Oct 042014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07MANILA752.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA752 2007-03-08 08:11 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO9327
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0752 0670811
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 080811Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5571
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS MANILA 000752

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PREL PHUM KCRM RP
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ARROYO SIGNS LANDMARK COUNTERTERRORISM LEGISLATION AMID LEFTIST CRITICISM

REF: A. MANILA 599
¶B. MANILA 560
¶C. MANILA 465

¶1. (U) At a highly publicized ceremony featuring half the
Cabinet, Congressional leaders, senior military and police
officials, and the diplomatic corps at Malacanang Palace on
March 6, President Arroyo signed the final version of the
“Human Security Act of 2007,” long-awaited counterterrorism
legislation that will expand the tools available to the
Philippine government to investigate and prosecute acts of
terrorism (ref a). To address concerns by leftist activists
and opposition politicians that the law could be used against
them during elections, the law will initially become
effective two months after the May 14 mid-term elections and
will then be automatically suspended one month before and two
months after every subsequent election. President Arroyo
called the legislation a “landmark in the battle against evil
waged by all freedom-loving Filipinos and allies in the
world” and said that, with its enactment, the Philippines
would no longer be a haven for terrorists. The U.S.
Embassy’s statement congratulated “the Philippine Government
and Congress for this positive step forward in countering and
preventing terrorism in the Philippines” by providing needed
legal tools while “ensuring protection of civil liberties and
human rights.”

¶2. (U) President Arroyo publicly promised that the law would
not be used to stifle political dissent and assured that
“law-abiding Filipinos have nothing to fear . . . for it is a
weapon that shall be wielded against bombers and not
protesters,” but most leftist legislators and organizations
disagreed. Opposition Senator “Jamby” Madrigal called the
new law “a license to kill” that gives President Arroyo “the
powers of a dictator to punish her enemies by branding them
terrorists.” Leftist party-list Congressman Satur Ocampo
called the law a “death knell” to civil liberties and human
rights. Party-list Congresswoman Liza Maza called the
signing a “virtual declaration” of martial law and an
“endorsement of torture.” Labor organizer Joel Maglunsod
warned that the government would use the law to “stop and
suppress all forms of legitimate crusades by the people
against anti-people policies.” Communist Party of the
Philippines spokesman “Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal called the
new law “the most fascistic legal instrument of the state
since the 1972 declaration of martial law and Marcos’s open
dictatorial rule,” which “serves only the US and local
fascists’ interests.” He labeled it “an extremely vicious
and evil instrument that will be used by Arroyo to suppress
the Filipino people,” and urged “all NPA units to carry out
tactical offensives nationwide to punish the Arroyo regime
and its armed forces.”

¶3. (U) Current President of the influential Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Bishop Angel Lagdameo
said in an interview on March 7 that, while terrorism must be
condemned in the most absolute terms, the right to defend
against it must be exercised in the context of “moral and
legal norms” and with respect for human rights and the rule
of law. In a personal commentary posted on the Conference’s
website, typically outspoken Archbishop Oscar Cruz praised
the removal from the legislation of “much of its sharp and
mortal fangs” but said it still “raises many legitimate
doubts and questions,” particularly with respect to
definitions of key terms, such as what constitutes
“extraordinary fear and panic.”

¶4. (U) The Leyte Regional Trial Court on March 7 issued a
warrant of arrest for Congressman Satur Ocampo for a 23-year
old murder case stemming from an internal purge of NPA
members. Ocampo went into hiding following the arrest order.
In a “secret” interview on March 8, Ocampo called the
charges baseless and a gross miscarriage of justice, and said
the government is afraid of party list presence in Congress.
Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Sison and
National Democratic Front chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni,
both in self-exile in the Netherlands, are also defendants in
the case.

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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