Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/11/07MANILA3797.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3797
2007-11-29 08:08
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #3797/01 3330808
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 290808Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9035
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 003797

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/2017
TAGS: CASC MARR MCAP PREL RP MASS
SUBJECT: SENATOR AND FORMER COUP PLOTTER WALKS OUT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS IN PROTEST

REF: MANILA 2156 (COUP PLOTTER IN PHILIPPINE SENATE)

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons
1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Senator Antonio Trillanes, a former
military officer on trial for his role in leading the failed
July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny against the Philippine government,
and Brigadier General Danilo Lim, organizer of the February
2006 failed coup attempt, walked out of court proceedings in
the Makati Regional Court in Metro Manila at approximately 11
a.m. on November 29 with other accused mutineers, generating
a flurry of media coverage over the possibility of another
coup. Trillanes and his supporters, dubbed the Magdalo
soldiers, along with Lim, walked a few blocks in the affluent
Manila suburb of Makati and then conducted a brief impromptu
press conference at the Manila Peninsula hotel in which they
called for President Gloria Arroyo to step down. Trailed by
military police, the group was unable to generate a crowd of
more than about 100 persons. Philippine National Police and
the Armed Forces of the Philippines have told the Embassy
they are coordinating closely, and President Arroyo has
ordered the group to be rearrested. Ambassador Kenney has
spoken with President Arroyo to assure her of U.S. support
for the Philippine constitution and rule of law and convey
our view that the situation be resolved peacefully with the
cases handled by the Philippine legal process as stipulated
by the constitution. As will be reported in septel, the
Embassy convened an Emergency Action Committee. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) On the eve of Bonifacio Day, the Philippine holiday
commemorating Andres Bonifacio, a national hero who advocated
armed insurrection against the Spanish, accused mutineer
Senator Antonio Trillanes walked out of the Makati Regional
Court in Metro Manila on November 29, along with a dozen
other soldiers on trial for their role in the 2003 failed
Oakwood Mutiny. Also with Trillanes was Brigadier General
Danilo Lim, on trial for his role in organizing the failed
February 2006 coup launched from the Philippine Marine
headquarters in Manila. Although Lim and the Magdalo
soldiers are on trial for their role in the coups, they were
at the hearing at the request of Trillanes, who had asked
they be allowed to testify on his behalf. Initial press
reports said that Trillanes had been led out of the court by
a group of armed followers in uniform. However, it appears
the media confused the military police assigned to escort
Trillanes with the other indicted mutineers who were in
uniform and left with Trillanes. Following standing orders,
the military police trailed Trillanes, Lim, and the others
until they reached a cordon of Philippine National Police, at
which point the police assumed responsibility for the
security situation. Entering the Manila Peninsula Hotel in
Makati, Trillanes and Lim conducted an impromptu press
conference, detailing a litany of alleged abuses by the
Arroyo administration and calling for the President to step
down.

¶3. (C) Upon hearing the news of the walkout, Philippine
President Gloria Arroyo returned from a provincial trip and
convened an emergency cabinet meeting, vowing to rearrest
Trillanes and the others. Secretary of National Defense
Gilberto Teodoro issued a statement saying the government
would “apply the full force of the law to rearrest the
escapees and punish those involved.” Despite Trillanes having
stated that he would use his position in the Senate to bring
about Arroyo’s impeachment, some in the administration had
indicated earlier in the year that there was a high
probability the President would grant political “amnesty” —
before convictions — to Trillanes (reftel). That now seems
unlikely given his call for Arroyo’s resignation. Following
his initial arrest for treason after the Oakwood incident,
Trillanes ran for Senate while in custody, winning a seat in
¶2007. Despite being recognized as a senator, he has not been
allowed to take his seat since he is still on trial and in
custody.

¶4. (C) Throughout the incident, the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the Philippine National Police have displayed
close cooperation. Immediately after Trillanes left the
courthouse, National Police Director Avelino Razon said that
he had spoken to Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines General Hermogenes Esperon and they were
coordinating their response to Trillanes’ actions as directed
by President Arroyo. Philippine National Capitol Region
Police Chief Geary Barias is the on-scene commander and the
armed forces are in the process of surrounding the hotel. As
a precaution against any unauthorized troop movements, the

Armed Forces/Police joint special unit is manning a
checkpoint on the expressway south of Manila. Philippine
authorities have ordered guests to evacuate the hotel and
have secured the area around the Peninsula hotel as they make
preparations to rearrest Trillanes, Lim, and the Madgalo
soldiers. American citizens have been relocated to nearby
hotels.

¶5. (C) At 3 p.m., General Barias attempted to serve an
arrest warrant to Trillanes on the second floor of the hotel.
Armed, plainclothes supporters of Trillanes rebuffed Berias
and said that if he tried to take Trillanes into custody,
there would be gunfire. Philippine police sources have said
they are prepared for that contingency, but want to resolve
the situation peacefully. Ambassador Kenney has spoken with
President Arroyo to assure her of U.S. support for the
constitution and rule of law and of our view that the
situation be resolved peacefully with the cases handled by
the Philippine legal process as stipulated by the
constitution. As reported in septel, the Embassy convened an
Emergency Action Committee on the issue and is monitoring the
situation as it pertains to American citizens.

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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