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2005-07-07 07:09:00
Embassy Manila
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						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003115 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2015


B. MANILA 3061

C. MANILA 2993

Classified By: Political Officer Andrew McClearn for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary. The defection from GMA ranks of Congressman
Golez is a blow to Arroyo. He believes she has lost the
"moral high ground" and civil society support. There are no
signs yet of other significant political defections or
military unrest, but the situation remains highly fluid. End

2. (S) Charge met with Representative Roilo Goilez on July 7
at the latter's request. Golez, who was Arroyo's National
Security Adviser from 2001-04, resigned from Arroyo's
coalition party KAMPI and from his position as chair of the
House's Committee of National Defense on June 29. At that
time, he called on Arroyo to resign.

3. (S) Golez reported that Arroyo's hold on the Senate is
now very shaky. He mentioned that Arroyo's control of the
body shows signs of shifting, especially with senators such
as Ramon Magsaysay Jr., who he characterized as one of
several who could be convinced to oppose the President's
continuation in power. Once the opposition has a majority,
he said, they could make a "sense of the Senate" declaration
calling on her to resign. (Note: The Senate would also be
the tribunal to convict or acquit her on any impeachment
motion that might be approved by the lower House after it
resumes on July 25, though Golez believes no impeachment by
the House is likely. End Note.)

4. (S) Referring to Arroyo's majority in the House, Golez
said the President's reliance on this bloc would further
compromise her authority to govern effectively even if she
survives. He noted she would be stuck in a vicious downward
spiral, beholden to so many special interests and members of
the Congress that she would have to give even more favors and
do even more questionable things in order to retain her

5. (S) Golez stressed to Charge that the current crisis over
the legitimacy of the presidency was worse than all other
related crises faced by Arroyo since she came to power in

2001. He noted that this crisis is distinct from the other
three critical moments Arroyo has faced -- EDSA 3 in May
2001, the Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003, and the July 2004
Angelo de la Cruz Iraq hostage affair -- because for the
first time she, in her own eyes and in the eyes of the
people, no longer has the moral high ground. Using the
analogy of racing horses, he said Arroyo is like a
thoroughbred -- but one who is now permanently crippled.
Vice President Noli de Castro is just a run-of-the-mill horse
used to haul wagons. But now, Golez asserted, that
run-of-the-mill horse could win the race. In any case, he
said the Philippines would do better with De Castro than with
Arroyo at this point. Charge underscored that the U.S.

supported accountability, but also emphasized the importance
of following the Constitution and due process. Golez said
that he would only support constitutional measures, which
include resignation.

6. (S) Charge noted President Arroyo's tenacity and
determination to remain in power, which Golez downplayed for
the following three reasons:

-- First, as noted above, he asserted she has lost the moral
high ground and therefore lacks the firm conviction she once
had of her "mission" to govern the country;

-- Second, her presumption of the role of "civil society"
president leaves her much more vulnerable than her
predecessor (former president Joseph Estrada) to criticism
from powerful and influential sectors such as the Catholic
bishops and prominent national universities such as the
University of the Philippines, Ateneo, and De La Salle.
Estrada, he said, didn't care about what civil society said
because he had the masses -- Arroyo does not;

-- Third, she has in the past been worried about violence.
During the aborted May 1, 2001, march on the Palace she heard
false reports that a few Filipinos had been shot and she
began to panic and almost lost control because of her fear of
having caused the deaths.

7. (S) Golez said his pessimistic views on Arroyo's future
seem to be shared by many others in high places. Noting that
he met with Cardinal Vidal last week, he claimed that Vidal
took his hand and commended him for his public stance against
Arroyo. Golez also speculated that Arroyo is becoming
depressed. Shortly after Golez had publicly called for
Arroyo's resignation and resigned from KAMPI on June 29, he
claimed the President had called him and said plaintively:
"Roi, you have left me already." She was not angry, he
noted, but clearly she felt lost, sad and betrayed. Golez
finished by noting that his stance is not necessarily a moral
one. Rather it is a clear-eyed decision to stay on the side
of History. Just as he did in 1986 and 2001, he senses that
the days of the person in power are numbered.

8. (S) Comment: Golez's decision to bolt Arroyo's coalition
clearly came as a blow to Malacanang. Golez, a U.S. Naval
Academy grad, is highly regarded for his policy smarts,
although many of his House colleagues resent him believing he
is all elbows. So far, none of Golez's colleagues in the
pro-Arroyo majority have joined him by calling for her
ouster. We are picking up real signs of discontent towards
Arroyo in the House and Senate, however, and her grip will
loosen further if the controversy continues to swirl. Per
ref A, even House Speaker De Venecia, previously a close
ally, told Charge of his deep concerns about Arroyo during a
July 6 meeting. Golez made a brief reference to some unrest
in the military. Mission will be reporting more on this area
shortly. At this point, we have no indications of unrest in
the senior ranks and no reports of any significant pockets of
opposition to Arroyo.