How CIA has been meddling in Philippine presidential elections


FRESH from the presidential elections just past, I can’t help recalling this passage from an article on the web titled “CIA Electoral Interventions: A Philippine Experiment.” I came across the article during the campaign and it sank in my mind because it dealt with a subject matter that is little known to Filipinos, particularly the current young, and yet appears now to have been with us for over half a century.

The passage goes: “In 1954, US President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a panel to make recommendations regarding covert political action as an instrument of foreign policy. The Report concluded: ‘If the US is to survive, longstanding American concepts of ‘fair play’ must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated means than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.’ (Report of the Special Study Group—Doolittle Committee—on the Covert Activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, 30 September 1954 –

“Since then, several national leaders, including democratically elected figures, were removed as the CIA tried to install their man as head of state. Some of these covert operations were publicly acknowledged by the US government itself.”

Toward its end, the article betrays itself as a piece for attacking the candidacy of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzaares.

It says:
“An American candidate for Philippine Presidency

“ ‘In the Philippines, the CIA Has Found a Second Home’—is the title of an article published in 1989 in Los Angeles Times. The author is Emmy awarded journalist and historian Stanley Karnow. The fact that Manila has been a regional headquarters of the CIA for Southeast Asia is an open secret. From Edward Lansdale role in Ramon Magsaysay election as president in 1953 to the Wikileaks cables, CIA’s meddling in the Philippines internal affair has been a proven fact.

“A strange thing is happening these days in the Philippines. Grace Poe, one of the front-runners of the ongoing presidential campaign is, in fact, more American than Filipino. 47 years old Grace Poe lived most of her adult life in the US. She moved to Boston as a student in 1988 and lived in the US for more than 17 years until she decided to return to the Philippines. This is not necessarily unusual. 10 million Filipinos live abroad (none of them is running for his native country’s presidency, though). But most of those 10 million keep their Philippine passports. Grace Poe didn’t. In 2003, the current Philippine presidential candidate renounced her Philippine citizenship. She took an oath of allegiance to the United States and was naturalized as a US citizen.

“Grace Poe was an American citizen until six years ago. In 2010 she renounced her US citizenship, as a legal condition for having access to a chairperson position in a Philippine governmental agency. Philippine law prohibits appointment of someone with dual citizenship to government office. (In 2006, Poe had re-acquired the Philippine citizenship and, since then, she has held dual citizenship.)

“Grace Poe’s family is American. Her husband (who is US-born), son (also US-born) and two daughters are all US citizens. Her husband’s parents are American citizens.

“In a Western democracy a candidate such as Grace Poe would be, at most, exotic. In the Philippines [she]is one of the favorites. The reason for that is Grace Poe’s US-style campaign full of spin, PR and drama. Millions of dollars have already been pumped into a presidential campaign in which the work of American political consultants is obvious.

“In the Philippines we are witnessing an experiment. No more coups, underground actions, cloak-and-dagger activities. It’s an overt operation: An American is running for the Philippines (sic) presidency.”

As Senator Grace has been the first to concede defeat to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, it would seem the American ploy has failed. But then again, as the good old American adage goes, “There are many ways to skin a cat.” In war, there are battles meant to be lost in order to achieve a strategic gain. In most cases, the obvious fight turns out to be the decoy intended to draw the enemy’s resources so that thereby he is rendered utterly unprepared for his opponent’s real—and winning—attack.

In the history of the Philippine Republic, America has never failed to install an American-friendly president. From Manuel Roxas to BS Aquino, you name it, it’s an Amboy. Except President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, who had the gall to say no to Bill Clinton when the latter asked him to lie low on the MILF and he didn’t, and so he found himself getting impeached after only some two months from the time he crushed the MILF Mother Camp, Abubakar, in 2000. And he was also one of the magnificent senators who said No to US bases.

Erap is a graphic illustration of the reverse of the above truism: no Philippine president has stayed in place who was anti-American. When President Carlos P. Garcia stood firm on his Filipino First Policy, hence insubordinate to the US, he failed to gain re-election against Diosdado Macapagal. That Macapagal was an Amboy was demonstrated by the fact that even before the declaration of martial law in 1972, he went rushing to the American Embassy, seeking political asylum due to a perceived impending arrest by Marcos. Turns out the perception was baseless.

