Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4856.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4856 2006-11-30 07:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #4856/01 3340746
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 300746Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4121
INFO RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNS/COMSOCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 004856

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, PM, S/CT, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO AND J5
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2016
TAGS: PTER MARR MOPS MCAP RP
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR ADMIRAL FALLON’S VISIT TO THE PHILIPPINES

REF: MANILA 4808

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

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Fox, I am looking forward to seeing you!
General Esperon and I will meet you in Zamboanga and
accompany you on your trip to Jolo, where you will have a
chance to see for yourself some of the successes in the
ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippines operation to
eliminate terrorists on the island.

POLITICAL-MILITARY RELATIONS
—————————-

¶2. (C) President Arroyo, who will become acting Secretary of
Defense on December 1 after Secretary Cruz’s earlier
resignation, remains in a relatively strong political
position, with the opposition in its usual state of disarray
and with many politicians increasingly focused on
Congressional and local elections in May 2007. Renewed
efforts by Speaker of the House Jose De Venecia to transform
Congress into a “constituent assembly” during the week of
December 4 in order to amend the Constitution to provide for
a unicameral parliamentary form of government are unlikely to
succeed, given the Senate’s refusal to go along and an
expected Supreme Court challenge. Even if the move succeeded
(against most current expectations), President Arroyo would
remain in place as chief of state. We are taking no position
on the merits of amending the Constitution, since this is an
internal decision for the people of the Philippines and their
elected representatives to make.

¶3. (C) Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff
General Hermogenes Esperon told me he is committed to
continuing our counterterrorism cooperation and defense
reform, regardless who is the next Secretary of National
Defense. He has proven a tough Chief of Staff. Facing down
numerous critics, he decided to move ahead with
courts-martial for 30 of the 38 officers implicated in last
February’s aborted coup d’etat. He wants success on Jolo and
is driving his commanders hard to capture or kill the Abu
Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah leaders there. He has ordered
his troops to get the high value targets before Christmas.
General Esperon will join us for your trip to Jolo.

JOLO
—-

¶4. (C) You will have a chance to see for yourself on Jolo
one of the JI/ASG camps captured by the AFP, a complex
capable of sheltering a sizable terrorist force. Lieutenant
General Cedo, the Western Mindanao Forces Commander, and
Brigadier General Rafael, the Task Force Comet Commander,
will be there on the ground to explain the ongoing operation
and to show you some of the improvised explosive devices
recovered at the camp. Knowing Cedo, I don’t expect him to
say much with General Esperon there. He is a quiet
professional, more comfortable in Tagalog than English, who
shows deference to his seniors. Despite these traits, Cedo
has proven himself a tenacious fighter and determined leader
during the ongoing operation. The AFP has suffered 22 killed
and 103 wounded since the August 1 onset of “Operation
Ultimatum.”

¶5. (C) We have also arranged a small ceremony in Jolo City
at which we will reward two boys who provided information on
the location of improvised explosive devices. The actions of
these children demonstrate how far we have come in our
campaign to separate the terrorists from the population on
the island of Jolo. We anticipate press coverage of the
event.

MARINE CASE
———–

¶6. (SBU) At some point between one and three o’clock in the
afternoon of December 4, Makati City Regional Trial Court
Judge Pozon will issue his verdict in the case of four U.S.
Marines accused of the November 2005 alleged rape of a
Filipina. By that time, we should have moved from the
rewards ceremony to inspect the former terrorist camp, and,
therefore, anticipate no interaction with the press after the
verdict is announced.

PUBLIC THEMES:
KEEP UP THE COUNTERTERRORISM FIGHT
———————————-

¶7. (U) Some themes:

— In your interactions with General Esperon, Major General
Cedo, and other Filipino officers, you may want to express
your thanks for their commitment to finishing the fight and
appreciation for the sacrifices their troops have already
made.

— At the rewards ceremony, you can note our strong
partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and our
hope
to build together a better future for the people of Jolo and
Mindanao.

¶8. (U) If asked:

— If asked about the Marine case by the press or others, you
should stress that it is a principle of Philippine and
American law that anyone accused of a crime is presumed
innocent until proven guilty. The United States is committed
to seeing that justice is served, through a fair and
impartial process that can provide for a just outcome. The
U.S.-Philippine relationship is long and friendly; the Marine
case will not affect that.

— You should not comment on any possible or announced
verdict.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
KENNEY

   

 

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