Oct 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/08/05MANILA3632.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA3632 2005-08-05 06:47 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003632

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/PMBS, INR/EAP, S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/05/2015
TAGS: PGOV PINS PTER PINR RP NO NL
SUBJECT: TENSIONS SPIKE BETWEEN GRP AND EXTREME LEFT

REF: A. MANILA 3373

¶B. MANILA 3371 (NOTAL)
¶C. STATE 136723 (NOTAL)
¶D. MANILA 3350 (NOTAL)

Classified By: Political Officer Joseph Saus for
Reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: The GRP announced on August 2 that it was
suspending the immunity from arrest for National Democratic
Front (NDF) officials, who had been participating in the
negotiation track. The NDF sharply criticized the
government’s move. A congressman with close links to
Malacanang told us that members of President Arroyo’s staff
are “infuriated” with recent calls for her to resign by the
Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (the NDF
is the negotiating arm for the CPP/NPA) and are aiming “to
isolate” the extreme left. At this point, while tensions are
rising, there is little sign that either side is planning to
expand its military efforts. End Summary.

GRP Suspends Immunities
———————–

¶2. (C) The GRP suspended indefinitely on August 2 security
and immunity from arrest guarantees for 97 members of the
National Democratic Front (NDF) — the negotiating arm of the
FTO-listed CPP/NPA. The NDF personnel had been involved in
the negotiation track. The suspension was in response to the
NDF’s withdrawal from formal talks with the GRP. (Note. As
reported in ref D, NDF leaders emphasized their intent to
cease talks and negotiate with a successor government to that
of President Arroyo in a statement issued last month. End
Note.) The GRP’s suspension of the Joint Agreement on
Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) comes into effect 30
days from its announcement. The Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) has announced that it will focus on
arresting NDF members with pending criminal charges,
proceedings, or outstanding warrants beginning September 3.

¶3. (C) Carla Villarta, Secretariat Director of the GRP Peace
Negotiating Panel with the NDF, told poloff August 5 that the
GRP remains committed to peace talks with the NDF and she
underscored that the JASIG was “not canceled, but suspended.”
Villarta noted her understanding that the Norwegian
government (as third party facilitator) is still working to
“bridge differences” and sponsor another round of
back-channel talks. (Note. Talks between the GRP and the
NDF have been stalled since both sides issued a joint
statement in Oslo on February 14, 2004. The two sides also
held back-channel talks in June and December 2004. End
Note.)

NDF Reaction
————

¶4. (C) The NDF maintains that the GRP cannot justify the
suspension, contending that the Hague Joint Declaration, the
Oslo Joint Statement of 2004, and the 1998 Comprehensive
Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
continue to be “binding and in effect.” Luis Jalandoni,
Chairperson of the NDF Negotiating Panel, said in a July 21
public statement, “(GRP) Executive Secretary Ermita is dead
wrong in presuming that the postponement of formal talks (by
the NDF) amounts to the termination of the peace
negotiations.” The NDF says it has not issued a notice of
termination of the peace negotiations, merely a “postponement
of peace talks with the Arroyo regime.” Jalandoni went on to
assert that the GRP had never fully applied the immunity from
arrest guarantees and had arrested some NDF members despite
the agreement.

Comments By Congressman
———————–

¶5. (C) In an August 4 meeting with Acting Pol/C, Congressman
Ronaldo “Ronnie” Puno, who maintains close links with
President Arroyo, related that members of her staff were
“infuriated” with the recent calls for her to resign by the
CPP/NPA. Puno said “hardliners” in the government were now
in the ascendant after the departure of Teresita “Ging”
Deles, who recently resigned as the Presidential Adviser on
the Peace Process. Puno said Deles had been considered by
some to be “unfocused” in her efforts to deal with the
CPP/NPA and that National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales
was pressing for a much tougher stance, as were some elements
in the military hierarchy. Their overall idea was “to
isolate” the extreme left. Acting Pol/C noted that any
effort to launch a crackdown on the “legal” left and its
representatives in the House would be a mistake. Such a move
would be widely seen as a ploy and would likely alienate wide
sectors of Philippine civil society, churches, moderates, and
others. Puno said he agreed with those points and commented
that he saw no indication that the GRP was planning to take
any steps against legal left parties like Bayan Muna and
Gabriela.

Comment
——-

¶6. (C) As flagged by Puno, we have heard from other
pro-Arroyo contacts that Malacanang is very disturbed with
the left and its engagement in anti-Arroyo activities, as
well as the CPP/NPA’s withdrawal from the talks. The GRP’s
latest action regarding the suspension of immunities
crystallizes this viewpoint and formally hardens the
government’s stance. There is no further indication of
planning for a crackdown against the legal left, which would
further aggravate tensions (ref B). There is also little
sign that either side is planning to expand its military
efforts. Nonetheless, friction between the two sides appears
likely to continue.

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