Sep 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/12/07MANILA3932.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3932
2007-12-14 06:21
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1583
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3932/01 3480621
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 140621Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9186
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS 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 003932

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2017
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RP
SUBJECT: RESCHEDULED VILLAGE ELECTIONS SET FOR DECEMBER 15

REF: A. MANILA 3576 (NATIONWIDE VILLAGE ELECTIONS SEE
HIGH TURNOUT AND LOWER VIOLENCE)
¶B. MANILA 3547 (PHILIPPINES TO HOLD FIRST
NATIONWIDE VILLAGE ELECTIONS SINCE 2002)

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (SBU) Summary: Special elections will be held on December
15 in 360 villages that were unable to carry out regular
voting during the nationwide elections on October 29 in
42,000 villages. The Commission on Elections declared
“failures of election” in these areas for various reasons,
including non-delivery of voting paraphernalia, failure of
election officials to report to work, and harassment of poll
workers and volunteers. While these villages represent a
small proportion of the 42,000 nationwide, many are
traditional hot-spots for election-related violence and
voting irregularities, with the majority situated in Muslim
Mindanao. The Commission expects polls to be generally
peaceful and orderly; however, a recent explosion at the
Commission’s Jolo office on December 8 has forced police to
increase planned deployments for Saturday’s elections. The
Mission’s election observation efforts will include the
dispatch of political staff to the polling places in Metro
Manila and an extensive USAID-supported election monitoring
program in Mindanao. End Summary.

————————————–
Rescheduled Elections in Some Villages
————————————–

¶2. (SBU) The Commission on Elections will hold village and
youth elections on December 15 in 360 “barangays” (the
smallest political districts in the Philippine political
system) where the Commission declared a “failure of election”
in the October 29 village and youth council elections. While
the October 29 elections in some 42,000 barangays were
generally peaceful and orderly, a small number of barangay
elections were unmanageable. Failures of election are most
often declared because of violence or harassment of voters or
poll workers; however, Commission officials noted that a
variety of circumstances can force the Commission to
reschedule the elections: failure of poll workers to report
to work, or in some cases, the non-delivery of election
materials to a particular polling site.

¶3. (SBU) The Commission expects 65 to 75 percent of over
172,000 registered voters to turn out at the polls for the
barangay council elections and 75 to 80 percent of the
approximately 15,000 registered youth voters (aged 15 to 17)
to turn out for the youth council elections. The
overwhelming majority of the 360 villages where special
elections are to be held are situated in Muslim Mindanao
(specifically in the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay,
Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, and Maguindanao, as well as
Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Shariff Kabunsuan and Sulu in the
Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)). Special
elections will be also held in seven villages in the Luzon
region, including two villages in metro Manila, and in 21
villages in the Visayas region, with a high concentration in
the Samar Province, a long-time hotbed of the Communist New
People’s Army.

——————————-
Preparing for Possible Violence
——————————-

¶4. (SBU) Western Mindanao and the ARMM are traditional
hot-spots for election-related violence and voting
irregularities. Intense political rivalries and the presence
of armed insurgents intensifies the propensity for election
failures. While the lead-up to the December 15 special
elections has been relatively quiet, an explosive device was
detonated on December 8, immediately outside of the Jolo
office of the Commission on Elections. While the explosion
caused no deaths or injuries, its message may have been to
intimidate election officials. The police continue to
investigate the explosion and have increased deployments
through the ARMM for the election period. The Commission
imposed a total gun ban in the election areas and has even
prohibited candidates from employing bodyguards during the
election period.

¶5. (C) After the explosion at the Commission’s Jolo office,
some officials have called for increased military presence at
the polling sites to ensure peaceful elections. Major
General Rafael, Commander of the AFP’s Sulu operations, told
the Ambassador that the Armed Forces should help administer
the special elections in Sulu, where more than 50 villages

MANILA 00003932 002 OF 002

will hold special elections. General Nelson Allaga, Chief of
the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command, similarly suggested that
the military should offer assistance in selected areas, since
the troops may be viewed as “neutral outsiders.” However,
both Rafael and Allaga noted that the Secretary of National
Defense Gilberto Teodoro is adamant that the military should
not play a role in the elections, to avoid politicization and
accusations of military involvement in any election
irregularities. Teodoro’s policy was instituted by his
predecessor, Secretary Cruz, after accusations of military
involvement in election irregularities in 2004.

——-
Comment
——-

¶6. (C) While violence and fraud may affect some districts on
election day, the Commission on Elections and the police are
taking the necessary steps to ensure a freer, fairer, and
more peaceful process for this second attempt. Elections
Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that the Commission and the
police have more than adequate manpower to oversee this
smaller electoral process, dispatching the officials to these
villages almost a week in advance of election day. Given the
propensity for violence and voter fraud in Mindanao and the
ARMM, Post plans to closely follow the polling activities in
these areas. The USAID-supported Coalition for ARMM
Electoral Reform (Citizens CARE) will deploy its officers to
monitor voting and counting in all six provinces of the ARMM,
while several of the Mission’s political officers will
observe polling in Metro Manila.

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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