Cablegate: Ongoing Grp Efforts On Extrajudicial Killings

DE RUEHML #3404/01 2270357
O 150357Z AUG 06




E.O. 12958: N/A

B. MANILA 3247
C. MANILA 3202
D. MANILA 2636

1. Summary. In response to a deadline from President Arroyo
to solve at least ten cases of extrajudicial killings (EJKs)
before October 15, Task Force Usig of the Philippine National
Police (PNP) held its first monthly "multisectoral meeting"
with NGO, media, church, and community leaders on August 10,
and separately briefed Pol/C. The PNP claimed to have
"solved" two cases, but there have been at least 11 new
killings since the formation of TF Usig in May. There is
broad agreement on the need for new efforts to improve
rewards and witness protection procedures, as well as to
expedite court proceedings, but adequate funding will be a
problem. On August 13, the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) tied the New People's Army (NPA) to the increased EJKs
by revealing the contents of the so called "Bushfire"
documents, which allegedly contain a directive from the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to the NPA to purge
its ranks of informants and other "disloyals." End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ----
Task Force Usig Reaches out to Community Leaders
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. As she had indicated to A/S Hill during their July 31
meeting (ref C), President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo publicly
set a deadline for the PNP to "solve" at least ten cases of
extrajudicial killings (EJKs), accompanied by the filing of
at least ten cases. Contrary to her initial plans for a one
month deadline, however, she lengthened this to 10 weeks,
which will expire on October 15.

3. In order to promote greater cooperation and improve
effectiveness, the PNP convened the first in what it hopes
will be monthly "multisectoral meetings" with representatives
from leftist groups, other NGOs, the media, the clergy, the
Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Justice (DOJ),
business groups, and EJK-affected communities on August 10.
TF Usig Commander (and Deputy PNP Chief for Administration)
General Avelino "Sonny" Razon, Jr. separately briefed Pol/C
and poloff at our request on August 10 about this meeting and
provided an update on TF Usig's activities since his last
briefing (ref d). General Razon admitted that the meeting
with civil society groups was lively, with many suggestions,
inputs, and criticisms. He said there was broad consensus
that the GRP needed to examine ways to improve PNP's meager
rewards system and DOJ's witness protection program, both of
which are poorly funded and little utilized. Responding to
complaints about delays in the judicial process, a DOJ
representative assured the group that DOJ would work to
expedite court cases involving EJKs. General Razon explained
that part of TF Usig's goal is to instill a greater sense of
"civic responsibility" in order to encourage witnesses to
come forward and testify. He also promised that the work and
findings of TF Usig would be transparent and promised "to
show that our (PNP) records are open."

4. Since the creation of TF Usig, the PNP has "solved" two
cases involving journalists, and charged the identified
suspects, according to General Razon. Razon admitted,
however, that these slayings appeared to be robbery-related
rather than actual media-related EJKs. He predicted that TF
Usig would solve another two cases within a week. He added
that he would be setting targets for regional PNP units on
numbers of cases to solve within the deadline as well. He
noted a preponderance of cases in Central Luzon, the Visayas,
and parts of Mindanao, which he attributed to a higher
concentration of New People's Army units in those areas. He
explained that TF Usig's crime and information management
system was drawing up better maps indicating the place and
time of the occurrence of EJKs so that the PNP could have a
better handle on how to allocate its resources and set
priorities to solve.

5. Additional actions that TF Usig has undertaken include:
-- Planning a new re-registration program for all firearms
by the end of 2006, under the direction of Secretary of
Interior and Local Government Puno. PNP plans to use the
fees from the re-registration to fund improvements in its
database of EJKs cases, which is now already available to
regional police headquarters and should eventually be
accessible by provincial and local police as well;
-- Improvements in the database of Warrants of Arrests from
all courts;
-- Greater coordination with the National Bureau of
Investigation and consideration of inter-connectivity of its
database of cases and suspects.

MANILA 00003404 002 OF 002

6. General Razon, admitted, however that at least 11 new
cases of EJKs have taken place since the formation of TF
Usig, while claiming that legal cases had been filed in five
of these already. TF Usig has also continued its
investigation into earlier cases (as described in ref d) and
has been able to rule out some of these as EJKs, particularly
those in which innocent civilians were killed in the course
of "legitimate" AFP or PNP operations. The revised TF Usig
statistics for the 2001-2006 period now show:
Party List Members:
-- 107 cases, with 28 so far in 2006;
-- 35 cases have identified perpetrators or suspects; 20 are
NPA-related, 15 are AFP or PNP-related;
-- 27 cases have been filed in court, with arrests in three
cases and surrenders in two cases, while suspects are still
at large in 22 others;
-- 80 cases are still under investigation.

Members of the Media:
-- 26 cases, with two so far in 2006;
-- Nine cases have identified perpetrators who are AFP or
-- 21 cases have been filed, with arrests in 10 of these
cases, and 11 cases under preliminary investigation;
-- In a May 22 slaying of a radio commentator and former vice
mayor, one suspect is a police officer whom the PNP dismissed
one day after charges were filed against him -- he is now in
custody awaiting trial;
-- Five cases are still under investigation.

7. General Razon insisted that the PNP would not trump up
charges or bypass proper procedures in order to meet
President Arroyo's deadline. He gave assurances that PNP
remained committed to justice and to ensuring that TF Usig's
handling of these cases would "build confidence" in the

The "Bushfire" Documents

8. General Razon confirmed media reports of the existence of
the "Bushfire" documents, which the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) recovered on May 23 after an encounter with
NPA forces in Tagcawayan, Quezon province. The documents
contain apparent orders from the Communist Party of the
Philippines to the NPA to purge its ranks of would-be
informants. He speculated that this would account for some
of the party list slayings.

© Scoop Media

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