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Wikileaks:Ramos got P5M campaign contribution from Gaddafy

GaddafyBy Ellen Tordesillas, VERA Files 

Former Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafy contributed P5 million to the campaign of former President Ramos in 1992, according to US Embassy report exposed by Wikileaks.  

The Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (Batas Pambansa 881) prohibits accepting contribution from foreigners. 

The US Embassy report, written by then Deputy Chief of Mission Raymond Burghardt, quoted extensively a conversation with Joel de los Santos, who served as consultant to the Ramos administration. 

Fidel Ramos2"It was a well-kept secret, according to De Los Santos, that Ramos had received five million pesos (about dols 200,000) From the libyans to finance his presidential campaign in 1992," the US Embassy cable said. 

The report said it was former House Speaker Jose de Venecia who brought Ramos to Gaddafy. 

Quoting De Los Santos, Burghardt said De Venecia "had been engaged in shady dealings in both Libya and Iraq involving construction contracts for his firm, and had tried to "repay" his Libyan benefactors by acting as their front man and errand boy." 

Burghardt further said, "The Libyans thought they could use De Venecia's aid in enlisting President Fidel Ramos, with his excellent American contacts, as a wedge in helping end Libya's diplomatic isolation in the West." 

There was a lot of speculation when Ramos and De Venecia left for a secret trip abroad in middle of the 1992 campaign. It was only much later, when Ramos disclosed his meeting with Gaddafy in a Time Magazine article reported by the late Nelly Sindayen. 

Section 95 of the Omnibus Election Code enumerates prohibited sources of political contributions and one of them is " Foreigners and foreign corporations." 

"It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit or receive any contribution from any of the persons or entities enumerated herein," the Code said. 

Sec. 81 of the Code also states,"It shall be unlawful for any foreigner, whether judicial or natural person, to aid any candidate or political party, directly or indirectly, or take part in or influence in any manner any election, or to contribute or make any expenditure in connection with any election campaign or partisan political activity." 

Following is the cable: 

Viewing cable 94MANILA13414, DISCUSSION ON THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN THE

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin

94MANILA13414 1994-07-19 07:42 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila 

R 190742Z JUL 94

FM AMEMBASSY MANILA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9103

INFO ISLAMIC CONFERENCE COLLECTIVE

USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

AMCONSUL CEBU 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 013414 

E.O. 12356: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PINR KISL RP

SUBJECT: DISCUSSION ON THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN THE

- PHILIPPINES 

REF: MANILA 2840 

¶1. CONFIDENTIAL — ENTIRE TEXT 

¶2. SUMMARY: DURING JULY 12 LUNCHEON MEETING WITH POLOFF,

RETIRED DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR JOEL DE LOS

SANTOS DESCRIBED THE FUTURE PROSPECTS OF PEACE WITH THE

MUSLIM COMMUNITY AS LESS THAN ENCOURAGING. HE FELT THAT A

MAIN PROBLEM WAS THE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF MUSLIM

CULTURE AND DEVELOPMENTS IN THE INDIGENOUS MUSLIM

SOCIETIES ON THE PART OF MAIN-LINE POLITICAL LEADERS, BOTH

MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN. DE LOS SANTOS WAS AWARE OF HOUSE

SPEAKER DE VENECIA'A EFFORTS ON BEHALF OF COL. QADHAFI AND

CLAIMED THAT LIBYA HAD DIRECTED FUNDS TO PRESIDENT RAMOS'

1992 CAMPAIGN. HE SAID HE HAD COMPLETED A STUDY OF THE

PEACE PROCESS COMMISSIONED BY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR

JOSE ALMONTE, AND CONCLUDED THAT NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE

MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (MNLF) WOULD PROBABLY NOT

PRODUCE A LASTING PEACE WITH THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY. END

SUMMARY 

¶3. POLOFF INVITED DE LOS SANTOS TO LUNCH TO CONTINUE AN

ACQUAINTANCE BEGUN THE PREVIOUS WEEK AT THE FIRST

CONFERENCE ON THE MUSLIM FUTURE (SEE REFTEL). DE LOS

SANTOS IS A FORMER PROFESSOR AT DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY

SPECIALIZING IN ISLAMIC AFFAIRS WHO NOW WORKS AS A

CONSULTANT. HE CLAIMED TO BE CLOSE TO ALL FACETS OF THE

MUSLIM COMMUNITY, INCLUDING "BOTH ABOVE GROUND AND

UNDERGROUND" SECTORS. 

