Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/05/06MANILA2096.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA2096 2006-05-17 06:50 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7427
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2096/01 1370650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170650Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1042
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002096

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PTER PINS PREL RP
SUBJECT: GRP FORMS TASK FORCE TO INVESTIGATE KILLINGS OF LEFTIST ACTIVISTS

REF: MANILA 1452 AND PREVIOUS

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

¶2. (SBU) Summary: Eleven more leftist activists have been
killed in attacks since late March. President Arroyo has
formed a police task force to investigate the killings. Some
GRP officials are suggesting that the continued killings are
the result of an internal “purge” being conducted by the
Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army
(CPP/NPA). They have also claimed that “mass graves” of
victims have been found, though they have not provided
evidence of that. The creation of the task force is good
news, but it needs to show results. Mission, at all levels,
continues to underscore the need for respect of the rule of
law and an end to the culture of impunity. End Summary.

————-
More Killings
————-

¶3. (U) Since late March, 11 more leftist/labor activists
have been killed in attacks that have taken place throughout
the Philippines. Of these, eight were members of Bayan Muna,
a front group for the CPP/NPA. The most recent killing took
place on May 16 when the secretary-general of Bayan Muna’s
Pangasinan (a province northwest of Manila) chapter was shot
and killed in an ambush while riding a motorcycle. On May 9,
Reverend Jeremias Tinambacan, a United Church of Christ
pastor and a provincial chairperson of Bayan Muna, was gunned
down in Misamis Occidental in northwest Mindanao. His wife,
who was wounded in the incident, claimed to recognize one of
the assailants as a military informer. These latest slayings
have occurred against a backdrop of escalating violence — so
far this year, 28 leftist/labor activists have been killed
nationwide, compared to around 40 for the whole year of 2005
(see reftel for further details). Bayan Muna claims that the
most recent killings have pushed to 93 the number of its
members slain since 2001.

———————–
Presidential Task Force
———————–

¶4. (U) Responding quickly to the recent rash of killings,
President Arroyo denounced the attacks and announced that she
had ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to create a
task force to investigate. Task Force “Usig” (meaning “to
prosecute”), headed by PNP Deputy Director General Avelino
Razon, Jr., is charged with creating a detailed database
containing profiles of suspects, victims, incidents,
intelligence summaries, forensic investigations, and an
assessment of the progress of each case. Razon told the
press that witnesses will be afforded protection under the
Justice Department’s Witness Protection Program. He
indicated that reward money might be offered to those
providing information that leads to the arrest and
prosecution of the perpetrators. Razon, who is
well-respected, urged relatives and friends of the victims to
come forward with evidence related to the killings, adding
that police investigations had been hampered by a lack of
interaction with those close to the victims.

¶5. (U) The setting up of the task force met with widespread
press and public approval. Leftist groups, however,
dismissed the GRP’s action as “a whitewash,” claiming that
the government had chosen not to really investigate the
crimes because elements of the military are responsible.

——————————–
Claims of Purges and Mass Graves
——————————–

¶6. (SBU) In a new twist, some Philippine government
officials are suggesting publicly that the continued killings
of activists is the result of an internal “purge” being
conducted by the CPP/NPA. National Security Advisor (NSA)
Norberto Gonzales and Department of Interior and Local
Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno both recently made this
claim, averring that the purge is recent and similar to the
well-documented CPP/NPA purges that occurred in the 1980s.
On May 14, Gonzales went on to claim that the military and
police had uncovered “mass graves” that contain the bodies of
recent purge victims. According to Gonzales, three separate
sites — two in Mindanao and one in Tarlac, an area north of
Manila — have been discovered, one containing 20 dead
bodies. Despite Gonzales’ assertions, no other sources have

MANILA 00002096 002 OF 002

verified the existence of the alleged graves. Mission
contacts at the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
and other organizations said they were completely unaware of
any evidence supporting the claims. CHR said it would
continue to look into the matter.

——-
Comment
——-

¶7. (SBU) The creation of the task force is good news, but it
needs to show results. The slayings are netting an
increasing amount of public attention and human rights NGOs
are clamoring for action. In addition to the killings of
leftist activists, there continue to be killings of
journalists, judges and criminal suspects, most of which are
unresolved. Mission, at all levels, continues to underscore
the need for respect of the rule of law and an end to the
culture of impunity.

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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