Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/02/06MANILA889.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA889 2006-02-27 11:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO9718
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0889/01 0581128
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271128Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9551
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 000889

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/24/2016
TAGS: PINS EFIN ASEC CASC PREL KPAO RP
SUBJECT: SITREP 14: GRP FILES SEDITION CHARGES AGAINST 15 IN OPPOSITION; PRESIDENT ARROYO LAUDS ECONOMIC SITUATION

REF: MANILA 853 AND PREVIOUS

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

¶1. (C) Summary: The police filed sedition charges with the
Department of Justice (DoJ) on February 27 against 15
Opposition figures, including six leftist lawmakers.
President Arroyo, in a TV interview given mid-day, lauded the
performance of the economy and defended her State of
Emergency declaration. Manila remains calm, overall, and the
Philippine military reports no chain of command problems. In
a conversation with Charge, former president Ramos said he
was telling members of the Opposition to resolve things
peacefully and not to resort to violence. In a separate
meeting with Charge, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
officials said they were disappointed with U.S. press
statements on the situation, believing they did not take into
consideration the GRP’s side of the story. Opposition
elements have filed two cases before the Supreme Court
challenging the constitutionality of the State of Emergency.
The peso fell marginally while stocks rose. Schools are set
to reopen on February 28. No problems for AmCits have been
reported; the next EAC is scheduled for February 28 morning.
End Summary.

———————————–
Filing of Charges; More to Follow?
———————————-

¶2. (SBU) On February 27, the Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) filed
charges of rebellion and conspiracy to commit rebellion with
the Department of Justice against at least 15 respondents,
including several left-wing “party list” representatives in
Congress. The move comes after the arrest of leftist
Representative Crispin Beltran on February 25 (reftels) on
separate charges. Among those charged are:

— Peping Cojuangco, the brother of former president Corazon
Aquino;
— Pastor “Boy” Soycon, a businessman;
— Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, a former senator and retired
military officer (separate charges were filed against Honasan
on February 25);
— 1st Lt. Lawrence San Juan, one of the alleged mutineers in
the “Oakwood Mutiny” of 2003 (already in custody);
— Attorney Jose Christopher Belmonte, Lt. San Juan’s lawyer;
— Congressman Crispin Beltran, who is in custody;
— Congressman Satur Ocampo;
— Congressman Rafael Mariano;
— Congressman Theodore Casino;
— Congresswoman Liza Maza;
— Congressman Joel Virador (reportedly in custody);
— Joma Sison, the leader in exile of the Communist Party of
the Philippines/New People’s Army;
— Lt. Aldrin Baldonado;
— Patricio Bumidang, Jr.; and,
— Angelbert Gay;

There are continuing reports that additional charges will be
filed against other Opposition members.

———————
Arroyo’s TV Interview
———————

¶3. (U) A confident-looking President Arroyo appeared on a
television interview show on February 27. Three Cabinet
secretaries also appeared, including Secretary of National

SIPDIS
Defense Avelino Cruz, Secretary of Finance (DOF) Margarito
“Gary” Teves, and Secretary of Trade and Industry Peter
Favila. Arroyo acted as host during the program, prompting
each secretary to speak about various matters in their
portfolios. Arroyo said that the economy was on track due to
the reforms her government has sponsored, and she noted the
strong performance of the peso and the stock market over the
past year. She warned that there was “a steep price for
political mischief and that’s the reason why we have had to
declare a state of national emergency.” Secretary Cruz
stressed that the military — including the Marines — were
following the chain of command, but said the DND and the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remained “vigilant.”

———————————————
Manila Calm; No Problems in Military Reported

MANILA 00000889 002 OF 003

———————————————

¶4. (SBU) The atmosphere in the capital was calm on Monday,
February 27. Schools from elementary- to the
university-level were closed, but businesses remained open
and traffic was out and about. Schools are set to reopen on
February 28. Military checkpoints remained on the North and
South Expressways (the main highways into and out of Manila),
but traffic was not disrupted. The Philippine National
Police (PNP) EOD (explosives, ordinance, disposal) unit
reported that the AFP had found six sticks of dynamite under
a bridge located near Fort Bonifacio and had safely removed
them. The AFP reports no chain of command problems, unlike
the February 26 incident with the Marines at Fort Bonifacio
(see reftels).