¶4. DISCUSSING THE CONTINUING PROBLEM WITH AN EXTREMIST

INSURGENCY IN THE SOUTH, DE LOS SANTOS SAID THAT THE

GOVERNMENT HAD LITTLE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT WAS REALLY

HAPPENING IN THE MUSLIM REGIONS. THE INSURGENTS HAVE BEEN

LABELED "ABU SAYYAF" BY THE MEDIA, BUT THAT ORGANIZATION

IS JUST THE SURFACE MANIFESTATION OF A MORE PROLONGED

PROCESS OF THE INSEEPAGE OF ISLAMIC THINKING BOTH AMONG

THE MUSLIM POPULATION AND ITS POLITICAL LEADERS. THE

TENDENCY TO BRAND ALL ENEMIES WITH THE SAME BRUSH FAILED

TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE MANY DIFFERENCES WITHIN ISLAM; FOR

EXAMPLE, HE SAID THAT THE LIBYAN BRAND OF "LITTLE GREEN

BOOK ISLAM" IS REGARDED WITH CONTEMPT BY PHILIPPINE

FUNDAMENTALISTS AS WELL AS MANY OF THEIR MUSLIM BRETHREN

IN OTHER COUNTRIES. HE REFERRED TO THE LARGER PHENOMENON

OF INCREASED ISLAMIC CONSCIOUSNESS AND BUILDING OF

FUNDAMENTALIST MUSLIM COMMUNITIES AS AS THE "MOVEMENT" AND

SAID IT WAS CONNECTED TO THE EGYPTIAN-BASED MUSLIM

BROTHERHOOD SINCE 1988. EXPOSURE TO ISLAMIC CULTURE

THROUGH EXPOSURE TO AND EDUCATION IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES HAS

SINCE THE 1960′S AWAKENED THE PREVIOUSLY SLEEPY ISLAMIC

CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE BANGSA MORO (MUSLIM PEOPLE) OF THE

PHILIPPINES. 

¶5. THERE WERE ALSO HUNDREDS OF MUSLIM TEACHERS WORKING AS

"TABLEEGH" — IN ESSENCE, ISLAMIC MISSIONARIES — ALL OVER

MINDANAO. SEVERAL HUNDRED SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN HAVE ALSO

BEEN SENT FOR SEVERAL YEARS OF TRAINING IN ARAB

COUNTRIES. THE GENERAL TREND WAS AWAY FROM SECULARIZATION

— PRECISELY THAT TENDENCY REPRESENTED BY THE MORO

NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (MNLF) WITH WHICH THE GOVERNMENT

WAS CONDUCTING PEACE NEGOTIATIONS. IN HIS ESTIMATION,

ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF TODAY'S MUSLIM COMMUNITY REFLECTS

"FUNDAMENTALIST" VIEWS, ABOUT 20 PERCENT SECULAR ONES, AND

THE REMAINDER IS IN THE MIDDLE. IN COMPARISON, HE

ESTIMATED THE MUSLIM LEADERSHIP AS DIVIDED ABOUT 40

PERCENT EVENLY BETWEEN SECULARISTS AND FUNDAMENTALISTS,

WITH THE REMAINDER IN THE MIDDLE. 

¶6. ACCORDING TO DE LOS SANTOS, A NUMBER OF MUSLIMS SENT

TO ASSIST THE "MOVEMENT" WHO HAVE BEEN DETAINED BY POLICE

AND IDENTIFIED AS "JORDANIANS" ARE ACTUALLY PALESTINIANS,

AND THOSE PARTIAL TO HAMAS RATHER THAN THE PLO. HE IS IN

TOUCH WITH SOME OF THEIR COMPATRIOTS IN MANILA WHO ARE

DEGREE CANDIDATES AT LOCAL UNIVERSITIES. THEY ARE PART OF

A GROWING WORLD-WIDE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT THAT SEEKS TO CREATE

MUSLIM COMMUNITIES GOVERNED BY MUSLIM LAW. DE LOS SANTOS

SAID THAT THE ULTIMATE GOAL DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A SEPARATE

MUSLIM STATE. THE MOVEMENT HAS SET UP A NUMBER OF LOCAL

SELF-HELP ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE SERVICES WHERE THE

GOVERNMENT IS WEAK, SUCH AS LOCAL HEALTH CARE. MONEY FOR

THEIR ACTIVITIES WAS "NO PROBLEM." 

¶7. DE LOS SANTOS DISCLOSED THAT JOSE ALMONTE, THE

PRESIDENT'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, HAD ASKED HIM LAST

FEBRUARY TO WRITE AN ANALYSIS OF THE PEACE PROCESS AND

WHERE IT WAS HEADING. HE SAID ALMONTE IS A CLOSE FRIEND

WHO WAS A MEMBER OF THE SAME UNIVERSITY GRADUATING CLASS.

