Oct 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/05/06MANILA1913.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA1913 2006-05-04 07:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO3621
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1913/01 1240703
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040703Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0828
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001913

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, INR/EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PINS PINR RP
SUBJECT: SUPREME COURT ISSUES MIXED RULING ON STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY

REF: A. MANILA 1812

¶B. MANILA 1792
¶C. MANILA 1746
¶D. MANILA 914
¶E. MANILA 830

¶1. (SBU) Summary: The Supreme Court, in a May 3 ruling,
upheld the validity of President Arroyo’s imposition of a
State of National Emergency on February 24. However, the
Court also ruled that the curbing of rallies and a police
raid on a newspaper were illegal. Both Malacanang and the
Opposition hailed the Court’s ruling, focusing on different
aspects. Overall, the ruling probably gave the Opposition
more to crow about, given the recent string of Supreme Court
decisions that appear to place constraints on executive
authority. End Summary.

———————————
Mixed Ruling on Proclamation 1017
———————————

¶2. (U) On May 3, the Supreme Court ruled 11-3 that President
Arroyo’s February 24 declaration of a State of National
Emergency (Proclamation 1017) was constitutional. The
78-page decision declared that it was within the powers of
the President, as commander-in-chief, to call upon the armed
forces to “suppress lawless violence.” The Court also upheld
the constitutionality of General Order No. 5 directing the
Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) to take “necessary and appropriate actions”
to prevent “lawless violence.”

¶3. (U) While upholding the validity of the declaration of a
State of National Emergency, the justices ruled that some
actions by the police and military in implementing
Proclamation 1017 violated citizens’ rights under the
Constitution. Specifically, the Supreme Court declared
illegal: the warrantless arrest of anti-President Arroyo
professor Randy David and other protesters during a rally;
dispersal of several anti-Arroyo rallies; and a raid on the
“Daily Tribune,” during which police seized articles for
publication. The Court found that there was no proof that
the suspects were committing acts that would constitute
“lawless violence, invasion or rebellion,” and therefore the
police and military had no legal authority to exercise
extraordinary powers under Proclamation 1017 to curtail the
rights of due process, peaceable assembly, and free speech.
The Court also ruled that the raid on the newspaper
constituted an attack on press freedoms.

¶4. (U) Eleven Supreme Court justices concurred with the
majority decision, penned by Associate Justice Angelina
Sandoval-Gutierrez. Three justices argued in a dissenting
opinion that Proclamation 1017 was constitutional in every
aspect, as was its implementation. (The fifteenth Supreme
Court Justice, Reynato Puno, was on leave due to the recent
death of his wife.) Although the three dissenting justices
were appointed by President Arroyo, the seven other Arroyo
appointees, including Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, sided
with the majority in limiting Malacanang’s emergency powers.

—————————–
GRP, Opposition Hail Decision
—————————–

¶5. (SBU) Both Malacanang and members of the Opposition
sought to portray the ruling as a vindication of their
positions. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye told the media on
May 3, “We are glad that…the Supreme Court decision
affirmed the government’s inherent right to protect itself
and the President’s power under the Constitution to call out
the armed forces to suppress lawless violence.” Critics of
Malacanang, on the other hand, emphasized the Court’s
rejection of measures taken by the police and military to
implement Proclamation 1017. Senate Majority Leader Francis
Pangilinan praised the Court, stating in a May 3 press
conference that the decision effectively affirmed a February
Senate resolution condemning acts that flowed from the
declaration of Proclamation 1017 (ref D). House Minority
Leader Francis “Chiz” Escudero added that the ruling
vindicated opposition to President Arroyo’s “dictatorial
tendencies.” Another opposition Congressman called the
ruling “a real embarrassment to Malacanang because it showed
that it had far overreached with Proclamation 1017.”

MANILA 00001913 002 OF 002

—————-
Impact of Ruling
—————-

¶6. (SBU) Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan said
publicly that it was not enough for the Supreme Court to
declare certain actions undertaken under Proclamation 1017
illegal, but that someone must be made to answer for the
illegal arrest of Professor Randy David on February 24, at a
minimum. However, in its May 3 decision, the Supreme Court
declined to impose sanctions on individual police officers,
noting that they had not been individually identified and
given their day in court. A Supreme Court official predicted
privately that the May 3 ruling would not have any bearing on
pending cases against a group of leftist lawmakers known as
the “Batasan 5” (ref B) and others charged by the GRP with
“sedition.” He commented that these cases had been brought
under pre-existing statutes already on the books and not
under the authority of Proclamation 1017.

——-
Comment
——-

¶7. (SBU) Although both sides hailed the ruling, it probably
gave the Opposition more to crow about, given the recent
string of Supreme Court decisions that appear to place
constraints on executive authority (refs A and C). Given its
perennially fragmented state, the Opposition needs any
momentum it can get; the critical tone of the May 3 decision
gives the Opposition new ammunition. The ruling also
reinforced the perception that the Supreme Court is becoming
more independent, a plus for Philippine democracy. The news
was also positive for the media, which had vigorously
complained about the pressures the GRP applied during the
State of National Emergency.

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Kenney

   

 

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