charge of “politics.” (Note: Abat was also
supported by Charlie Serapio, a lawyer who has been involved
in anti-Arroyo activities for some time. End Note.) Abat’s
December 13 appearance was his latest sighting since his
public demand earlier this year that Arroyo resign amid
allegations that she had inappropriate contact with a
then-Commission on Elections (COMELEC) official during the
May 2004 elections (ref E). (Note: Abat was defense
secretary under former president Ramos from 1997-1998. He

was Commanding General of the Army from 1976-1981. End

¶3. (SBU) The Philippine National Police (PNP) reportedly
detained Abat mid-day December 15. In explaining the
detention, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales said the GRP was
considering filing charges of sedition against Abat and
possibly some of his followers. (Note: There also were
reports that Abat’s son, Colonel Victor Abat, had been
removed from his field command and was being investigated.
End Note.) Abat’s reported detention came after two days
during which Malacanang at times contemptuously dismissed his
effort and at other times seemed a trifle concerned.
Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye, for example, on
December 14 dismissed Abat’s declaration as “quite
unfortunate and very pathetic.” Taking a tougher tone,
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced that Malacanang
was looking into Abat’s “financial benefactors” to determine
the extent of any “conspiracy.”

¶4. (SBU) The news regarding Abat came in the wake of several
days of on-and-off coup rumors which picked up some coverage
in the press. It is believed that these rumors began as
telephone text messages that spread quickly throughout the
country. Although the source(s) of the rumors remains
unclear, supporters of Abat are likely suspects. A Reuters
news story reported that military officers had allegedly been
detained for plotting to take over military bases in Manila,
but that story turned out to be inaccurate. In any event,
there were no untoward or unexpected troop movements and no
breakdown was reported in the military’s command and control

¶5. (U) In a seemingly unrelated incident that sparked some
concern, a junior officer facing trial for the unsuccessful
July 2003 “Oakwood” mutiny of several hundred troops in the
central business district of Makati escaped custody on
December 14. Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon, who was being
taken to a court hearing, eluded security officers
accompanying him after he sought permission to buy mangoes
from a nearby fruit stand. Faeldon later in the day released
a recorded message to the press denouncing Arroyo and her

¶6. (C) Comment: Abat is not taken seriously. He has
virtually no supporters and mainstream members of the
Opposition quickly distanced themselves from his
announcement. Ramos, who was out of the country, publicly
ridiculed the effort despite his past links with Abat and
some of Abat’s supporters when he was president. Abat seems
to have stepped too far for Malacanang in the sheer
brazenness of his claims, however. Mission, fielding some
questions from the press, has underscored our strong support
for democracy and the rule of law, and our opposition to any
form of extra-legal or extra-constitutional measures.

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http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

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