Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
O 051008Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2325
INFO ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 002504
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2018
TAGS: PREL RP PINR KISL EAID UNGA
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ARROYO LAUDS OBAMA VICTORY IN MEETING WITH AMBASSADOR
Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a private meeting November 5 with the
Ambassador at Malacanang Palace just moments after the
results of the U.S. presidential election were known,
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded Senator Barack
Obama’s victory as an extraordinary moment in U.S. history in
which Americans should take great pride. She also praised the
efforts and patriotism of Senator John McCain, and
immediately placed calls to express her admiration to both
candidates through the Operations Center. Based on her
conversations with Senator Obama this summer, President
Arroyo voiced confidence that U.S.-Philippine ties would
remain strong. The Ambassador stressed the importance of
maintaining energetic efforts to create a durable peace in
Mindanao, and President Arroyo restated her firm commitment
to return to peace negotiations as soon as possible. The
President urged once again that the U.S. support the
Philippine candidate for the International Court of Justice,
and lamented the Philippine’s failure to pass a key
Millennium Challenge Corporation corruption indicator. End
¶2. (C) The Ambassador opened the meeting by reporting that
the 56th U.S. presidential election had effectively
concluded, Senator John McCain had conceded defeat and
President-elect Barack Obama had just delivered a victory
speech to his supporters in Chicago.
¶3. (C) President Arroyo had high praise for the American
election process, calling the November 4 poll “an amazing
moment for America,” and said that President-elect Obama’s
victory should be a day of great pride for the United States.
She paid tribute to the vision, dedication and energy of
both candidates, and said she would immediately place calls
to both to offer her warm regards on a battle well fought.
(Post heard from the Operations Center shortly after the
meeting that Malacanang Palace had requested to speak with
both men at the earliest opportunity.)
CONTINUED STRONG TIES
¶4. (C) President Arroyo noted her satisfaction that she had
been able to converse with Senator Obama during her visit to
the U.S. last summer, and that she had received a letter from
the then-candidate promising that, if he were elected, U.S.
policy toward the Philippines would not change and our
relations would remain strong. She gave the Ambassador a
copy of a press statement she had just released (full text in
¶5. (C) The Ambassador fully endorsed President Arroyo’s
sentiments, saying that the nearly 1,000 Filipino and
American participants who had taken part in the Embassy’s
just-concluded election watch event had found the day’s
events thrilling and emotional. Senator McCain’s heartfelt
concession speech had drawn tears from numerous participants,
and emphasized the very best in American politics — after a
long, hard-fought campaign, he urged his supporters to join
him in uniting behind the new President-elect and helping him
to succeed. Similarly, Senator Obama’s journey to the White
House was unique, bringing us a President with a remarkable,
global background — African father, American mother,
childhood spent in Indonesia.
COMMITMENT TO PEACE
¶6. (C) The Ambassador noted that the President-elect’s
transition team would soon be turning their thoughts to a
wide array of issues, including foreign policy, and that the
status of efforts to achieve peace in Mindanao could be a key
focus for the Philippines. The Ambassador said that it would
be important to be able to report that the President and her
government remained fully committed to achieving a durable
peace agreement with Muslim insurgents in Mindanao, and
ensuring increased stability and prosperity in the south.
Resolving the ongoing global economic crisis would be another
vital agenda item.
¶7. (C) President Arroyo stressed that the Ambassador was
exactly on target, that her government was determined to
return to peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
She welcomed the prospect of continued close international
cooperation in meeting the extraordinary economic challenges
facing nations around the globe.
¶8. (C) Turning to other issues of concern to the Philippines,
President Arroyo strongly urged that the United States
support the candidacy of Philippine Senator Miriam
Defensor-Santiago in the November 6 UN voted to fill
vacancies in the International Court of Justice. The
Ambassador replied that President Arroyo had carried out an
energetic and forceful campaign on behalf of Senator
Defensor-Santiago, and her qualifications were well known to
the United States.
DISMAY OVER MCC CORRUPTION INDICATOR
¶9. (C) President Arroyo voiced deep disappointment at the
news that the Philippines was unlikely to pass a key
corruption indicator used by the Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC). She complained that the failing score was
the result of changed methodology in measuring levels of
corruption, and that it was not fair to change the rules in
the midst of the Philippines’ effort to create an MCC compact
agreement. The Ambassador emphasized the importance that MCC
and the U.S. government attached to reducing corruption, and
the key role that the corruption indicators played in the
MCC’s decisionmaking process.
¶10. (U) The text of President Arroyo’s press statement on the
outcome of the U.S. election follows:
PRESIDENTIAL PRESS STATEMENT
PRES. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
November 5, 2008
On the Election of Senator Barack Obama As the 44th U.S.
On behalf of the Filipino nation and the Filipino people, I
congratulate Senator Barack Obama on his election as the 44th
President of the United States.
We welcome his triumph in the same vein that we place the
integrity of the U.S. electoral process and the choices made
by the American people in high regard. We likewise note the
making of history with the election of Senator Obama as the
first African-American President of the United States.
The Philippine Government, and the Filipino nation for that
matter, has closely observed this elections as it would any
important developments in its strongest country-ally. We
salute the Filipino-Americans who have actively taken part in
this electoral exercise – truly of democracy in action – as
we also trust that their choices to ultimately and positively
impact their Motherland, the Philippines, as much as it will
redound to the betterment of the United States of America as
a nation and as a people.
With the next administration of the United States, bilateral
relations between the Philippines and the United States
covering various aspects of political, social, economic, and
cultural life, will remain strong and stable as ever. We
look forward to closely working with Senator Obama in
strengthening regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, as
well as in addressing the concerns of our World War II
veterans here and in the United States. This much we can
expect from a country-ally whose strong relations with our
country we have mutually nurtured through decades past and
which we both enjoy to this day.
As I am aware of the political and economic challenges that
the new U.S. president will face that will, in turn, bear on
the global scenario, my family and I pray that Senator Obama
be guided always by wisdom from the Almighty God, and wish
for his continued success and well-being.
End of statement