Nov. 16, 2016 – Press Conference of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre
|Press Conference of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre|
|Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg., Malacañang|
|16 November 2016|
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, we are very fortunate this morning to have here with us the Secretary of the Department of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II.
Prior to joining the President’s Cabinet, Secretary Aguirre was already a familiar face to our people because of the many prominent cases that he handled like the Mamasapano clash in Maguindanao, when he was the legal counsel of the SAF chief General Napeñas and private prosecutor of the prosecution panel of the House of Representatives during the impeachment case of Chief Justice Renato Corona; the Hubert Webb case, Senator Ping Lacson and Justice Binevenido Reyes, among others. Secretary Aguirre was—he was telling me that they were classmates with the President but I think he finished earlier. Alright. But ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, I know you want to know a lot of things from our resource person today so without much further ado, Secretary Aguirre. Please. Thank you.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Thank you, Secretary Abella. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I was invited by the good spokesman this morning and I’m sorry that I requested that this briefing be held earlier because of a very important meeting with the Executive Secretary and Secretary Dominguez at 12 o’clock so if you have any question or clarification, then I hope I’ll be able to clarify or make some comment about it.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Vic Somintac (DZEC): Sir, Vic Somintac from NET 25 and DZEC. Sir, dito sa case building natin kay Senadora Leila De Lima. Kagabi po sa isang media gathering with the President, nabanggit din po niya na very vital witness si Ronnie Dayan na inamin naman ni Senadora De Lima na driver-lover niya. Kumusta po ang manhunt operation ng Department of Justice kay Ronnie Dayan?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Actually po, during the height of the congressional hearing in connection with the BuCor high-profile inmates, mga drug lords natin sa loob ng Bilibid, talagang oNBI conducted a manhunt for Ronnie Dayan in view of the warrant of arrest issued by the Congress, by the House of Representatives, because he was declared as in contempt of Congress. So lahat talagang ginawa namin, ginawa ng NBI but apparently, we weren’t successful in doing so.
We were told that Ronnie Dayan is protected by some high public officials in his home province of Pangasinan and other northern provinces, up to Baguio. Diyan siya nagtatago, diyan siya nagpapalipat-lipat but I hope that with the 1 million pesos reward for whoever will be instrumental in the arrest of Ronnie Dayan will, it will, palagay ko malaki ang mangyayaring epekto niyan and hopefully we will be able to get him.
Mr. Somintac: Sir, balita namin bukas darating na rin si Kerwin Espinosa?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ganun din po ang balita ko. That’s right.
Mr. Somintac: So meron po ba kayong coordination na with PNP?
Gagamitin niyo bang testigo rin si Kerwin Espinosa against Senator Leila de Lima?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Actually, kaliliwanag lang nitong napakalaking problema natin sa droga. Welcome pong lahat ang gustong makipagtulungan para ating maparusahan itong mga malalaking mga public officials involved in the drug trade. Kaya’t ‘yang—we were offering the protection of the WPP to Kerwin Espinosa, even to Ronnie Dayan, as long as they are cooperative and that they will be qualified to be accepted, to be admitted under our Witness Protection Program.
Kaya po’t pagdating niyan si Kerwin, then susunduin at will be accompanied by the PNP officials at pupunta po ‘yan diyan sa Custodial Center sa Crame and doon po muna siguro siya. But I have written General Bato that if ever any assistance is needed in connection with the protection, protective custody of Kerwin, then the NBI is willing to provide that protection and be it the fact that the NBI is the attached agency– police agency na naka attach sa DOJ and in view with the wish of Kerwin to be put under the Witness Protection Program per letter of the Ambassador sa UAE.
Kaya’t kinausap ko na rin si General Bato diyan na in the event na dumating si Kerwin dito sa atin, kung pupwede ay makapagpadala kami ng some prosecutors and some agents of the NBI for, to us to help or to assist in the investigation of Kerwin.
Mr. Somintac: One last point, Secretary. Based on the testimonial evidence saka mga documentary evidence sigurong nakalap na ng Department of Justice against Sen. Leila de Lima, si Presidente Duterte po ay gustong gusto nang makasuhan si Senadora Leila de Lima on the illegal drug trade sa New Bilibid Prison. Ang makakatulong niyo sana ‘yung Office of the Ombudsman. Bakit po kaya ang Office of the Ombudsman mukhang walang planong kasuhan si Senadora Leila de Lima, Secretary?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Opo. Yun pong.. ‘yun ang pronouncement ni Ombudsman, hindi po ba? That after the Congressional hearing, despite napakaraming testigo laban sa kanya including the two NBI officers, officials, na nagsabi na in two instances, tumanggap si Secretary De Lima and si Ronnie Dayan doon sa bahay nila diyan sa Parañaque ng tigli-limang milyong piso. But to the Ombudsman eh hindi pa ito sufficient. Hindi ko malaman kung ano ang.. because parang ang sinasabi nila noon is that these are mere allegations.