And when Marcos, submissive to America for most part of his 20-year rule, began charging rentals to US military installations in the country, such rentals being upped even every five years, America appeared finally convinced, enough is enough. That conviction found a curt but profound expression in President Ronald Reagan’s, “Cut. And cut clean.” And with that, at the height of the 1986 EDSA People Power revolt, the US kidnapped Marcos and family and brought them to exile in Hawaii—paving the way for the ascension of Cory to Malacañang.

Election after election since then, Amboy, except Erap, has been president.

So to the point. Here is the presidential election in contention, as rehashed from another article:

“The most insidious part of the CIA operation in the Philippines was the manipulation of this presidential election. Psy-war propaganda methods were used to promote the US-sponsored candidate and military resources available were also considerable. The American role was critical throughout. A massive domestic and international publicity campaign pumped the guy’s image and assured his election, orchestrated by his American friends in the inner chamber of the military advisory group.

“A legendary CIA operative essentially ran the successful presidential campaign. Documentary evidence prove large funds running to millions of dollars were injected into our candidate’s campaign kitty through ‘donations’ from American corporations in the Philippines.

“The meddling in the election campaign was perhaps the less distasteful side of US intervention. The ‘dirty tricks’ side, though, according to the CIA Manila station chief, included an episode in which our candidate’s main opponent was drugged before a speech ‘so that he would appear incoherent.’

“The outcome of the elections was not a foregone conclusion. A contemporary CIA report warned of the damage an openly fraudulent election would cause to American prestige in Asia, but it considered only the incumbent administration as the potential fraudster. Preparations were also made to dispute the election through force of arms if the guy lost. His impressive popularity is universally acknowledged, and many leaders of his party have convinced themselves that the party can be beaten only if the incumbent administration cheats. Our Amboy candidate tells his followers to avoid violence but is alleged to have asked certain trusted aides to determine the number of armed men available in case of an emergency. US warships were said to have been mysteriously present in Manila Bay a few days before the elections and tank crews were apparently standing by for action. These measures proved unnecessary though. The guy won more than two-thirds of the votes cast. The election is a public-relations triumph.”

Who is the Amboy in this election?


Du… what! Stupid.

He is Ramon Magsaysay in the 1953 presidential elections.


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  1. Joshua Schneider on

    The author of this article needs to work on the Clinton staff. The amount of fact vs fiction is just enough for someone with a little knowledge to read the article and come away with the feeling of “Bad America”. The Clinton’s are well know since their White-water days for parsing facts. Mr. Samonte uses the blending of a very famous Vietnam author Stanley Karnow to fit his narrative. Then proceeds to try and show how the US government through the CIA wants to control the election process in the Philippines. We all know how that ended.. Those of us in US intelligence ( Discloser here folks.. I was one of them ) know how important the Philippines is to the world and the amount of trade that flows through this area. For those that would like to see the shipping lanes of the world please go to:
    Please also go to the following web page from Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative:
    The Philippines’s has become one of the most important areas in the world and needs to be able to protect its legal rights for safe passage through our waters.. Free trade is only free if it is protected. The history of the Philippines is rife with lack of proper spending on it’s sovereign right to defend what is ours. An excellent article comparing us with Singapore in regards to growth is located here.
    Yes I live here folks. Until we are able to defend ourselves from one of the most powerful and aggressive nations in the world, China, we are at their mercy. Why would any person whom wishes to live in a free country condemn and try and to prevent the US from helping to defend our very national sovereignty. After all have we not protected ourselves from over 300 years of occupation by the Spanish and those few pesky years by the Japanese? History is a hard thing to write against as this author does.
    The US came, rescued us ( with amazing help from thousands of Philippine guerillas ) and left giving the Philippines its independence on July 4 1945. As a point of fact the Philippines were more dependent on America’s help than any single state in the back in the US.
    It seems some folks want history to repeat its self. Let us demand from our government the single and most important duty of all. Protecting our National Boundaries. Then we can talk about not letting the evil Americans defend us from the aggression of China. We do not have the capacity now to enforce our will to protect what is ours. Yes we are in the European court system with a case. Better to have spend the money on our navy.
    Lets hope that our new President is a strong one and can stand up to the biggest enemy of ours….corruption. My wish and prayers are with him to go forward. As for the CIA.. get real, of course they are here, just as they are in any country. The US is the single most important force for our protection is this world. Not the Hague Court. China has already said that its decision does not matter.. for that fact go here:

    • Joshua Schneider on

      My bad… we got our independence from the US on July 4th 1946, not 1945.

