Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/02/06MANILA918.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA918 2006-02-28 23:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO2315
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0918/01 0592341
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 282341Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9591
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000918

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINS ASEC PREL KPAO RP
SUBJECT: SITREP 19: HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY VOTES TO PROVIDE PROTECTIVE CUSTODY TO MEMBERS CHARGED WITH REBELLION

REF: MANILA 917 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (U) Sensitive But Unclassified – Not For Internet Distribution

¶2. (U) Summary: Manila enjoyed another night of calm. In late
breaking news, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a
resolution granting protective custody to the five congressmen
charged with rebellion, claiming the charges were an attack by the
Executive on the Legislature. In separate statements on February
28, GRP officials, including the Transportation Secretary, the
National Telecommunication Commission Chairman and the Philippine
National Police Chief, reasserted President Arroyo’s prerogative
to close media outlets reporting information that may “incite
rebellion.” President Arroyo announced a pay raise for all
government employees; local media questioned the timing. The
Philippines’s main lawyers’ group plans to hold a rally on March 3
to denounce Proclamation 1017 in defiance of the ban on public
protests. End Summary.

———————
Inching Toward Normal
———————

¶3. (U) For another night, Manila was calm. News channels,
although focusing on events related to Proclamation 1017, returned
to reporting on more routine stories as well. Traffic and
nightlife also seemed to pick up after several days of below-
normal activity.

————————
House Protecting Its Own
————————

¶4. (SBU) Declaring that it was defending itself from
“encroachments of the presidency,” the House of Representatives,
after several hours of deliberation, unanimously passed Resolution
1169 late on February 28 to “protect from warrantless arrest
without due process” the five party-list members of Congress
charged with rebellion. (Note: The Speaker told A/S Hill Feb 28
that custody applied to all six members implicated — see reftel.
End Note.) The resolution extended the lower chamber’s protective
custody to the five lawmakers and declared that the GRP cannot
detain them within the next 15 days while it conducts preliminary
investigations into the charges. The unusually united vote came
moments after the five solons signed a document waiving their
right to press charges of arbitrary detention if they are
eventually taken into GRP custody. This waiver was part of a
compromise paving the way for a preliminary investigation into the
rebellion charges to start as early as March 1. Local news
outlets reported that overnight the five lawmakers moved from the
chambers of the House speaker to those of the minority leader,
under protest.

——————————————-
Administration Asserting Control Over Media
——————————————-

¶5. (U) Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza
claimed on February 28 the government and broadcast media
organizations will come up with a memorandum of understanding
within the week on the guidelines of coverage during a state of
national emergency. Mendoza said an ongoing dialogue among
representatives of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas
(Organization of Philippine Broadcasters or KBP), the National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and broadcast media
organizations will firm up what media can and cannot report on
during a state of emergency. The GRP’s actions are not to curtail
press freedom, but to regulate it, Mendoza said.

¶6. (U) NTC Chairman Rolando Solis and Philippine National Police
(PNP) Chief Arturo Lomibao separately reasserted President
Arroyo’s right temporarily to shut down radio and television
stations reporting information that may “incite rebellion,” even
without the recommendation of the NTC. Members of the local and
foreign press aggressively questioned Lomibao following his
remarks to the Manila Overseas Press Club on February 28 (see
Manila 917). Reporters asked him to state the criteria the PNP
are using to determine whether media outlets are reporting outside
the standards established by the emergency proclamation. He
declined to give specifics about how the PNP is determining what
information contributes to instability and urged the media to

MANILA 00000918 002 OF 002

exercise “self censorship.” He also would not clarify
Malacanang’s role in tagging which outlets the PNP should monitor
and/or close. PNP liaison officers will “do the rounds” to media
offices, Lomibao said, but will not interfere with their
operations. He went to great pains to explain that even the Daily
Tribune remains in operation, printing its daily editions ever
since the police raid.

—————————–
Pay Raise For Troops And Cops
—————————–

¶7. (U) President Arroyo announced Administrative Order 144
increasing the monthly salary of all government employees by 1000
pesos (approximately $19.35) per month, retroactive to January 1.
The announcement came in a televised roundtable discussion with
her economic cabinet members on February 28. She emphasized the
pay increase — the first increase since 2001 outside of annual
cost-of-living adjustments — applies to the military and police
forces as well. This step was necessary to overcome the delay
caused by Senate inaction in passing the GRP’s 2006 budget, she
said. Local media noted her move came only “days after she
claimed her government had thwarted a leftist-rightest plot to
topple her government,” although the pay hike had been part of the
budget proposal submitted to Congress last year.

—————-
Lawyers To March
—————-

¶8. (U) Philippine lawyers announced on February 28 they plan to
defy the ban on public rallies since the issuance of Proclamation
¶1017. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the country’s main
lawyers’ group, called on judges, lawyers, students and other
activists to join in protest on Friday, March 3, exactly one week
after Arroyo’s declaration of a state of emergency. The
organization characterized Proclamation 1017 as a “declaration of
martial law” that destroyed the nation’s freedom of assembly and
press.

JONES

   

 

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