Palagay ko hindi lang mere allegations. These are accusations although testimonial evidence lamang. Pero whether it is testimonial evidence, these are evidence against somebody for being charged of the violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Kaya hindi ko po alam kung bakit niya sinasabi and I believe that it is the Ombudsman herself who could explain her stand. But since the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman had concurrent jurisdiction, mabuti lang may concurrent, so despite the resistance from the Ombgudsman to investigate Secretary or Senator de Lima, for– the Department of Justice has received four complaints. The fourth one yung NBI against Secretary de Lima. So since we have concurrent jurisdiction, meaning to say that these kind of cases could be investigated or could be heard in preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman and by the Department of Justice at the same time so we are conducting, we are continuing our preliminary investigation in connection with these charges.
Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi, sir, good morning po. Sir, speaking of witness protection program, Senator Lacson said na mas makabubuti po sana kung wala munang iaalok ang Department of Justice na isailalim si Kerwin Espinosa sa witness protection program. Kuhanan na muna siya ng mga testimonya para daw po lumabas na wala siyang pagkakautangan ng loob na hindi lang papabor sa pamahalaan kung sinoman ‘yung sasabihin niya dahil under na siya ng witness protection program kapag inuna na siyang i-offer nito. What is your take on that, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, merong punto si Senator Lacson and I respect his point ano. But siyempre ang makakasagot niyan or makakapagdesisyon diyan ay ‘yung mismong may katawan. Ano ang kagustuhan ni Kerwin pagdating niya dito? Ganun ba sa kagustuhan ni Senator Lacson? Or ang gusto niya ay to be able to be put under the protection of the witness protection program in view of what happened to his father.
We were told that Kerwin was very much fearful for his life as well as the lives of his common-law wife and children. Kaya’t ‘pag ang hindi immediate ang ginawang protection ng witness protection program, baka siguro sa loob sa kanyang — sa kanyang opinyon baka hindi masyado silang maprotektahan kasi kapag nasabihan sa akin na hindi lamang ‘yung sarili niya kundi pati ‘yung parang may common-law wife siya plus about three minor children. He was very fearful for their lives in view of what happened to the father.
Ms. Niu: Another follow up, sir. Since hindi po makita si Ronnie Dayan, magiging sufficient na po ba ‘yung testimonya ni Kerwin pagdating niya rito na kahit hindi na natin makuhanan ng mga pahayag itong si Dayan?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Actually even without Dayan’s testimony, even without Kerwin’s testimony, sufficient na. Sobra-sobra na nga pagdating sa testimonial evidence but considering that we are strengthening the case, parang ‘yung sinasabi ko noon that we would want to file an airtight case, every single additional evidence, we welcome it.
Ms. Niu: Last on my part, sir. Iyong case po ba na ‘yan maisasampa po ba natin at least bago matapos ang taon na ito?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Last Friday, ang ginawa ko nag-issue na ako ng Department Order consolidating all four cases filed against De Lima and other respondents. Ngayon, with respect to the detail on how the five-man panel of — formed by the Department of Justice to preliminary investigate this case, pinauubaya ko na po ‘yan doon sa five-man panel kasi ayaw ko naman pong lumabas na — at makita o ma-observe ng mga tao na iyong mga detalyadong gagawin ng five-man panel pinakikialaman pa ng Department of Justice, ng Secretary of Justice.
Kaya’t iyan po kung… If ever you have any further question about how they are going to conduct the preliminary investigation, how much time will be given to them in order to file their counter affidavits, doon na po tayo pumunta sa five-man panel.
Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Good morning, sir. Tanong lang po namin kung meron na po tayong initial finding po doon po sa sinubmit ng AMLC na financial records, bank transactions with regards po kay De Lima and other drug lords po?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Doon po sa first request na ginawa ng NBI, sapagkat po dito ang merong memorandum of agreement is between the NBI and the AMLC. Wala pong memorandum of agreement ang AMLC with the DOJ. Kaya ang magre-request niyan ay NBI at ganun nga ang nangyari. Nagkaroon ng first request, nagkaroon naman ng answer ang — or reply ang AMLC.
