Sep 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/01/07MANILA238.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA238 2007-01-19 09:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO2470
OO RUEHNH
DE RUEHML #0238/01 0190925
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 190925Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4831
INFO RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA IMMEDIATE 0080
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000238

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/19/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PTER RP
SUBJECT: INTERIOR SECRETARY PLEDGES CONTINUED COOPERATION

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

¶1. (C) Summary. In a January 19 meeting, the Ambassador
thanked Interior Secretary Puno for his role in the transfer
of LCpl Smith back to the Embassy, commended his Department
for preparing a draft Executive Order on police/prosecutor
cooperation, and stressed the need to implement the
Philippine National Police transformation program. Puno
highlighted the importance of honoring international
agreements as the key factor in the decision to transfer LCpl
Smith to U.S. custoy, pledged to continue topush for the
signing o the Executive Order and for passage of
anti-terorism legislation, and defended his Department’s
removal of local government officials for corruption. End
Summary.

¶2. (C) The Ambassador met over breakfast on January 19 with
Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Rolando V.

SIPDIS
Puno. The Ambassador thanked Secretary Puno for the
Administration’s courageous decision to transfer LCpl. Daniel
Smith to U.S. custody in December and for the effective
manner in which the transfer was made, with special praise
for the close coordination of U/S Corpus. Secretary Puno
explained that he had been one of few Presidential advisers
who believed the Administration, rather than the courts,
should take the lead on the Smith case, as the executive
branch has the responsibility for upholding international
agreements. According to Puno, leaving interpretation of the
Visiting Forces Agreement to the judicial branch would yield
different interpretations by different courts. Puno said he
had successfully argued to President Arroyo that, ultimately,
the international credibility of the Philippines to honor
agreements was at stake. Puno was complimentary of the
Embassy’s “professionalism” in handling the case.

¶3. (C) The Ambassador emphasized the importance of improving
police/prosecutor cooperation in successfully investigating
and prosecuting cases of terrorism, extrajudicial killings,
and trafficking in persons, and commended his role in
preparing a draft Executive Order on such cooperation, which
remains at Malacanang for signature by the President. Puno
pledged to push for its signing soon. The Ambassador noted
that the ongoing Philippine National Police (PNP)
transformation program would also play a key role in
improving investigations, and assured continued support for
the program through the Embassy’s Senior Law Enforcement
Advisor.

¶4. (C) Puno characterized the passage of a pending
anti-terrorism bill as “absolutely necessary” in the war on
terrorism. He said it was “outrageous” that known terrorists
could be free on bail because of the absence of an effective
anti-terrorism law. He promised to work to ensure that the
Senate would pass its version this year. (The House passed
another version in 2006.)

¶5. (C) Puno noted the success of the PNP Task Force Usig,
created to investigate extrajudicial killings, in bringing
transparency to a very difficult and contentious issue.
According to Puno, while left-leaning activist groups claimed
that there have been hundreds of cases involving security
forces, Task Force Usig has thus far identified only seven
cases involving the police. The PNP has filed charges
against several police officers; some are in custody, while
some are on the run. Puno said he was working with
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Gaa to help better explain
the issue to policy makers in Washington.

¶6. (C) Puno defended the recent removal by his Department of
various local government officials accused of graft and
corruption. While the press had reported that the
Administration was targeting opposition officials in an
effort to influence the May 2007 elections, Puno stated that
only one of the nine local government officials removed
belonged to the opposition (others, such as the Mayor of
Zamboanga, tell us differently). Puno added that it was the
Ombudsman, an independent body charged with investigating and
prosecuting corruption by government officials, rather than
his Department, that had selected these officials; DILG
merely complied with the Ombudsman’s order.

¶7. (C) Secretary Puno labeled the recent ASEAN summit a
success, highlighting the lack of violence as an indication
that the DILG had effectively handled demonstrators. He
attributed this success to increased DILG contact with the
Commission on Human Rights and to improved human rights
training for police.

MANILA 00000238 002 OF 002

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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