  2. Edwin Subijano on

    Roxas was definitely the CIA candidate. He is an IMF-WB protege and a grandson of an infamous traitor President Manuel Roxas. But Grace Poe was also a dark horse that the CIA backed (but was also naively backed by the left). She was said to be Noynoy’s secret candidate because the latter knew that Roxas was a hopeless choice even with the PCOS election rigging machines.

    Luckily for Duterte he was very late in announcing his candidacy. Because of this the LP and CIA was not able to prepare ahead of time their demolition team of Cayetano and Trillanes. Duterte also smartly took Cayetano as his vice-Presidential candidate which left Trillanes alone to attack Duterte but it was too late.

    Poor Binay was the leading candidate early in the election campaign. But he got all the attention of the CIA and LP wrecking ball which diminished his early poll results.

    Duterte’s late announcement of his candidacy was a lucky break indeed !!! The CIA and the LP was not able to prime and prepare their attack dog Trillanes in time. And the results surprised the establishment oligarchy and the US imperialists !!!

    Now the communists are going to be in the Cabinet !!! Well, the Yanks have had a long run of luck and success in their meddling in Philippine presidential elections. But, as the saying goes, you cannot win everything !!!

  3. Whilst there is a possibility of US CIA involvement, there is no basis for most part of this article. I would rather discuss this with our military intelligence rather than make it public which create concern to our citizens that US is meddling in our internal affairs. By the way, it is not just the Americans who are spying but the Chinese too, South Koreans, Japanese, Israel, Russians, etc. The question, are our attache good in spying for our country. We can’t even have a balance trade with these countries.

    • The creation of an effective intelligence network starts from the President who needs to know how to advance the interests of the country. Even in trade, you need to know the manufacturing output or patterns of growth of another country in order to know what products you can introduce or industry you can penetrate. This lack of intelligence is evident in the beneegno maladministration as it doesn’t even know how to expand our trade. Getting foreign direct investment is never a passive act that you just sit under the tree waiting for the apple to fall on your mouth. It is the product of our consuls and ambassadors hobnobbing with the who’s who in the respective society of their postings. Hence, it is important that our consuls and ambassadors or even trade attaches are given some training in intelligence gathering. As it is, I see a lot of trade attaches who seem not to know what their job descriptions are.

  4. Nice one. The key to the answer is, won 2/3 of the votes. Du30 won less than half (40%). That was Pres Magsaysay, and his CIA handler was Edward Landsdale. PNoy is also a CIA robot, judging from his moves from day 1, being belligerent toward China, empowering the US to move into the fray. EDCA?

  5. CIA has nothing to do in our election 2016 result……..If there is cheating….Remember this…..Plan B must continue…Sad but true…….

    • Why do you think the CIA will put its office in Manila if it will not meddle in our local politics? If you look at the world map, our geographical position plays a very strategic position for US interests. Hence, the need that there should be local stooges who will never be an obstacle to US interests in this part of the globe.

  6. kale alaskador on

    Hahahaha! The name Banayo has been associated with the clandestine activities of the CIA for years! He has always managed to join the winning candidates!

  7. Antonio Villar on

    Hallucinations. You’ve been reading too many spy novels and watching too many James Bond movies. Get real.

  8. Amnata Pundit on

    Duterte was not the CIA candidate, Poe, Roxas and Binay were. Why do I say this?Because they were the ones Cardinal Tagle endorsed by having his picture taken with all three of them. The American-led West, the Oligarchs through the Makati Business Club and the Church are one and the same force, the unHoly Trinity that is the real power behind the yellow regime, and this trinity would have been happy with any of the three candidates. However, they ran against the vox populi, vox dei in Duterte. You can be sure they will do their best to give him sleepless nights starting from day one of his term, as a matter of fact, they are staring already. To pray for Duterte is to pray for the people.

    • Unfortunately, what may seem publicly obvious may not necessarily be real. In intelligence work, you create a public persona to deviate attention from the truth. When you really come to think of it, “federalism” is good only for the textbooks and in more mature economies with mature leader. For the local scene will just be an easier way for foreign interests to control our resources given the lack of wisdom and political maturity of supposed local “leaders”. When a group can cheat making zero votes for a candidate which is farthest from reality reflects the kind of parochial thinking local leaders have. That is never a condition where federalism can work where “leaders” do not have a respect for the real aspiration of our people.

  9. Datu Mahusay on

    The cold war mentality of blaming the CIA ( US Government ) for anything wrong in the Philippines need to be vacated to the dustbin of history. As a matter of policy, the US government does not get involved in national elections of foreign government.

    This writer is reading too much spy novels.I recommend that you read some of Stratfor’s analysis and reports.

