Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA863 2007-03-16 01:43 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0863 0750143
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160143Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5704
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS MANILA 000863
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL RP
SUBJECT: VISITING EAP/MTS OFFICE DIRECTOR URGES PHILIPPINES TO MAKE PROGRESS ON UNLAWFUL KILLINGS
REF: MANILA 777 AND PREVIOUS
¶1. (SBU) Summary. EAP/MTS Office Director Marciel highlighted need
for progress on solving and stopping unlawful killings in a series
of meetings with Philippine officials during the week of February
¶26. He also expressed the USG’s appreciation for success in
counterterrorism efforts and on defense reform. This was yet
another useful opportunity to convey our concerns on this critical
issue. End Summary.
¶2. (SBU) Marciel and Pol/C met on February 28 with the Philippine
National Police (PNP) PC Superintendent Geary Barias, newly
appointed head of Task Force Usig. He and his staff presented an
update on TF Usig’s investigations of “unexplained” killings.
According to PNP records, there have been 114 killings of party list
members and “militants” since 2001. Of these, fifty cases have been
filed, with nine arrested suspects, one surrendered suspect, and 27
“at large” suspects. At least 11 cases have alleged links to the
military, with six cases filed, while 29 cases have links to the
Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army. Sixty-four
cases remain under investigation. Of the 26 cases involving
killings of journalists, PNP has filed charges in 21 cases, while
five remain under investigation. Of two cases involving military
elements, charges have been filed in both, with one arrest. Of
three cases involving police personnel, charges have been filed in
each, with two arrests and four convictions. Of four cases
involving local government officials, charges have been filed in
each, with four surrendered suspects. Marciel urged prompt justice
in all cases, and warned that failure to bring the culprits to
justice could be detrimental to U.S.-Philippine relations despite
positive progress in other areas. Barias pledged that the PNP would
do all in its power, but cited resource constraints and a lack of
forensic equipment, modern databases, and police subpoena powers.
Barias said he would seek to expand the TF’s mandate and oversight
and to improve communication about what TF Usig is accomplishing.
¶3. (SBU) On March 1, Marciel met at Philippine Department of
National Defense (DND) headquarters with Assistant Secretaries
Roberto Nuqui and Joji Aragon, joined by the JUSMAG chief and
Deputy Pol/C. Marciel noted that the USG was pleased with progress
in defense reform (PDR) and in neutralizing Abu Sayyaf. Nuqui
expressed appreciation for USG assistance. Marciel urged the DND to
take all steps to ensure that the killings stop and culprits face
justice. Nuqui and Aragon acknowledged the seriousness of the
problem and pledged that DND would do everything in its power to
ensure that elements of the military were not involved, while
pledging that any who were would face justice.
¶4. (SBU) Marciel and Pol/C met on March 2 with Assistant Secretary
of Foreign Affairs for the Americas Rey Carandang and outgoing U.S.
Division Director Eduardo De Vega. After recognizing that the
“reservoir of goodwill” between the two countries has grown with
cooperative successes against terrorism, natural disasters, and
planning for Avian Influenza, Marciel noted that unresolved,
unlawful killings have the potential to become “a cloud in the
relationship.” Carandang assured Marciel that the Philippine
government took the issue very seriously and was committed to
resolving this problem quickly.
¶5. (SBU) Comment: Director Marciel’s visit was a useful opportunity
to continue to convey the importance of this issue to Philippine
counterparts, complementing messages delivered by other Washington
and Embassy official over the past several months.
¶6. (U) EAP/MTS Marciel cleared this cable.