|07MANILA1930||2007-06-08 10:00:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Manila|
1. (U) Summary. In a June 7 Rewards for Justice ceremony on Jolo
Island, Ambassador awarded four Filipino citizens their shares of a
total US$10 million reward for providing information that led to the
successful Philippine military operations against the top two
leaders of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group -- Khadaffy Janjalani and
Abu Solaiman. This is the largest rewards payment to date in the
Philippines. Both Janjalani and Abu Solaiman had been under U.S.
indictment for their role in the kidnappings of American citizens
Gracia and Martin Burnham, Guillermo Sobero, and Jeffrey Schilling,
and Martin Burnham's and Guillermo Sobero's subsequent deaths.
Rewards for Justice works in the Philippines. We are even more
hopeful now that this example will encourage others to step forward
with critical information that can bring other wanted terrorists to
justice. End Summary.
"WHO'S WHO" OF COUNTERTERRORISM PARTNERS PRESENT
2. (U) Ambassador presided over a triumphant ceremony in Jolo City
of Sulu province on June 7 to present four brave Filipinos their
shares of two US$5 million rewards for information leading to the
deaths of ASG leaders Khaddafy Janjalani and Abu Solaiman. Joining
Ambassador weres Acting Assistant Secretary for Political/Military
Affairs Stephen Mull and a virtual "who's who" of our Philippine
government counterterrorism partners: Armed Forces of the
Philippines Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon; National
Security Advisor Norberto Gonzales; Governor Benjamin Loong, the
outgoing Sulu governor; Undersecretary of National Defense Ricardo
Blancaflor; Assistant Director Alfredo Billones, the Acting Head of
the Philippine National Police; Deputy National Security Advisor
Pedro Cabuay; Major General Delfin Bangit, the chief of the
Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and,
Director General Cesar Garcia of the National Intelligence
Coordinating Agency. Additionally, General Esperon brought in the
entire leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on board a
C-130 to witness the event.
3. (U) Curious residents came out of their homes and children waved
from the sidewalk as the official motorcade traveled to the Jolo
City Hall of Justice. During the ceremony, the Hall of Justice
remained open for business and numerous locals were present as each
of the informants received a briefcase filled with millions of
4. (U) In her remarks, the Ambassador praised the
Philippine-American counterterrorism partnership, saying she was
"proud to give $10 million" and would be happy to give another $10
million to bring the terrorists who are still at large to justice.
5. (U) General Esperon crossed out photos of the eliminated
terrorists and pointed to those still at large as the next targets
to get crossed off the wanted list. General Esperon highly praised
the event and expressed optimism that it would lead to further
counterterrorism successes, pledging that the hunt for the remaining
terrorists will continue until "we have crushed them."
6. (U) Governor Loong expressed gratitude to the Ambassador for
"always finding time to come to Sulu," and stated that the people of
Sulu are "fed up" with crime and terror. Governor Loong also noted
the importance of "valuing farms rather than guns," referring to the
connection among agriculture, economic development, and the
prevention of crime and terrorism.
7. (U) Local, national, and international media gave extensive and
highly positive coverage of the event and the Rewards for Justice
program. Media exposure included live coverage on the
government-owned Radyo Ng Bayan, which broadcasts throughout the
Sulu Province, our key target audience now for the remaining High
Value Targets at large. Members of the U.S. Military Information
Support Team passed out flyers featuring images of wanted
terrorists, and distributed a large amount of information material
to local residents during and after the ceremony.
8. (SBU) Rewards for Justice works in the Philippines. It was a
powerful tool in the concerted effort by the AFP and others to end
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the terrorist careers of Janjalani and Abu Solaiman. We are even
more hopeful now that the example of the four individuals we
rewarded on June 7 will encourage others to step forward with
critical information that can bring the two Bali bombers Dulmatin
and Umar Patek, Jemaah Islamiyah financier Zulkifli bin Hir (AKA
Marwan), and others to justice.