    • Maybe, you try to listen more to those podcasts of the Council on Foreign Relations and CSIS. Policies are official government official lines. What is not stated on paper is what the US does. The meddling started as a policy during the time of Pres. Eisenhower. Not only do they meddle in elections but in the whole way the government is run as evidenced by their presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria or even Iran – and more recently, in Taiwan where the new President has been silent on the “one tsai-nha” policy. Even if I am the US, that is what I will do if it will be to my best interest. There are nations that needs to be disciplined with their continuing suppression of civil liberties like Gambia.

    • vasily smith on

      “the US does not get involved in national elections of foreign government”?????? ever heard of color revolutions? ever heard of sanctions/embargoes on nations USA deems too independent? proxy wars are on-going in middle east(Syria..Iraq..Yemen) with direct US arms and funding of mercenary soldiers. USA most recently was directly involved in the overthrow of democratically elected Yanokovich in Ukraine and the installation of US friendly puppet(2014). USA has a long history of foreign involvement….violent(Yugoslavia…Libya…Iraq) or by “soft” power/color revolution financing.

  10. Rio Legaspi on

    Hahaha, it’s a joyride story. Let us see if the incoming is an Amboy also.

  11. The book you have to read to learn why, how, when, is “Waltzing with a Dictator”. It is a great read, explains Marcos’ rise to power. The CIA bragged that Marcos was such a quick learner, that they did not have to use any additional CIA money to get Marcos reelected.
    Stanley Karnow became famous for his “Vietnam: A History”. His subsequent book “In Our Image – America’s Empire in the Philippines” was described by The New York Times Book Review as “22 Karat Gold”. Reading these two books gives one a very decent undertanding of how the US is using the Phil.
    “The Blood of Government -Race, Empire, the United States, & the Philippines” is another book similar to Karnow’s “Image”, with additional details and points of view.

  12. Is the columnist trying to imply that there was an aremikan hand in the just concluded presidential selection? If the publicly acknowledged aremikan citizen was Ms. greys, was she the sponsored candidate or was she the decoy but the actual stooge was Mr. Dee Gong because of the finesse with the way the groundswell of support was exponentially hyped – the verbal scrimmage with the aremikan and australian ambassadors all being part of the script? Is federalism a ploy to allow local leaders total control of certain territorial areas local leaders being much easier to bribe – the control being an easier manner of access to oil, gas and deuterium resources? Note that a former US ambassador can not hide her glee in the signing of the MAD because of a perceived potential access to those minerals.

    With the slump of oil prices, deuterium is the next big thing. If so, we might as well dribble the road to federalism until the next president comes in 2022 since federalism is a bogey and nothing but a sleek way to partner with local stooges in the access to such mineral resources – notwithstanding those bunkers in Mindanao filled with gold bars to the rafters. With a history of so many local leaders having no political maturity, intellectual capacity and financial acumen, allowing such local stooges with full control over their fiefdom will allow unlimited partnerships with foreign interests leaving the whole country practically at the mercy of the US. Then, we might as well wait for a president who has a grasp of class struggle but possess an appreciation of engineering to put the country in order. Surely, jojo is a perceived nationalist while Bonget may still be nursing a deep hurt against the aremikans because of their kidnapping of his father.

    Now, people will begin to think twice whether they made the correct choice. Indeed, the Filipino people is once again hoodwinked by propaganda latched on to their dream of the easier road to grandeur. But there is still time to correct the mistake as the official tally will still be next week.

  13. RM was the Amboy. He became very popular and his popularity causes concern to the Americans. At that time the Hukbalahap movements is at its highest point. RM is so popular and can win reelection if he runs.

    The Americans do not want a reelected President. DID THE CIA INTERVENED TO STOP RM GET REELECTED?


    How could General Ebuen made a mistake of the altitude of the plane as it hits the tip of Mount Manungal when RM was returning to Malacanang?


    At that time General Fabian Ver was the head of National Intelligence Agency of the Philippines.

  14. Non-sense, wasted editorial space. Referencing of claims are very poor.

    Shtudonw muna yung space mo.

  15. Prinze Fisher on

    You are right. I think he is the Amboy? Manny Villar is still fresh in my mind when he rushed the approval of the impeachment of Erap…. Now we see how they work and it’s obvious.

    • Girlie Bebbeb on

      The saying goes: “What comes around, goes around ” Manny Villar destroyed Joseph Strada, and in turned, some people destroyed Manny Villar when he run for the presidency.