And noong unang request po ay binigyan naman ng mga factual information ang NBI. Nagkaroon lang po ng problema sa second request. Ang second request ng NBI ay tungkol doon sa mga narco-generals na September 19 pa po nag-request iyon.
So, natagalan po ang gusto kasi natin ay kung anuman ang information or facts na maga-gather doon sa answer or sa reply ng AMLC ay sana maisama ng NBI doon sa ifa-file nila na complaint against De Lima and company. Pero sa tagal ng paghihintay nila ay hindi na sila nakapaghintay at nag-decide na ang NBI na i-file na at i-pursue na lang ang kanilang request kung naka-file na.
Kasi kapag naka-file na ang kaso, then mas malaya na makapaghingi ng impormasyon ang NBI and even they could request some information from the banks. Kaya po noong September 19 pa ‘yung second request eh pero noong mag-speech si President Duterte noong anniversary ng NBI noong three days ago, ay hindi pa po sinasagot ng AMLC ‘yung September 19 second letter eh November na po eh. So it’s almost two months.
Eh hindi naman dapat matagalan iyan sapagkat iyan pong mga data na hinihingi ng NBI nandiyan na ‘yan eh, ready made na ‘yan sa AMLC. Hindi na ‘yan ire-research ng AMLC, nandoon na ‘yan eh.
It’s a question of giving the proper information to the requesting party. Kaya’t sa akin lang ha, kasi nakausap ko rin naman sila, na even without any request as long as ‘yang mga lumalabas sa dyaryo, halimbawa, ‘yung mga tungkol diyan sa mga narco-generals na ‘yan o kaya tungkol doon sa mga accounts noong — bank account numbers na sinasabi doon sa mga affidavits ng mga inmates, kahit wala pong request kinukuha na kaagad na nila iyan eh.
Kaya’t once na-request, iyong request ay dumating, dapat ready na ‘yang mga iyan eh. Kaya lang nagtataka lang kami sapagkat hindi kaagad nasasagot. Kaya’t noong the other day, ng medyo nagalit si — ang ating Pangulo, mga 3 o’clock on that day, I think that was November 14, one and a half hours after, mga 4:30, kinuha na po ng AMLC sa NBI ‘yung hinihingi nila. But that was September, October, November. Ang nakalagay po doon sa sagot ng AMLC ay ‘yung date and blank, walang nakalagay na petsa: November 2016.
So it could have been ready already in the early days of November. Pero what happened to the October? Pinalampas nila ang October ng hindi nila sinasagot ‘yung request ng NBI. So, nabanggit ko iyan kay Presidente doon sa holding room sa NBI sabi ko, “medyo nahihirapan po kami sa AMLC.” So parang daan lang ng kwento namin. Eh iyon pala sineryoso ni Presidente and alam naman ninyo kung papaano ang naging reaksyon niya. But you know where he is coming from sapagkat matatandaan ninyo noong before the elections during the campaign period, naglabas ng impormasyon itong si Senator Trillanes sinasabi na merong 211 million si President Duterte.
So, hindi iyan pinatulan ng kwan ha, ng AMLC. Ang sabi ni Presidente sa kanilang isip, dapat iyan inimbestigahan na nila kaagad at sinabi na hindi totoong meron akong 211 million. So, naliwanagan sana ang mamamayan natin, ‘yung mamboboto natin. Siguro kung nailabas iyon, iyong mga black propaganda na iyan na dapat siguro mas malaki pang boto ang nakuha ni Presidente Duterte.
So I think that was where he was coming from.
Ms. Coz: Opo, follow up lang po, Secretary. Doon po sa sinubmit nila noon pong Monday din po, meron na po ba tayong initial report or relevant reports na makakapagpatunay, makakapagdiin doon po sa — kay Senator De Lima and the other narco-generals?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ang sa second pong hiningi ng NBI ay iyon lamang sa general ‘yung — narco-generals, meron na po ‘yon ano. But with respect to the other bank accounts or bank account names na lumabas during the congressional hearing, hindi pa po masundan ng NBI iyon eh. Dapat sana nasundan kaagad iyon eh. Kasi nga ‘yung second hindi pa sinasagot tapos susundan mo pa ng isa ng hindi naman sinasagot ‘yung pangalawa.