ALMONTE'S LETTER, THE ORIGINAL OF WHICH DE LOS SANTOS

SHOWED POLOFF, ASKED HIM TO ANALYZE THE BASIC POLITICAL

STRUCTURES IN THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY, LIKELIHOOD OF COMING

TO AN AGREEMENT, AND STEPS THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT TAKE. DE

LOS SANTOS TOOK SEVERAL MONTHS TO COMPLETE THE STUDY, BUT

SAID HE PULLED SOME OF HIS PUNCHES IN THE FINAL REPORT.

SUMMARIZING HIS FINDINGS, HE EXPRESSED DOUBTS THAT THE

MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (MNLF) WOULD BE COMPETENT

ENOUGH TO HOLD POWER IF GRANTED IT THROUGH THE PEACE

PROCESS, AND DOUBTED THAT THE MNLF IN ANY CASE COULD

NEGOTIATE PEACE ON BEHALF OF ALL FILIPINO MUSLIMS, SINCE

THE MNLF IS REALLY "PAST HISTORY" THAT IS BECOMING

INCREASINGLY IRRELEVANT AND LOOKED UPON AS A SURROGATE FOR

THE GOVERNMENT. 

¶8. IN DISCUSSING HOUSE SPEAKER JOSE DE VENECIA, DE LOS

SANTOS HAD STRONG WORDS FOR THIS "DEMAGAGOIC POLITICIAN."

HE SAID DE VENECIA HAD BEEN ENGAGED IN SHADY DEALINGS IN

BOTH LIBYA AND IRAQ INVOLVING CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS FOR

HIS FIRM, AND HAD TRIED TO "REPAY" HIS LIBYAN BENEFACTORS

BY ACTING AS THEIR FRONT MAN AND ERRAND BOY. THE LIBYANS

THOUGHT THEY COULD USE DE VENECIA'S AID IN ENLISTING

PRESIDENT FIDEL RAMOS, WITH HIS EXCELLENT AMERICAN

CONTACTS, AS A WEDGE IN HELPING END LIBYA'S DIPLOMATIC

ISOLATION IN THE WEST. (EMBASSY HAS REPORTED EXTENSIVELY

ON DE VENECIA'S EFFORTS ON BEHALF OF COL. QADHAFI). IT

WAS A WELL-KEPT SECRET, ACCORDING TO DE LOS SANTOS, THAT

RAMOS HAD RECEIVED FIVE MILLION PESOS (ABOUT DOLS 200,000)

FROM THE LIBYANS TO FINANCE HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN

¶1992. 

¶9. ACCORDING TO DE LOS SANTOS, MOST RESIDENT AMBASSADORS

OF ISLAMIC COUNTRIES ARE MODERATES, INCLUDING LIBYAN RAJAB

ABDULAZIZ AZZAROUQ, WHO HE SAID IS A CANDIDATE FOR THE

PH.D. DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE

PHILIPPINES. HE SAID THAT ABOUT A QUARTER OF LIBYAN

LARGESSE TO THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY COMES THROUGH THE "BACK

DOOR." 

¶10. COMMENT: DE LOS SANTOS' VIEWS REPRESENT THOSE OF A

MUSLIM INTELLECTUAL WITH CLOSE TIES TO NATIONAL SECURITY

ADVISOR ALMONTE. HIS NEGATIVE ASSESSMENT OF THE CHANCES

FOR SUCCESS IN THE PEACE PROCESS WITH THE MNLF IS NOT

REFLECTED IN THE PROGRESS BEING SHOWN TO DATE, ALTHOUGH

THE QUESTION WHICH HE ADDRESSES — WHETHER A SUCCESSFUL

NEGOTIATION WITH THE MNLF WILL USHER IN A LONG-TERM PERIOD

OF PEACE WITH THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY — IS ONE THAT NEEDS TO

BE ADDRESSED. HIS WARNING ABOUT THE TREND AWAY FROM

SECULARIZATION AND TOWARD TRADITIONALISM BY YOUNG MUSLIMS

IS A POINT WE HAVE HEARD BEFORE. HOWEVER, THE VIEW HELD

BY MANY OF OUR INTERLOCUTORS IS THAT THE TREND IS TOWARD

INCREASING RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS RATHER THAN VIOLENT

FUNDAMENTALISM. THIS TREND OBVIOUSLY DESERVES CAREFUL

WATCHING, AS DO THE DEVELOPING TIES BETWEEN FILIPINO

MUSLIMS AND THEIR BRETHREN IN OTHER COUNTRIES. 

BURGHARDT

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

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