Sep 222014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2005-09-28 07:41
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.
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 004637


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2015

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

¶1. (U) Summary. Two high-ranking Philippine military
officers have been relieved of their posts after claiming at
a Senate hearing to know of vote fraud committed on behalf of
Philippine President Arroyo in the 2004 election. End

¶2. (U) On September 28, 2005, two high-ranking officers in
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were relieved of
command after testifying earlier that day at a Senate inquiry
in defiance of an order from Philippine President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo. (Note: President Arroyo is also Commander
in Chief of the AFP. End Note.) Brigadier General Francisco
Gudani, Assistant Superintendent of the Philippine Military
Academy (PMA), and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Balutan,
Assistant Commandant of PMA cadets, had been called to
testify in the ongoing investigation of fraud during the
Philippines’ 2004 presidential election.

¶3. (U) Gen. Gudani testified that, as commander of the 1st
Marine Brigade and concurrent commander of Joint Task Force
Lanao (Mindanao), he had seen vote-buying and other
irregularities aimed at ensuring Arroyo’s re-election in
¶2004. He also testified that an unnamed friend of his had
helped the President’s husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo,
personally deliver bundles of money. Gudani claimed he was
told that an estimated 500 million pesos (approximately $9
million USD) was sent to Mindanao for vote buying, though he
declined to identify his source. Balutan corroborated
Gudani’s testimony.

¶4. (U) Gudani’s and Balutan’s testimony appears to have
violated Executive Order 464, which prohibits administration,
military, and police officials from testifying in Senate and
House hearings without the permission of the President. E.O.
464 was issued on September 28, the day of the Senate
hearing. AFP Chief of Staff Generoso Senga responded swiftly
and decisively to Gudani’s and Balutan’s testimony. Citing
the Executive Order, Senga relieved Gudani and Balutan of
their posts and stated that they would face court-martial

¶5. (C) Comment. Gudani is identified with the Opposition in
general and Opposition Senator Rodolfo Biazon, a former AFP
Marine General and the chairman of the hearing, in
particular. Given his association with the Opposition, his
hearsay testimony, and his failure to come forward with this
information 16 months ago, his motives and veracity could be
questioned. Indeed, Malacanang has begun to cast aspersions
on his testimony for these very reasons. At the same time,
however, it must be noted that Malacanang announced the
Executive Order forbidding such testimony only after Gudani’s
appearance at the Senate hearing. Opposition Senators have
vowed to challenge both its constitutionality and its
apparent retroactive implementation. It is unclear what the
larger impact on Philippine politics, and the AFP’s role in
it, might be. End Comment.

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