So siguro I instructed some of the — my officials at the DOJ na siguro follow it up immediately to ask the AMLC about the many iyon — marami ‘yung mga bank account numbers na iyon na kung saan iyong mga drug lords, mga high-profile drug lords ay ininstrakan (instruct) nila o may instruction sa kanila where to deposit the money or the proceeds of this drug money. And I am sure that it will reach billions. Kaya iyan po ang sabi ko sa NBI kanina na dapat pasundan kaagad ninyo.
Hannah Jane Sancho (Sonshine): Good morning. Sir, after po mag-submit ‘nung report ‘nung AMLC po sa NBI, nagbigay po ba sila ng written explanation kung bakit po natagalan po sila ng pag-submit at kung bakit po binilisan po nila ang pag-submit after po silang pinasaringan ng Pangulo po?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Wala. Walang ganun.
Ms. Sancho: No explanation?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Oo.
Ms. Sancho: Sir, ‘yung sinubmit po, sir, lahat iyon related po ‘yon kay De Lima?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, lahat iyan related sa mga…
Ms. Sancho: And sa narco-generals?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi lang kay De Lima, sa lahat ng mga respondents. Hindi naman tayo magre-request doon. And AMLA will not give us information kung hindi related sa isang drug activities sapagkat iyan po ‘yung mga predicate crime. One of the predicate crimes, pagdating sa — kung iyan ay violation ng Dangerous Drugs Act, hindi na po kinakailangan na mag-file ng any court petition, talagang duty bound ang AMLA to answer or to reply to any query from the NBI.
Ms. Sancho: Sir, patanong po ni JP Bencito ng Manila Standard. How strong is DOJ’s evidence against De Lima? Would it stand in courts even without Ronnie Dayan or is he really needed to implicate De Lima po?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Katulad ng sinabi ko kanina, even without Ronnie Dayan, even without Kerwin Espinosa, I think it is very strong especially now that Senator De Lima admitted her relationship — her illicit relationship with Ronnie Dayan. Malaki ang pinagbago ‘non.
Cedric Castillo (GMA-7): Sir, balik lang tayo. Good morning, sir. Sir, iyong AMLC will it be compelled to explain as to why hindi agad naibigay ‘yung request? And are you confident now, sir, na sa susunod na mga request po ay mabilis na silang tutugon, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, hopefully ganun ang mangyayari and I believe that there is no more explanation necessary, nandyan na ‘yan and so I believe that we have to move forward.
Mr. Castillo: Alright. Sir, ‘yung kay Senator De Lima po, the President was asked last night kung may possible implication po ‘yung admission ni Senator De Lima ng kanyang relationship po — ‘yung kanyang kay Ronnie Dayan and the President answered and I quote: “Medyo malayo iyon.” Your reaction, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, baka hindi lang…Baka iba ang pagkaintindi ng Pangulo. Kasi abugado iyon, magaling na abugado iyon eh. Definitely, kahit sinong abugado ang tanungin mo at kahit hindi abugado, iyong admission ni — extrajudicial admission ni Secretary De Lima ay napakalaki ng epekto sa kaso ng against her tungkol sa drug activities at lalung-lalo na doon sa disbarment. Kaya siguro hindi lang…Baka iba ang pagkaintindi ng Pangulo or hindi niya naintindihan masyado ‘yung tanong sa kanya but definitely kahit sinong lawyer ang tanungin mo, napakalaki ng implication niyan or epekto niyan doon sa mga kaso ni Secretary or Senator De Lima.
Mr. Somintac: Secretary, clarification lang. Doon sa compliance ng AMLC, walang specific na ibinigay sila na documentary evidence against Senator De Lima? It’s only for the narco-generals?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Wala pa gawa ng nauna ‘yung request na ‘yon, September 19 pa iyon eh. So hindi nga sinasagot sa kanila eh September 19 pa eh. So ‘yung pangalawa iyan. So hindi sila makapag…Hindi sila nakapag-ask ng further information with respect to the other bank accounts. Napakarami ng bank accounts na ‘yan. Kung babasahin mo ‘yung mga affidavits ng mga inmates. Ang dami, ang dami-dami. Siguro about 10, more than 10 na doon ipinapa-deposit sa kanila ‘yung lahat ng mga proceeds ‘nung pinagbibili ng drugs sa labas.
