Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA3095 2005-07-07 06:44 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 MANILA 003095
DEPT FOR S, D, P, EAP, EAP/PMBS, INR/EAP
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KISL PINR RP
SUBJECT: MUSLIM VIEWS ON MANILA’S POLITICAL CIRCUS
Classified By: Political Officer Joseph Saus for
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (C) Summary. Some moderate Muslims are looking beyond
PGMA to a possible De Castro era. The ongoing circus has
sparked renewed interest in a look at an independent Mindanao
as part of a federal system. Muslim clerics may issue veiled
attacks against PGMA on July 8. End Summary.
¶2. (C) Charge met July 6 with Amina Rasul, a close Embassy
contact and Muslim civil society activist who is identified
with the opposition. Rasul stressed “all eyes are on (Vice
President) Noli De Castro,” but she worried that he has even
less capacity for leadership than PGMA, given that he has
never served at the head of a large bureaucracy. Rasul noted
that PGMA is at least tempered by the Church and civil
society, while De Castro has no such limiting factors. De
Castro also is surrounded by a staff even more “ravenous”
than PGMA’s, according to Rasul.
¶3. (C) Recent calls for an independent Mindanao republic, as
highlighted by outspoken and controversial Davao City Mayor
Rodrigo Duterte, are reflective of Mindanao’s disappointment
with the ongoing political circus in Manila, Rasul said.
Charge and Rasul agreed that Duterte — a steady PGMA ally —
could also be warning the opposition that unrelenting
confrontation with Malacanang could prompt national
disintegration. On this issue, Rasul opined that a
federalist system could be the happy medium between the
status quo and secession. Charge noted that the USG strongly
opposed any attempts at secession in the Philippines.
Regarding the situation in Manila, he also stated USG support
for transparency and accountability, but also he emphasized
the importance of following the Constitution.
¶4. (C) She provided Charge with copies of a sermon that
several muftis (clerics) will deliver across Mindanao on July
8 during Friday prayers. The sermon’s broad themes — which
are not supportive of PGMA — dwell on safeguarding the
public trust and include Koranic verses such as: “The signs
of hypocrisy are three: When he speaks, he lies; when he
promises, he reneges; and when he is entrusted (with
something), he betrays it. Even he prays, fasts, and claims
to be a Muslim (he is still a hypocrite)… When a leader
starts thinking that he is special and that there is nobody
else who can be in his position (the leader is already lost).
He will soon become a dictator and will suppress all
dissent…” Rasul also provided Charge a copy of a separate
statement, signed by several muftis, in which PGMA is
implored to be courageous and submit herself to the law. The
document stresses that Islam is a religion of forgiveness,
although “we cannot simply forgive and forget a crime if one
has been committed against the public.” The final paragraph
requests PGMA to “face the music,” and “be rid of lies and
half truths,” in order to set herself free and “deliver us
from the political quicksand we have been led to.”
¶5. (C) Comment: Rasul is active in Mindanao civil society
and grass-roots efforts that showcase moderate Islam and the
compatibility of Islam and democracy. While she makes no
effort to hide her opposition links, her views are indicative
of the general distrust of Manila harbored by many Filipino
Muslims. In general, Muslims appear fed up with the
political circus in “Imperial Manila,” and are deeply worried
about potential ramifications for the peace process and
economic development plans for Mindanao, while also seeing
this as a potential opportunity to advance agendas for
federalism or even separatism. End Comment.
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