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American Concern Over RP Situation Is Rising (Updated with Panetta Profile)

July 9, 2009


The Philippines’s ‘blip’ on the American  socio-political stability radar ‘ for Southeast Asia has certainly been flashing brighter these past two weeks so Washington is dispatching its top ‘spy’, CIA  boss Leon Panetta for a “lightning” 12-hour visit this weekend.

There will be a courtesy 20-minute tete-tete with between Mr. Panetta and President Arroyo but the substance will be the top-secret briefings Panetta will get from his boys at the U.S. Embassy: the political desk and the CIA station chief in Manila for the ‘inside dope’ on what’s really been happening down South where US Special Forces units are working alongside the men of Major General Juancho Sabban.

The CIA chief will surely want to know the no-BS accounts about just how the war on terror  is being waged in the Philippines against the Al Qaeda-affiliated Abu Sayyaf, the secessionist MILF, and why despite the surveillance support from American unmanned aerial vehicles authorities have not been able to rescue Italian Eugenio Vagni from 5 months of ASG captivity.

And then, of course, Leon Panetta will ask about Con-Ass, the string on terror bombings, the newly-declared military red alert in Metro Manila, and the fears about martial law and no elections.

It was just last month that Panetta’s own cabinet-level boss, Robert Gates, was in Manila to assess the situation.

And last week amiable but diplomatically shrewd lady ambassador Kristie Kenney reiterated her government’s abiding concern for the scheduled Philippine presidential elections.

Their message cannot be more clear: narrow and self-serving political machinations must not subvert democratic processes in the Philippines and the people’s sovereign will.


Here’s a profile of Mr. Panetta, including details on his careeer as a congressman and his links to former Pres. Clinton:

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