Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/02/08MANILA334.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA334
2008-02-07 09:12
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1541
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0334 0380912
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 070912Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9684
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 000334

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/2018
TAGS: PGOV PINR RP
SUBJECT: NOGRALES ELECTED HOUSE SPEAKER

REF: MANILA 316

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, for reason 1.4 (d).

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a unanimous vote, the House of
Representatives elected on February 4 Davao City
Representative Prospero “Boy” Nograles as the new speaker,
replacing political heavyweight Jose de Venecia, who occupied
the seat for five terms (reftel). The 60-year-old, Catholic
Nograles is the first Speaker from Mindanao, lending balance
to an otherwise Luzon-dominated political hierarchy in the
country. Lawmakers from the various political parties seized
the opportunity for change in the House and elected the
third-termer Mindanaoan, who is a partymate and close ally of
President Arroyo. Nograles has vowed to implement
long-sought reforms, such as greater transparency in the use
of public funds and fairer treatment of members irrespective
of political affiliation. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) In his acceptance speech, Nograles promised to
restore order and “heal the wounds” in the House following
the bitter Speakership fight. He vowed to address the lack
of transparency in the use of public funds, an issue often
raised by reformists against the de Venecia leadership. He
stressed that he wanted his term to be marked by
consensus-building, consultation with peers, and “independent
but cordial” relations with Malacanang. The unanimous vote
in his favor perhaps showed the House’s faith in his capacity
to implement reforms. However, it more likely reflects
members’ recognition that it is in their best interests to
work with the Palace, and critics were quick to point that
the new Speaker’s closeness to Malacanang will render it
difficult for the chamber to assert its independence.

¶3. (SBU) Nograles received his law degree from Ateneo Law
School, where he was a classmate and friend of the
President’s husband, “First Gentleman” Mike Arroyo. A
dedicated student, Nograles ranked second in the 1971
Philippine Bar examination and practiced law until his
election to Congress in 1989. Now in his fifth term overall
— third consecutive — he has served in various committees
and was majority leader from 2004-2007. Prior to his
election as Speaker, he was head of the House panel in the
bicameral Commission on Appointments. As a lawmaker, he has
supported political and economic reform legislation,
including constitutional reform. He has professed a
conviction that the grant of presidential amnesty to
communist rebels will encourage them to give up the struggle
and support government. He has also opposed Church
intervention in politics.

¶4. (SBU) Nograles is an advocate of the rule of law, human
rights, and press freedom, and together with now Presidential
Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, he was among Davao City’s first
human rights lawyers, who helped the Church pursue justice
for victims of the Catalunan Grande massacre in the late
1970s. He recently blamed a so-called Davao “death squad”
for the killing of a journalist friend and is at odds with
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, with whom he had issues
during the May 2007 local elections. Because Nograles is on
his third and last consecutive term, he is reportedly
planning to run in the 2010 Davao mayoral race.

¶5. (SBU) Nograles favors strong U.S.-Philippine relations,
and is generally cordial with the Mission. He has publicly
stated his support for the war against terrorism but has been
critical of the Visiting Forces Agreement.

¶6. (SBU) Nograles was born on October 30, 1947, in Davao
City, Southern Mindanao. He is married to Rhodora Bendigo,
with whom he has four children.
KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.