Mr. Somintac: So up to now, the Department of Justice, what do you have is only the testimonial evidence without any documentary evidence against Senator De Lima as of now?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Merong mga documentary evidence, actually ‘yung PDEA na — at saka ‘yung CIDG with respect to the actuation ni — ‘nung Oplan Cronus. So there are documentary evidence but I believe that even without this documentary evidence, doon lang sa testimonial evidence, (unclear) with the admission of Secretary De Lima, they are more than sufficient to find probable cause.
Mr. Somintac: So ang status ng kaso ni Senator De Lima as of now, Secretary, kung ayaw magsampa ng Office of the Ombudsman sabi niyo at least meron kayong ika nga eh concurrent na pwede kayong…
SEC. AGUIRRE: Concurrent jurisdiction.
Mr. Somintac: Concurrent jurisdiction…Iyong jurisdiction ng Department of Justice at saka ‘yung kapangyarihan ng Department of Justice sapat na po ba iyon even without the Office of the Ombudsman to file a case against Senator De Lima?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ganito po ang mangyayari niyan, under the law, although concurrent ang kanilang jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation, pwedeng magsabay, may isang case na hini-hear ang Ombudsman, may mga cases dito na hini-hear ng DOJ. Pero if with respect sa DOJ, itong apat na cases na nasa amin, pagkatapos naming matapos ang preliminary investigation diyan, meron kaming findings, under the law, ang may primary jurisdiction is the Ombudsman. So what we are going to do is that kung anuman ang findings namin, kung anuman ang recommendation namin, ipapadala po namin iyan sa Ombudsman na merong primary jurisdiction over these cases. Ito ‘yung mga cases na cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.
Kaya lahat ng cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan against public officers are supposed to be wielded and filed before the Ombudsman. So, pagkatapos namin dito, the ball will now be in the court of the Ombudsman.
Leila Salaverria (The Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, Secretary. Since you said you don’t need Dayan to build a case against Senator De Lima, is it not overkill to offer a 1 million reward for his capture considering that he is only facing an arrest warrant for a contempt citation, wala pang court case?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Actually, whether it’s overkill or not, I don’t know, hindi po kami kaalam doon sa pag-put up ng 1 million reward to whomsoever will be able to give information leading to the arrest of Ronnie Dayan. So, hindi naman lahat iyan eh. You could not say that’s overkill. You could say that these are community efforts to help the — itong administration of justice including those proceeding from the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines.
Nagkasala po siya, hindi niya nirespeto ang Kongreso ng Pilipinas, so I believe that he has to answer this although contempt nga lang po ito.
Jenny Dongon (TV-5): Good morning, sir. I am Jenny from TV-5. Sir, regarding po doon sa iginawad na executive clemency kay Robin Padilla, is it final and executory? And last question is, sino-sino pa po, sir, ‘yung mga bibigyan ng executive clemency sa mga preso natin?
SEC. AGUIRRE: With respect to this kay Robin Padilla, the power of the President to extend pardon or parole to any — any convicted person is absolute, nobody could question it. Kaya’t itong ginawa ni Presidente that’s final and nobody could question it.
Alam naman natin na tapos na ‘yung panahon ni Robin Padilla when he was a restless soul at that time, several years ago. Pero alam natin napakalaki ng ipinagbago niya. So I think he deserves this absolute pardon.
Now, with respect to the others, I am not aware of the others who are lined up to be given absolute pardon.
Thank you. Thank you sa lahat sa inyo. Salamat po.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We would like to thank Secretary Aguirre for gracing our event. So we could have a few minutes.
I just want to make several references and then, I actually have three or four questions. We need to cut it short. Thank you.
The Trump Policy. The Trump policy will have minimal effect on US-based OFWs, according to Secretary Bello.
The interesting point here is that should the undocumented OFWs decide to come home, Bello noted that the government is ready to provide them assistance and in his words, ang end program ng ating Presidente is to bring back our OFWs so we already established a mechanism na ‘yung mga businesses and—ng mga business and employment opportunities.
In the same vein, the BPO sector was also referred to and the business process outsourcing, BPO sector, needs to level up by expanding the non-voice component of the industry should US President-elect Donald Trump stick to his campaign promise of bringing back jobs from— back to America according to the National Economic and Development Authority.
The spokesperson– NEDA Deputy Director General Rosemarie Edillon said, “I think our problem has to do with the voice the part, kasi English. Therefore once we lose the US market the availability of job that require English speakers would be few. But, with non-voice like the creative, this is less sensitive to the language so pwede tayo doon.”
