Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/05/07MANILA1534.html
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1534
2007-05-11 07:38
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO2058
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1534/01 1310738
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 110738Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6459
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 3408
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH IMMEDIATE 0729
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 001534

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/11/2017
TAGS: PGOV PINS PREL MY RP
SUBJECT: NUR MISUARI BACK ON JOLO, AMID NEW FIGHTING

REF: A. MANILA 1366

¶B. MANILA 1243
¶C. MANILA 1187
¶D. MANILA 1011
¶E. MANILA 923
¶F. MANILA 407

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

¶1. (C) Summary: The Makati Regional Trial Court temporarily
permitted detained Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
Chairman Nur Misuari to campaign for Sulu Governor in Jolo
City May 11-14. Followers of rogue MNLF Commander Habier
Malik clashed again May 8 with government security forces in
Kalingang Caluang on Jolo Island. Pressure may be building
on some MNLF commanders to support Malik, who remains on the
run. Misuari apparently still harbors aspirations to
“re-gain” Sabah from Malaysia. The Philippine government
clearly hopes Misuari will be a force for peace and
reconciliation over the long-term — but probably not as Sulu
governor. End Summary.

————————-
Court OKs Misuari to Jolo
————————-

¶2. (U) On May 9, Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Winlove
Dumuyag issued written approval for detained MNLF Chairman
Nur Misuari to return to Jolo City May 11-14 to campaign for
Sulu Governor and to cast his votes. He intends to hold at
least one political rally in Jolo City. The judge denied
requests for him also to visit Luuk, Siasi, and Pangaturan
May 10-20. The Court is also unlikely to approve a motion to
allow Misuari to accept an invitation to the May 15-17
Organization of Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in
Islamabad, Pakistan. However, Judge Dumuyag scheduled
Misuari’s bail hearing for June 21. Exceptionally, the
hearing will took place in the house where Misuari is serving
his detention.

¶3. (C) Armed Forces of the Philippines National Capital
Region Commander Major General Ben Dolorfino — the most
senior AFP Muslim and the chief of the Ad Hoc Joint Action
Group with the Moro Islamic National Liberation Front — told
poloff that he had personally encouraged Misuari to run for
governor and had advised him to attack incumbent Sulu
Governor Benjamin Loong for engaging in “un-Islamic
practices,” including embezzlement of Internal Revenue
Allotment funds, corruption, alcohol consumption, gambling,
and absenteeism from official duties. MG Dolorfino said that
he had also advised Misuari to criticize the other
gubernatorial candidate — former Sulu Governor Sakur Tan —
for engaging in many of the same “un-Islamic practices,” in
addition to drug trafficking.

————–
Fresh Fighting
————–

¶4. (U) Renewed fighting erupted in Jolo on May 8 between AFP
troops and followers of rogue MNLF Commander Habier Malik
(reftels). AFP Western Mindanao Command Information Officer
Eugenio Batara told the press that the fighting began during
the early morning in Barangay Kambing of Kalinggalang
Kaluang.

¶5. (C) MG Dolorfino, whom Malik briefly held captive in
February (ref f), described the current political and
security situation on Jolo as “very delicate.” Dolorfino
commented that, while Malik remains isolated and on the run,
pressure is building among some MNLF commanders to support
Malik in the face of mounting MNLF casualties. He commented
that if Malik is “pushed to the wall,” the potential exists
that other MNLF elements on Jolo, Basilan, the Zamboanga
Peninsula, and/or in central Mindanao will enter the fray.
Dolorfino instead welcomed efforts by the Philippine National
Police to bring Malik to justice based on a new arrest
warrant for Malik. Attorney Jainal separately predicted that
Malik would never allow himself to be captured alive by
government security forces and that Malik’s death would
likely embolden other MNLF members to fight.

———————
Dreaming of Sabah…?
———————

¶6. (C) MNLF Attorney Ombra Jainal described Misuari as a

MANILA 00001534 002 OF 002

strong advocate for the recovery of Sabah from Malaysia and
as still bitter toward Malaysia for arresting and turning him
over to Philippine authorities in January 2002. Misuari once
commented to MG Dolorfino that when the timing was right,
“the MNLF could invade Sabah at 5 a.m. and control it by 7
a.m.” Misuari has also reportedly claimed that he personally
was a legitimate claimant to Sabah by virtue of his “royal
blood,” and has blamed “Malaysia’s agents” for stirring up
trouble in Sulu.

¶7. (C) Self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Fuad Kiram granted
Misuari the hereditary rank of “Datu” (Royal Prince) of the
Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (Sabah) at Misuari’s
detention house on March 14. Kiram attended the March 18
MNLF Freedom Day Anniversary Celebration at Malik’s then-camp
in Bitanag as guest of honor, where Malik called him the only
“true and legitimate” Sultan of Sulu and Sabah, according to
Kiram’s chief advisor, Omar Kiram.

¶8. (C) MG Dolorfino commented that Malaysia is not only
concerned about Misuari’s intentions toward Sabah, where
Misuari apparently still has hundreds of followers, but also
about his recent contacts with Malaysian opposition figure
Anwar Ibrahim, described as an “old friend” of Misuari’s.
Over the past several months, Malaysian officials have held
at least three meetings with Misuari and/or Misuari’s wives,
according to Jainal and Dolorfino. During an April 10
meeting, a special envoy from Malaysian Prime Minister
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told Misuari not to meddle in
Malaysia’s domestic politics, Dolorfino said. According to
Jainal, Misuari promised Badawi’s representative that he had
no intention of getting involved in Malaysia’s internal
affairs.

¶9. (C) Dolorfino opined that Malaysia would likely seek
stronger assurances that Misuari would not pursue the Sabah
claim. He added that Malaysia had promised to facilitate an
eventual power sharing agreement between the MNLF and Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after the GRP-MILF Peace
Panels reached an ancestral domain agreement.

——-
Comment
——-

¶10. (C) Despite his checked past, Nur Misuari retains
considerable respect among the MNLF as its founder and
long-time leader, despite his rather ignominious term as
governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and his
ongoing trial for sedition. The Philippine government
clearly hopes he will be a force for peace and reconciliation
over the long-term, but probably not as Sulu governor,
unlikely as that now seems. His two competitors, Loong and
Tan, have even stronger ties to different elements in the
Arroyo Administration, which must ultimately find a path to
peace with the MILF without treading on too many MNLF toes.

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

   

 

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