Sep 212014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07MANILA625.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA625 2007-02-26 08:50 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7340
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0625/01 0570850
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260850Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5420
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000625

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR IIP/G/EA – EKENEALY; INFO EAP/PD – AGRIMES, DFIRESTEIN;
EAP/MTS – NDEAN, PINGENERI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO SCUL OIIP RP
SUBJECT: STRATEGIC SPEAKER INITIATIVE – EMBASSY MANILA
REQUEST FOR SPEAKER: HOW LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND CIVIL SOCIETY
ACTIVISTS HAVE A COMMON INTEREST IN ACCESS TO INFORMATION

¶1. In the framework of the Strategic Speaker Initiative, Embassy
Manila requests a speaker who will be able to argue effectively that
law enforcement agencies and civil society activists have a common
interest in modifying laws and administrative procedures that block
access to information and sometimes inadvertently shield those who
engage in corruption and other criminal activity such as the
financing of terrorism. We propose that this program take place
in the fourth quarter of FY 2007, preferably in September.

¶2. Justification and Objective: Good governance, economic
development, and the fight against terrorism are all undercut by
overly strict laws blocking access to information. The Philippines
currently has stringent banking secrecy laws as well as laws and
administrative barriers that make it very difficult for law
enforcement agencies to engage in wiretapping or other forms of
surveillance. Those laws and regulations are intended to protect
the law-abiding public, but in practice they shield those involved
in corruption and other illegal activity such as the financing of
terrorism. “Sunshine” laws such as the U.S. Freedom of Information
Act and well-regulated law enforcement powers to wiretap and conduct
surveillance are not at odds with civil liberties but rather act
complementarily to deter crime, corruption and terrorism – all of
which corrode civil society. However, many civil society activists
here regard the possibility of loosening privacy laws with deep
suspicion. It would be very helpful to have a speaker who could
demonstrate convincingly to them that in fact their interests and
the interests of law enforcement agencies overlap to a significant
degree and that legitimate law enforcement needs can be met without
trampling on the rights of the innocent.

¶3. The core ideas we want the speaker to communicate are:
— Freedom of Information laws are powerful tools useful to both
civil society advocates and law enforcement agencies, whose
interests converge in fighting corruption and other forms of
criminal activity.
— Responsibly administered access to information creates both a
freer and a safer society by exposing corruption and criminality and
enabling effective prosecution of the perpetrators.
— Access to information by law enforcement and “watchdog” groups
not only assists in prosecution of criminals and corrupt parties, it
deters corruption and criminality.
— Protection of civil liberties can be compatible with well
regulated access by law enforcement and regulatory bodies to the
information they need to do their jobs.

¶4. Purpose of the Program: This program directly supports three of
our top-priority MPP goals: Prevention and Response to Terrorism,
Economic Growth and Development, and Support for Democratic Systems
and Practices. It also directly addresses major aspects of the
following Strategic Speaker’s Initiative criteria: Meeting the
Challenge of Terrorism, Democracy and Rule of Law, Trade and
Investment.

¶5. Audience: The speaker’s program will include venues in Manila,
Cebu and possibly Davao. Audiences will include government and law
enforcement officials, financial professionals, civil society
activists, and students studying government, finance and law. We
will arrange print and electronic media interviews in order to
maximize the “reach” of the program.

¶6. Proposed Topic: “Reasonable and Well-Regulated Access to
Information Is Good for Law Enforcement and for Society.” We
propose that the speaker focus on showing how carefully crafted
Freedom of Information laws and well-regulated law enforcement
powers to wiretap and conduct surveillance are can be compatible
with civil liberties and deter crime, corruption and terrorism – all
of which corrode society. Currently, Philippine law is overly
rigorous in protecting bank secrecy, and laws and administrative
procedures make it very difficult for law enforcement agencies to
use wiretaps and other forms of surveillance to obtain evidence.
Philippine law protects civil liberties to such an extent that many
criminals are never brought to trial because law enforcement
agencies cannot collect evidence that can be used to make arrests
and get convictions. As a result, it is difficult to uncover crime
and/or obtain convictions against those who engage in corruption and
other criminal activities such as violation of intellectual property
rights and even the financing of terrorism.

¶7. Type of Specialist: We suggest Judge Richard Posner, author of
“Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National
Emergency.” His contact information follows: Richard A. Posner,
Senior Lecturer in Law, 1111 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637;
phone: 773-702-9608; email: hkafra@uchicago.edu. If Judge Posner is
not available, his son, Eric Posner, who also writes on this
subject, would be an excellent substitute. His contact information
follows: Eric A. Posner, Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law
School, 1111 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 USA; Phone:
773-702-0425; Fax: 773-702-0730; E-mail:

MANILA 00000625 002 OF 002

eric_posner@law.uchicago.edu. Post would appreciate IIP’s
assistance in identifying other alternatives should both suggested
specialists not be available.

¶8. Language Requirement: English is widely spoken in the
Philippines.

¶9. Materials Required: Mission requests the speakers’ CVs as well as
an abstract of the presentation. We would also appreciate an
advance copy of visual aids (e.g., PowerPoint
presentation), and any other materials, such as a bibliography and
reprints of any articles written by the speakers.

¶10. Control officer will be ACAO Stephen Ashby; office phone (63-2)
525-0426; home phone (63-2) 833-9176, fax (63-2) 525-0427; email:
AshbySM@state.gov. Assisting Mr. Ashby
will be Cultural Affairs Specialist Jomar Ascano; office phone
(63-2) 523-1001 ext 2524; fax (63-2) 522-1608;
email:AscanoJA@state.gov.

¶11. Funding specifics: We request that this program be funded
through the Strategic Speakers Initiative. Post welcomes other
missions in the region co-programming the
speaker.

KENNEY

   

 

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