Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/04/06MANILA1792.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA1792 2006-04-25 10:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO3659
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1792/01 1151020
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251020Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0684
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001792

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, DRL/CRA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2016
TAGS: PINS PREL PTER RP
SUBJECT: REBELLION CHARGES AGAINST SUSPECTED COUP PLOTTERS JUST BEFORE MAY DAY

REF: A. MANILA 889
¶B. MANILA 1162
¶C. MANILA 1021

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

. (SBU) Summary: The Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ)
on April 21 formally filed in a Makati City Court a motion to
bring charges of rebellion against the leftist “Batasan Five”
lawmakers and 43 others, including members of the Communist
Party of the Philippines. The charges are based on a
February 27 complaint filed by the Philippine National Police
in the wake of the February 24 State of National Emergency,
declared after the Administration concluded that a clear and
present danger existed. The accused lawmakers have said that
they would leave their current sanctuary in Congress after
the issuance of any eventual arrest warrants, but have also
filed several challenges to the government’s findings. DOJ
at the same time deferred filing charges against Brigadier
General Danilo Lim and other military officers, pending
further investigation. As the May 1 Labor Day holiday
approaches, the government expects usual labor
demonstrations, but no serious threats to stability or
attempted coups. Embassy will remain alert to these
possibilities. End Summary.

———
Rebellion
———

¶2. (U) DOJ on April 21 formally filed a motion (which did
not become public until April 24) in the Makati City Regional
Trial Court to bring charges of rebellion against at least 48
individuals, after determining that there was sufficient
evidence to proceed with an initial complaint filed by the
Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on February 27. The group
includes the so-called “Batasan Five” members of Congress —
who have remained in the Batasang Pambansa complex of the
House of Representatives since February 26 (ref c) — whom
one self-described former New People’s Army (NPA) member
Jaime Fuentes claimed to have witnessed in secret meetings
with CPP/NPA and rebel factions of the military regarding
their alleged plans to oust President Arroyo.

¶3. (U) In addition to the five members of Congress, the
motion includes charges against ex-Senator and repeated coup
plotter Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan as well as several
prominent CPP leaders, including founder Jose Sison and
spokesperson Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosa. Honasan — also
implicated in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny — remains in hiding
despite an ongoing manhunt and a promised bounty of 8 million
pesos (USD 160,000).

¶4. (U) However, DOJ did not find sufficient evidence to
bring charges against Brigadier General Danilo Lim — former
commander of the Philippine’s elite First Scout Ranger
Regiment — and nine other soldiers. DOJ instead returned
these cases to PNP for further investigation.

———-
Next Steps
———-

¶5. (C) On April 26, the Supreme Court likely will hear a
petition from the “Batasan Five” to dismiss the case
outright, alleging that the DOJ pre-judged the initial
complaint. On April 24, lawyers for the accused lawmakers
filed a counter-motion with the Makati Regional Trial Court
to suspend proceedings on the DOJ charges until the Supreme
Court makes its ruling. The counter-motion also asked the
court to conduct its own investigation of the case to
validate or refute the DOJ’s finding of probable cause.
Supporters of the accused have denounced the GRP’s charges as
“ridiculous,” claiming they are part of an attempt to limit
the powers of leftist politicians. Marco Palo, the Chief of
Staff for accused congressman Theodore “Teddy” Casino,
alleged privately to poloff that the DOJ had “clear
instructions” from Malacanang to push forward with the case
“regardless of merit.” However, if the court eventually
issues arrest warrants, the accused lawmakers have stated
that they would go peacefully.

——-

MANILA 00001792 002 OF 002

May Day
——-

¶6. (SBU) As the May 1 Labor Day holiday approaches, the GRP
is bracing itself for planned demonstrations. A spokesperson
for the American Center for International Labor Solidarity
(ACILS) — the international arm of the AFL-CIO — told
poloff on April 25 that leftist groups will face a challenge
in mounting May Day demonstrations, as “the government has
been monitoring all their activities and will have mechanisms
in place, such as checkpoints, to keep the crowds down.”
The spokesperson further noted that mainstream labor groups
are not planning marches and will stick to holding job fairs.

¶7. (C) Malacanang Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Jake
Lagonera told Pol/C on April 25 that Malacanang expects the
May Day holiday to be relatively quiet, with only usual level
of pro-labor demonstrations. He said that the GRP did not
see any signs of new coup attempts or major “people power”
movements, although authorities will maintain their
vigilance. He indicated that the public had become “weary”
of such public demonstrations, at least for the time being.
He said, however, that the DOJ decision to seek charges
against such a broad spectrum of individuals, including
within the CPP hierarchy and Congress, reflected the GRP
decision that the time had come to take decisive action
against would-be destabilizers who defy the law.

¶8. (C) Comment: Despite the lack of clear indicators of
trouble over the upcoming weekend, Embassy will remain alert
for the potential of new protests and anti-GRP activities.
The GRP has now sent out even clearer signals that it will
utilize all legal mechanisms against would-be coup plotters,
although the Philippine judicial system will likely make it
impossible to have swift resolution of these cases. However,
the failure so far to move in similar fashion against
military figures in the alleged plot considerably weakens
this signal.

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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