¶5. (U) No large-scale demonstrations were reported during
the day. Members of the left-wing political party Anak Pawis
attempted to march to Camp Crame (the headquarters of the
PNP) in Manila but were dispersed by police. The protesters
were demanding the release of Anak Pawis party leader Crispin
Beltran, a congressman who was arrested on February 25
(reftels). Students from the University of the Philippines
planned to hold a rally on the evening of February 27 to
demand the revocation of Proclamation 1017 (the presidential
decree declaring a State of Emergency issued on February 24).

————————————
Ramos Criticizes Cory and Opposition
————————————

¶6. (C) In an early morning telephone conversation with CDA
on February 27, former President Fidel Ramos said he had
“made calls” on February 26 to remind opponents of President
Arroyo not to resort to violence, but to resolve things
peacefully. As he had noted in a February 25 interview (see
reftels), he said the government needed at least to clarify
the meaning and scope of Proclamation 1017. Ramos was
dismissive of former President Aquino, her “Yellow Army,” and
other Opposition politicians for converging on the Marine
base at Fort Bonifacio the night of February 26, saying they
had no business being there. Echoing another point he made
in the February 25 interview, Ramos asserted that declaring a
State of Emergency in the whole country (as opposed to only
in the Capital’s environs) was “overkill.” He indicated that
he was looking forward to discussing the situation with EAP
Assistant Secretary Hill at a meeting scheduled for February
¶28.

————————————-
DFA Not Pleased with Press Statements
————————————-

¶7. (SBU) Senior DFA officials privately indicated on
February 27 that the GRP leadership had been disappointed
with the U.S. Embassy statement on the proclamation of the
State of Emergency, noting that they had hoped for a clearer
appreciation of the circumstances that led the President to
this step. President Arroyo may raise these concerns with
A/S Hill in their February 28 meeting. The DFA officials
also indicated that they would have expected the U.S. to
understand that the State of Emergency proclamation would be
helpful in improving the security of Amcits here in the
Philippines. Charge replied that our statements simply
focused on maintaining the rule of law, protecting civil and
human rights, and observing constitutional principles we
share with the GRP.

———————————
Cases lodged before Supreme Court
———————————

¶8. (U) A well-known anti-Arroyo university professor (Randy
David, who was arrested on February 24, but released shortly
thereafter) and a left-leaning NGO have filed petitions with
the Supreme Court to nullify Proclamation 1017. Both
petitions have been assigned to justices and the Supreme
Court is scheduled to discuss them en banc on February 28.
(Note: Sitrep 5 describes the judicial review process in
more detail. End Note.) According to Mission sources at the
Supreme Court, more filings are expected in coming days.

—————————–
Peso Slightly Down; Stocks Up
—————————–

MANILA 00000889 003 OF 003

¶9. (U) Overall market reaction is calm, with recent
political events having marginal impact. The political noise
has not quashed the cautious optimism of 2006. The
Philippine Stock Price Index (Phisix) bounced back today,
closing at 2089.36 up 0.9% from Friday’s close of 2069.93 and
almost matching last Thursday’s closing level. The peso
opened with a jittery start at 52.30 pesos/dollar but
strengthened as the day progressed. Though Central Bank
officials hinted that they had actively intervened in
Friday’s market to deal with volatility, the Bank did not
intervene significantly Monday, with trading relatively thin.
The peso was trading at an intra-day high of 52.04
pesos/dollar, although this rate remains slightly weaker than
last Thursday’s 51.66 pesos/dollar closing rate. Still, the
peso remains stronger against the dollar than it did at the
beginning of the year. A number of private bankers expect
the peso to appreciate again this week if the political
situation stays quiet.

¶10. (U) No panic buying of household essentials has occurred
in retail markets, with stores and malls experiencing average
sales over the weekend, a situation that contrasts sharply
with previous periods of political upheaval, such as EDSA “1”
(in 1986) or “2” (in 2001), when shelves were quickly emptied
throughout metro Manila.

———–
AmCits; EAC
———–

¶11. (U) No problems for AmCits have been reported; the next
EAC is scheduled for February 28 morning.

¶12. (C) The crisis management center will remain in
operation overnight.

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/

Jones

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.