Foot in mouth

IT’S WHAT an idiom would refer to as a “foot-in-mouth” situation.
WikiLeaks consecutive release of secret diplomatic cables between the US Embassy and Washington (from 2006-2010) regarding the Philippine affairs may have soured PH-US relations significantly.
The latest release revealed former US Ambassador Kristie Kenney’s opinions about the Philippines’ efforts in combating the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), saying that “total victory over the insurgents in the foreseeable future remains unlikely.”
According to Amado Doronila’s column “Analysis,” among Kenney’s other dispatched cables include: describing the “weak” leaderships of both PNoy and his mother, the late former president (which offended the Aquino administration); sympathizing with former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA); and downgrading the corruption scandals during GMA’s regime.
There are even accounts of “interventions by US diplomats in Philippine affairs, ranging from then President Arroyo’s ‘defiant stare’ at an embassy official who told her that Washington could not ‘go along with the plan’ to declare martial law as her government was under siege after the ‘Hello Garci’ tapes showed she interfered in the counting of results of the 2004 presidential election, and to other sensitive issues from 2006 to 2010,” said Doronila.
There was also an embassy report which elaborated on the Vatican’s directive for Filipino bishops “to remain neutral and to stay away from calls for the ouster of GMA during the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal in 2005.”
Another one elaborated on GMA’s knowledge of her husband, Mike Arroyo’s “heavy involvement in smuggling and illegal gambling syndicates” but that she refused to put a stop to them since the former first gentleman was instrumental in getting her the chief executive position.
Of the more than 251,000 documents uploaded on the WikiLeaks website in November 2001, 1,798 were diplomatic cables from the US Embassy in Manila.
There are 65 secret and 749 confidential files pertaining to the Philippines from Dec. 28, 1966, to Feb. 28, 2010.
The revelations have compelled the Department of Foreign Affairs to issue a statement, saying that “unauthorized disclosure of sensitive diplomatic reports is very disturbing” and that these disclosures “would probably serve no useful purpose in the long run, other than to delight those who wish to embarrass the US government, and the foreign personalities named in the report.”
A DFA official also said that the disclosure “may… prejudice the safety of well-intentioned people who have worked with the Americans for the benefit of both countries.”
“Confidentiality is vital in the give-and-take among countries. Political leaders will rarely compromise if such is to be done in the full glare of the media,” he added.
The US Embassy in Manila ranks 44th among the embassies and consulates with the most cables in the website.
However, these disclosures are part of the Manila US Embassy’s role as a crucial listening post for intelligence in the continent.
But regardless of whether they should remain secret or not, these cables demonstrate how much influence the United States has over Philippine affairs.
Questions in mind would be: are we better off turning a blind eye or a deaf ear to these revelations, given that the Philippines is still highly dependent on the United States, especially in terms of military equipment and protection? Or should these disclosures serve as a wake-up call for the Philippines to wean itself from US support?
Now may not be the right time, but knowledge of the truth should, at least, make us think of what lies ahead.
(LA Weekend Sept 17-20, 2011 Sec A pg. 12)

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