Sep 132014
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2005-11-21 08:46
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 005433


E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2015

¶B. MANILA 4801

Classified By: CDA Paul W. Jones, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (S) Summary and comment: In a one-on-one meeting with
Charge 11/21, National Security chief Bert Gonzales said he
has recommended to President Arroyo that she invoke a
Constitutional provision “as soon as possible” that would
allow her to order the military and police to arrest leftist
politicians and suspected Communist forces whom Gonzales
believes are now coordinating with the Opposition to
overthrow the government. Gonzales said that the weakness of
the Opposition offers the NPA an unprecedented opportunity to
enter government if the President is forced from office. The
President will surely face another impeachment when the
one-year hiatus expires next June, he asserted; a six-month
duration of emergency measures would substantially weaken the
NPA threat before June. The lack of prospect of a serious
anti-terrorism law, as well as the lack of an anti-sedition
law or modern national security law, left the government no
other options for dealing with the growing NPA threat,
Gonzales said. The fight against the NPA must be 80 percent
political and human rights must be strictly observed, he
emphasized. Regarding the current wave of killings of
leftist politicians, Gonzales said most are victims of an
aggressive purge of moderate leftists by the NPA. On the
terrorist threat, Gonzales said he had just returned from
Southern Command in Zamboanga, where he advised military
leaders to avoid military engagements, such as current
operations on Sulu, that unite locals against the armed
forces, and instead rely on the “Basilan model” of
development and cooperation with U.S. advice and support.
Gonzales worried about the growing islamization of terrorists
in Mindanao, which could produce suicide bombers in the

¶2. (S) Summary/Comment continued: Charge told Gonzales that
the U.S. would not support emergency rule, that we did not
share his analysis of the threat posed by the NPA, and that a
campaign against the NPA would be rightly seen as detracting
from the Philippines’ role in the war on terrorism. Gonzales
said he recognized that the Philippines would be “isolated”
in its fight against the NPA, but that it was necessary for
the survival of the nation and would not detract from the
fight against terrorism. Gonzales’ recommendation to the
President increases our concern over the possibility of
emergency rule, but other senior advisors, such as Executive
Secretary Ermita and Mindanao advisor Dureza, have recently

indicated to Charge that emergency rule is not likely or
imminent. Gonzales’ concerns reflect those presented in an
earlier aide memoire to senior USG officials (ref a) and a
separate GRP document passed to Embassy (ref b). Septel will
analyze the Communist threat in greater detail. We do not
believe the threats Gonzales cites are imminent or real,
although the legal leftists are indeed working closely,
though in our judgment ineffectively, with other elements of
the Opposition to force the President out of office. We do
not have evidence to substantiate his claim of coordination
between the NPA and legal leftist politicians. Gonzales
indicated that the President may ask him to travel to
Washington in December. If so, we recommend high level
meetings at NSC and State to hear clear USG opposition to the
emergency measures he has in mind. End summary and comment.

NPA/Leftist/Opposition Threat

¶3. (S) National Security Advisor Noberto Gonzales, in a
one-on-one meeting with CDA on November 21, said that he was
recommending to President Arroyo that she respond to what he
sees as an ongoing rebellion by the Communist Party of the
Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) with the imposition
soon of limited emergency measure for a six month period.
(Note: Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution
gives the President the right as Commander-in-Chief to
suspend habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part
thereof under martial law for up to sixty days in response to
invasion or rebellion. Congress may revoke such a
proclamation but does not need to approve it, although
Congress would need to extend it beyond sixty days. End
note) Gonzales said that the GRP would use such powers to
arrest all CPP Central Committee members, which he believes
includes party list Congressman Satur Ocampo, and other
members of Congress whom he believes to be front men for the
CPP/NPA. He admitted that there was no specific plan to
date, but noted many things in the Philippines happen without
a plan. He insisted that the GRP needed to take forceful
measures as soon as possible in order to disrupt the
activities of the CPP/NPA, especially in the run-up to what
Gonzales predicted would be another impeachment effort
against President Arroyo next summer. He said that he had
told President Arroyo that, for the good of the country, she
should take this step in order finally to get rid the
Philippines of the Communist presence, noting that all of the
Philippines’ neighbors had already done so.

¶4. (S) CDA told Gonzales that the U.S. would not support
emergency rule, that we did not share his analysis of the
threat posed by the NPA, and that a campaign against the NPA
would be seen as detracting from genuine counter-terrorism
activities for domestic political reasons. Gonzales insisted
that the GRP had sufficient resources to undertake this new
measure as well as to continue its counterterrorism
operations and cooperation.

¶5. (S) Gonzales explained further that the CPP/NPA, unlike
during the EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 movements, was joining forces
with the legitimate opposition in order to “overthrow”
President Arroyo, believing her to be in a weak political
position and also recognizing that the Opposition itself was
weak. These leftists were clearly part of planning meetings
for protest activities with Opposition figures, another new
development, he claimed. He added that the CPP/NPA was also
now coordinating its military activities in the field with
these political activities in the capital, yet another new
development. (Note: we will continue to monitor each of
these areas for evidence to support Gonzales’ views. End

¶6. (S) Gonzales said that the GRP response to this threat
would be “80 percent political and 20 percent military,” and
that he had already begun meeting with military officials
throughout the country to prepare them for this eventuality.
He claimed that he consistently urged them to handle military
oppositions with clear respect for human rights, given the
expected level of international scrutiny. CDA expressed
concern about numerous killings of Bayan Muna and other
leftists in recent months, but Gonzales claimed that in most
cases the NPA was actually purging more moderate figures,
though he could not exclude military collusion in some cases.

Terrorist Threat

¶7. (S) Gonzales offered criticism, which he said he had
shared with SOUTHCOM Commander General Adan, for the latest
military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group and Nur
Misuari Breakaway Group on Sulu, noting that the locals were
Tausugs and would fight back fiercely. He said that he had
encouraged instead use of the “Basilan” model to win over the
locals by positive humanitarian and civic programs. He
commented that local military commanders keen on promotion
were probably behind the initiation of such offensives.

¶8. (C) Gonzales also warned about the increased
“Islamization” of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),
calling Vice Chair Aleem Abdulaziz Mimbantas especially
“dangerous” and linked to the Jemaah Islamayah. He expressed
concern about the role of madrassas in radicalizing Muslims
in MILF areas, and worry that this phenomenon could produce
suicide bombers in the future. He said he would personally
work to empower moderate Muslims to confront these radicals,
as he claimed was successfully done in Mindanao in 1996.

CT legislation

¶9. (C) Gonzales lamented the lack of anti-terrorism and
anti-sedition laws, making it virtually impossible to arrest
NPA members and other leftists, even with caught with
weapons. He expressed doubt that the Congress would ever
pass serious anti-terrorism legislation because of the
current political gridlock and the Opposition’s concern over
abuses by the government.

DC Visit

¶10. (S) Gonzales indicated that President Arroyo had asked
him to go to Washington in December to discuss intelligence
cooperation, among other issues. CDA said that we would want
to set up meetings for him at the NSC and State Department as
well as CIA, in order to hear USG views on this possible
emergency measures as well as other issues of intelligence
sharing and counterterrorism cooperation.



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