Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07MANILA1011.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1011 2007-03-29 06:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO8399
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1011/01 0880600
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290600Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5872
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH IMMEDIATE 0333
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001011

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/29/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS RP
SUBJECT: MISUARI DETERMINED TO GAIN FREEDOM AND POLITICAL OFFICE

REF: A. MANILA 962
¶B. MANILA 923

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: Imprisoned Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari reportedly has pledged
cooperation with USG peace, security, and development efforts
in Mindanao. Despite a long-standing and intermittently
ongoing trial for sedition, Misuari is determined to win the
May 14 gubernatorial election in Sulu province, as well as to
head an MNLF delegation to the OIC in Saudi Arabia in July.
As the only leader of the MNLF recognized by the OIC, Misuari
remains an important actor in at least part of Mindanao, but
his apparent hopes of either imminent freedom or a return to
political power may be quixotic. End summary.

——————————–
Misuari Supports USG In Mindanao
——————————–

¶2. (C) According to MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari’s attorney —
former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
Solicitor-General Ombra Jainal, Misuari now wanted to
cooperate with the USG’s peace, security, and development
efforts in Mindanao. Jainal thanked the USG on behalf of
Misuari for reducing human rights violations in Sulu
province. While describing Misuari as a “reasonable man” who
no longer had any appetite for war, Jainal noted “Misuari
wants freedom” following five years imprisonment on charges
of sedition, which he claimed were based on “hearsay.” He
said that he would file a motion for dismissal during an
April 11 hearing at the Makati Regional Trial Court.

————————–
Determined to Win Election
————————–

¶3. (C) Jainal said he had personally advised Misuari not to
run against well financed politicians Abdulsakur Tan and
incumbent Sulu Governor Benjamin Loong in the May 14
gubernatorial election. Nonetheless, Misuari viewed himself
as the only candidate with the grassroots support to become
Sulu Governor, and not only registered as a candidate but
even had Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, in his capacity as
Kampi Party president, swear him in as the party’s official
candidate on March 26. Jainal admitted that, without support
from Malacanang, Misuari would be unlikely to win the
election. Jainal commented that Misuari planned to address
endemic corruption, drug trafficking, and the presence of Abu
Sayyaf members in Sulu, while trying to attract more
international development assistance for poverty stricken
areas.

——————–
Sabah Sensitivities
——————–

¶4. (C) Jainal claimed that Malaysia had become increasingly
apprehensive over Misuari’s resurgent political stature as
well as his potential to influence the large Filipino
population residing in Sarah, to which the Philippines has
not officially renounced its claim. Jainal commented that
“neutralization of the Sabah issue” had been a primary motive
behind Malaysia’s hosting of the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) peace talks in Kuala Lumpur. He noted that the
mostly ethnic Maguindanaon MILF leadership in central
Mindanao did not support the recovery of Sabah, unlike some
20 competing Sultans of Sulu and North Borneo and the ethnic
Tausug-dominated MNLF leadership within the Sulu Archipelago.

——————
The OIC connection
——————

¶5. (C) Jainal insisted that the MNLF would never accept an
MILF peace pact that supplanted its own 1996 final peace
agreement with the Philippine government, and underscored
that the inclusion of territory from the six-province ARMM
under a new MILF political entity would require Congressional
approval and a plebiscite. Jainal claimed that Misuari has
resisted pressure by the Philippine government to support its
own observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference
(OIC) and to certify provisions of the 1996 Final Peace
Agreement as fully implemented. He explained that the
Philippine government apparently wanted first to settle its
differences with the MNLF and OIC over implementation of the

MANILA 00001011 002 OF 002

1996 agreement, and then to have Misuari negotiate with the
MILF leadership over next steps.

¶6. (C) Jainal noted that Misuari’s participation in the July
2007 GRP-MNLF-OIC Tripartite Conference in Jeddah remained
uncertain. One issue that threatened to preclude Misuari’s
travel to Jeddah was the armed police escort that would
likely have to accompany him, unless the Philippine court
dismisses his case first. Jainal cited a March 9 incident at
the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Manila during OIC Special
Envoy Sayed El-Masry’s visit, when Misuari could not enter to
perform noon prayers because his police escorts declined to
hand over their firearms to the embassy’s security personnel
without prior permission from the court.

————————-
Internal Divisions Remain
————————-

¶7. (C) During the OIC March visit, Misuari agreed to unify
the MNLF in preparation for the Tripartite Conference, Jainal
said. However, despite a recent agreement by members of the
Council of 15 and Alvarez Isnaji factions of the MNLF to
reunite with Misuari’s fold, Jainal admitted that the
organization remains internally divided.

¶8. (C) Jainal commented that the MILF leadership also faced
internal divisions among at least four factions under Al-Haj
Murad Ebrahim, Samir Hashim, Aleem Mimbantas, and Abdul
Rakman Macapaar. Hashim, who considers himself the
legitimate successor to his late brother, MILF Chairman
Salamat Hashim, never accepted Murad in this position of
power, according to Jainal. Members of Salamat Hashim’s
former guard force recently broke away from the MILF and
joined the more secular MNLF, which includes Christians, said
Jainal.

——–
Comment:
——–

¶9. (C) Malacanang and the Makati Regional Trial Court hold
at least some of the keys to Misuari’s immediate future.
While likely to retain some influence in Mindanao, especially
in Sulu, he may well fail in his quests both for freedom and
for a return to political power within the ARMM, at least in
the near future. His gubernatorial campaign strikes many
observers here as, at best, quixotic, and, at worst, as a
desperate act by a political has-been.

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

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.