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WikiLeaks: Arroyo officials thanked US for 'calming the waters'

- Pia Lee-Brago () - September 7, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, through high-level officials of her administration, thanked the United States government for its role in “calming the waters” amid scandalous accusations of electoral fraud, corruption and protests calling for her ouster in June 2005, according to a US diplomatic cable published by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

Former charge d’affaires Joseph Mussomeli of the US embassy in Manila sent cable 05Manila 2731 dated June 14, 2005, “Philippine Politics: One Weekend At A Time …” tagged as confidential to Washington, reporting that Arroyo survived the Independence Day weekend despite protests and calls for her ouster by members of the opposition.

Then Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo voiced this view at a diplomatic reception held on June 11 at Malacañang in honor of Independence Day, as did then Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, who subsequently called Mussomeli.

Ermita said Arroyo had asked him to call in order to express her “heartfelt appreciation.”

The charge d’affaires noted that USG (US Government) support was for the rule of law and its institutions as well as the process of democracy in the Philippines.

Mussomeli reiterated earlier public statements that neither side in this controversy should take extraordinary or extra-constitutional measures.

“President Arroyo – amid scandalous accusations – survived a long Independence Day weekend filled with public protests, intrigue, and calls for her ouster by members of the opposition,” the cable said.

The opposition had accused Arroyo of complicity in electoral fraud based on released tapes and members of her family of profiting from illegal gambling.

The cable said elements of the opposition held an anti-government rally on June 11, which drew an estimated 3,000-5,000 people, in downtown Manila.

US embassy officials said the rally, which was sponsored by mainstream and leftist opponents, went off without a hitch or reported incidents or arrests.

“According to emboffs (embassy officials) on the fringes of the rally, the crowd was good-natured and seemingly without a common platform – apart from a shared dislike for Arroyo,” the cable said.

Arroyo called for an end to “dirty politics” and “political intrigues” in separate public speeches marking Independence Day.

In the June 11 address to diplomats, Arroyo called attacks on her “irresponsible madness” and accused her opponents of treating the country as “nothing more than a private sandbox for political intrigues.”

As the public pressure ramped up, according to the cable, Arroyo’s son, then Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo announced on June 13 that he would take an “indefinite leave of absence” from Congress, clarifying that he would not participate in congressional business until he was cleared of jueteng profiteering.

“However, the 36-year-old Arroyo insisted that resignation was ‘out of the question,’ claiming he was innocent,” the report said. – Rudy Santos

ARROYO EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA FORMER PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO IN THE JUNE INDEPENDENCE DAY JOSEPH MUSSOMELI JUAN MIGUEL MUSSOMELI ONE WEEKEND AT A TIME
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