Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/10/05MANILA4809.html

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA4809
2005-10-10 09:21
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
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 004809

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP, EAP/PD
NSC FOR H. MORROW

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/11/2015
TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS KPAO ASEC PREL RP
SUBJECT: MORE PHILIPPINE REACTION TO UNFOLDING U.S.
ESPIONAGE CASE

REF: A. EAP/MTS-MANILA UNCLASS EMAIL 07 OCT 2005

¶B. MANILA 4785
¶C. MANILA 4466
¶D. MANILA 4433

Classified By: Political Officer John R. Groch for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. The indictment of Philippine national
Michael Ray Aquino on charges of conspiracy and acting as an
unregistered foreign agent has elicited a range of reactions
in the Philippines, including comments from President Arroyo
and the Secretary of Justice. Key Opposition politicians,
however, have largely refrained from commenting in recent
days. Much of the reaction has centered on Aquino’s alleged
connections to Opposition politicians, including former
president Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Senator Panfilo “Ping”
Lacson; Aquino is routinely being described in the local
media as Lacson’s “protege.” Unsurprisingly, Malacanang has
sought to make political hay out of the indictment by
attacking the Opposition and its apparent links to Aquino.
End Summary.

¶2. (U) In the latest Philippine reaction to the unfolding
U.S. espionage case (refs B-D), President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo has responded to Aquino’s October 6 indictment by
publicly linking the espionage allegations to her
oft-repeated claims that the Opposition has been trying to
destabilize her government. Arroyo has characterized the
Opposition politicians who allegedly received classified
information from Aquino as “coup plotters” and “robbers,” and
suggested that they were “prepared to go to the extent of
destroying Philippine-American relations just to serve their
ambitions for power.” The President, through her Press
Secretary, has also called on Opposition politicians who

SIPDIS
allegedly received stolen U.S. documents to apologize to the
Philippine people for disgracing “the good name of our
country.”

¶3. (U) Of late, there has been almost no response to the
Aquino indictment from Opposition politicians, including
those, like Estrada and Lacson, who had previously come
forward and acknowledged that they had links to him. This
lack of response has itself been cause for comment in the
local media. However, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, an
Opposition leader who has acknowledged seeing some of the
material allegedly procured by Aquino, has continued to
downplay the importance of the U.S. case.

¶4. (U) The GRP is following up on the U.S. indictment of
Aquino, and the purported role of Opposition politicians in
his case, by launching its own investigation, geared to
ferreting out an alleged “money trail” linking the
Opposition, Aquino, and Leandro Aragoncillo, the FBI analyst
arrested last month. Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez has
expressed disappointment with U.S. law enforcement agencies
over this matter, asserting that, “They (the USG) meddle with
us and then they don’t cooperate with us.” Several
Philippine congressmen have also called for the USG to reveal
the names of any Philippine officials alleged to be involved
with the case, and Senator Miriam Santiago has filed a Senate
resolution seeking an investigation into the case. Late on
October 11, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
Interpol Chief asserted that new information coming from
Washington indicated that some of the information allegedly
stolen by Aquino and Aragoncillo ended up in the hands of the
Communist New People’s Army. He did not provide evidence to
support this claim. He also stated that the USG would be
making an unspecified announcement in the case on October 11
(Washington time).

¶5. (C) Comment. It is not at all surprising that this is
being treated locally largely as another episode in the
Philippines’ ongoing internal political melodrama. President
Arroyo has seized upon the case as an opportunity to bolster
her own political stature and to strike back at the
Opposition. The relative silence of Opposition politicians
is a good indication that this case may in fact provide
Arroyo with a useful weapon to hit them over the head with.
The comments of Sec. Gonzalez are unfortunate, especially
since Philippine DOJ Undersecretary Ernesto Pineda and NBI
Director Reynaldo Wycoco had constructive meetings last week
with USG counterparts on this matter in Washington (ref A).
Gonzalez does, however, have a reputation for ritually
speaking off the cuff, and his remarks should be taken in
that context. End Comment.

JONES

   

 

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