Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/02/06MANILA830.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA830
2006-02-24 07:17
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO7331
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0830/01 0550717
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240717Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9464
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 000830

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP, DRL/CRA, DS, CA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/24/2016
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ASEC CASC PREL RP
SUBJECT: SITREP 1: MALACANANG DECLARES “STATE OF EMERGENCY”

REF: MANILA – OPS CENTER 02/24/2006 TELECON

Classified By: Charge d’Affairs, a.i., Paul W. Jones for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: President Arroyo declared a “State of
Emergency” in a TV address at 1120 hrs (local). Arroyo’s
formal proclamation of national emergency blamed a conspiracy
between the “extreme Left” and “military adventurists.”
Based on Mission information, there does appear to have been
some sort of plot and at least one high-level officer is
reportedly in military custody; two others have now been
apparently cleared. The military hierarchy has publicly
reiterated its loyalty to Malacanang and confirmed that all
units and commanders are “intact.” There are no reports of
unauthorized troop movements. At least two Opposition
rallies have taken place, although Malacanang reportedly has
now revoked all existing permits for the 20th anniversary of
People Power (EDSA 1). There are no reports of problems for
Amcits. Mission will hold another EAC at 1400 hrs local to
review issuance of a Warden message and other matters.
Mission has used press guidance provided by EAP with media
and political contacts and anticipates issuance of a
statement by late afternoon, following a private meeting that
National Security Adviser Gonzales requested with Charge and
a subsequent briefing by Foreign Secretary Romulo for the
diplomatic corps planned for 4:00 pm. End Summary.

¶2. (U) President Arroyo declared a “State of Emergency” in
a TV address at 1120 hrs (local). In her official
proclamation (no. 1017), Arroyo stated that “military
adventurists from the “extreme Right” and “authoritarians of
the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA” had been
conspiring for months to bring down the government, aided by
“certain segments of the national media” had “recklessly
magnified” their claims against the Government. Arroyo
stated that a plot had been “foiled” and added that the
military chain of command remained loyal to her. She gave no
indication of how long Emergency Rule might last. Her
proclamation invoked Presidential powers under Article 7,
Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution in cases of insurrection
or rebellion.

¶3. (C) Speaker of the House Jose De Venecia called Charge at
mid-day. JDV said he supported the move by Arroyo, stating
that he had been at meetings at Malacanang since 3 am on
February 24. He characterized Arroyo’s actions as a “mild,
calibrated response” to a serious threat. He highlighted
that the declaration does not impose martial law or suspend
habeas corpus. He argued that the alternative to Malacanang
taking action was to allow “a military junta” to take over.
Regarding Emergency Rule powers, he said the president now
has the authority to take over “public utilities,” including
media outlets that are deemed to be engaged in “treason.” He
said civilians would not be arrested on mere “suspicion,” but
any such arrest would need evidence and a warrant. Military
members involved in the plot would be punished using the code
of military justice.

¶4. (C) Based on Mission information, there does appear to
have been some sort of plot and at least one high-level
officers is reportedly in military custody. Philippine
National Police (PNP) Director of Operations Avelino Razon
told poloff:

— Several Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and police
officers attempted to recruit other senior officers for a
coup d’etat;

— BG Danny Lim, Commander of the Scout Rangers, Colonel
Ariel Querubin, Commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, and BG
Marcellino Franco, commander of the PNP Special Action Force
(SAF) are now in “restrictive custody” (note: in a
subsequent presscon, AFP Chief of Staff General Generosa
Senga indicated that Querubin and Franco were not, indeed, in
custody, although they may face questioning);

— Razon said he had no concerns about the SAF as a unit, but
had relieved its entire command group;

— The AFP and police are “consolidating and doing
headcounts,” Razon stated, claiming, “Things are under
control now. We nipped something in the recruitment stage.”

¶5. (C) NCIS contacts in the Philippine Marines stated that
Colonel Querubin, Commander of the 1st Marine Brigade,
approached Philippine Marine Commandant General Miranda the

MANILA 00000830 002 OF 003

evening of February 23 seeking his support for an attempted
coup. Philippine Navy Fleet Officer in Command Admiral
Mayuga and Philippine Army Commander LTG Esperon intervened
to keep units loyal.

¶6. (C) Just after 6 am February 24, National Security
Advisor Norberto Gonzales phoned Charge to inform him that
President Arroyo had approved a draft declaration of a State
of Emergency. According to Gonzales, the measures would be
similar to the measures President Arroyo imposed in May 2001
in response to violent anti-Arroyo demonstrations. (Note:
The May 2001 measures lasted about one week, during which the
GRP made some arrests without warrant — though most suspects
were released within a few weeks. End Note.) Gonzales said
Emergency Rule would initially apply to the whole country,
but would be refined “in a day or so.” He indicated that the
government planned to arrest members of the military and
civilians involved in the plot. Gonzales asserted that the
measures taken by the President are permitted by the
Philippine Constitution. (Note: Article VII Section 18 of
the Constitution states, “The President shall be the
Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and
whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed
forces to prevent or supress lawless violence, invasion or
rebellion.” Article XII, Section 17 of the Constitution
adds, “In times of national emergency, when the public
interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and
under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take
over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public
utility or business affected with public interest.” End
Note.)

¶7. (U) At least two Opposition rallies took place by
mid-day, although PNP began to break them up by 1300 hrs
based on revocation by Malacanang of permits for all EDSA-1
20th anniversary rallies. In one of the ongoing rallies, a
small group of Opposition protesters mixed with some leftist
elements are gathered near the “EDSA” Shrine, located in
Metro Manila, and astride EDSA, a major thoroughfare. Some
Opposition elements are also gathered at a hospital in the
San Juan area of metro Manila where former president Joseph
Estrada is scheduled to undergo surgery later today.
Estrada, who faces serious corruption charges, is normally
under house arrest in the Manila suburb of Tanay. So far,
these two rallies have basically been peaceful, though there
are reports that the police may move in to break up the EDSA
Shrine event. Earlier in the day, authorities revoked all
permits for rallies in Quezon City. There are reports that
other Opposition events are planned for later today,
including that former president Corazon Aquino plans to lead
an Opposition march on Roxas Boulevard in the Manila area.
Despite the Emergency Rule declaration, Opposition figures
have stated that they will push through with the planned
rallies.

¶8. (U) In separate noontime press conferences at Malacanang
and Camp Aguinaldo, Cabinet members and all service
commanders reiterated their support for the President and the
emergency measures. There was some inconclusive discussion
of the need to protect “public utilities,” an apparent
reference to the media.

¶9. (U) The overall situation in Manila is calm as of 1400
local. Businesses are open and there is vehicular and foot
traffic. There is not a large-scale military/police
presence, although there is an increased deployment of
military forces near the airport, near Malacanang, and at
military locations in the city. Schools were closed during
the morning and there are reports that some government
offices have been closed.

10 (C) There are no reports of problems for Amcits. Mission
will hold another EAC at 1400 hrs (local) to review issuance
of a Warden message and other matters. Mission has used
press guidance provided by EAP with media and political
contacts and anticipates issuing a statement later this
afternoon, following a private meeting between CDA and NSA
Gonzales, followed by a briefing by Foreign Secretary Romulo
to the diplomatic corps planned for 4:00 pm.

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/

MANILA 00000830 003 OF 003

Jones

   

 

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