Analysis: Ulterior Motives In Panetta’s Philippines Visit

Panetta & Arroyo

Panetta, Arroyo

Few heads outside Southeast Asia were turned last Sunday by CIA director Leon Panetta’s brief visit to the Philippines. Panetta arrived in Manila early Sunday morning and left at 10 p.m. on the same day. But he managed to squeeze in meetings with Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, as well as her most senior cabinet executives, such as Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. Panetta’s meeting with the President was brief, reportedly lasting around 30 minutes, but its significance was enormous for Washington’s continuing military and intelligence presence in the region. To understand the level of that commitment, one must consider the rare telephone call that US President Barack Obama recently placed to his Philippine counterpart. Read article →

Analysis: Strange Case of Philippine Spy in US Gets Stranger



A Philippine former intelligence officer, who was arrested in New York for passing classified US documents to his Philippine contacts, has had his sentence reduced by a US court. Michael Ray Aquino was apprehended in 2005 and charged with collaborating with an FBI intelligence analyst who spied on the US. Aquino’s recent history is complicated. For several years, he worked for the (now defunct) Philippines National Police Intelligence Group (NPIG), where he quickly rose to the post of Deputy Director, under the Presidency of Joseph Estrada. In 2001, however, when Estrada was ousted from the Presidency amidst extensive corruption allegations, Aquino was one of several military and intelligence officials who were removed by the new government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Soon afterwards, Aquino was among several suspects charged with the politically motivated murder of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer, a well-known public relations manager who had helped oust Estrada. The ousted intelligence officer escaped justice by fleeing with his family to the US, in 2001. Read article →

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