So, third reference. Regarding, regarding deals with China. The National Economic and Development Authority board, chaired by the President approved on Monday the guidelines of the availment of Chinese support for the conduct of pre-investments and investment activities.
This set of the guidelines which is the upshot of the investment committee—commitments and pledges that were made by Beijing and Chinese business groups during President Duterte’s successful official visit to China last month is designed for better coordination between both parties on the rigid screening of proposed ventures and the judicious used of funds for the projects that are to be eventually approved for the benefit of the Filipino people.
This was released on the statement by the DOF. The guidelines are to improve streamline and enhance transparency and coordination when national government agencies, government owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions and local government units seek the support of Chinese banks.
The rationale states that there at least four items there that need to be addressed fully, number one: the source of financing for pre-investment studies are not tied to a particular country, technology or lender.
Two: that suppliers are qualified and of good standing. And three: contracts are favorable to the government. In other words, strict vetting will be applied, especially when dealing with the companies.
Thank you, we’ll open ourselves for three or four questions, we need to leave also.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Ms. Sancho: Sir, reaction po doon sa sinabi ni Senator De Lima. Kino-kwestyon po niya ‘yung intel funds ni Pangulong Duterte imbes ibigay daw sa Office of the President, ibigay nalang po doon sa ibang agency dahil hindi naman kailangan ng funds ng Office of the President para maghandle ng intel. Nag—tumatanggap lang naman daw sila report mula sa kanilang intel?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s a prerogative with President to exercise –to exercise the use of such funds, thank you.
Ms. Sancho: Sir last nalang po, bibigyan po ba ng—may plano po ba ang Pangulo na bigyan ng government position si Robin Padilla?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi po napag-usapan ‘yan. But it’s certainly his—his, he can run for office if and when.
Ms. Salaverria: Good morning sir, the President said last night he’s not a fan of martial law but it’s a contingency against widespread violence. Sir what, what’s the exact—what are the parameters or definition of this state of widespread violence that would prompt him to declare martial law?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well basically, there –two stage—there are two reasons for that, invasion of rebellion right? There’s the special writ of habeas corpus. However what the statement really comes from, the statement that he made, really comes from the fact that he’s underlining the—he’s underlining our awareness and necessary consciousness of the– of the growing impunity, apparent impunities especially in certain areas of Mindanao where certain groups, actually are travelling already into other areas of example, threatening to enter Cebu, the Visayas. When, so basically what he was doing is that should this escalate and the conditions are set, then he could. But this is simply a warning and that it is just a possibility, this is not actual statement that says it will happen.
Ms. Salaverria: No imminent declaration?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No imminent declaration, unless of course sabi ide-declare, this area, I mean if conditions, if the necessary conditions are there, but if and when that really a process that demands a process.
Ms. Salaverria: But so why does he need to issue this warnings? Are our law enforcers, state forces not doing enough? Or is he dissatisfied with what they’ve been doing?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, we need to understand the leadership style of the President. He’s a, he creates awareness, that is his manner of leadership so I think we should need to be able to take that in stride.
Ms. Salaverria: Thank you
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you, yes.
Marlon Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning sir, the President last night mentioned that the issue over the Marcos burial is actually a fight between two families apparently his referring to the Marcoses and the Aquinos. Is the President belittling or ignoring the sacrifice of the Martial Law victims?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I doubt that. I think basically he’s also — he is highlighting another aspect.
From his perspective that there’s emotion — there’s a lot of emotion being — emotion and investment, you know. Emotion investment in the situation.
But no, he is not at all belittling that. He is simply highlighting another aspect of the — of the issue.
Mr. Ramos: In another topic, sir.
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.
Mr. Ramos: Related doon sa sinabi ni Leila kanina. The President has been harping on the word rebellion in Mindanao, when he has actually successfully engaged the Misuari faction of the MNLF and now the MILF to talk peace with the government as well as the communist rebels. Why he is still talking about rebellion? The Maute group is actually contained in Lanao provinces, can you explain?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Basically, he refers to — like I said, he was creating in…Not creating, he was elevating awareness regarding some of the — some of the actions of, for example, terror—terrorist groups, basically lawless elements, which actually being addressed by police action.
However, he is saying that should you know — that they should not continue is the same vein because if and when they do that and should they enter into conditions that, you know, that they qualified to rebellious, then he could exercise suspension with the writ of habeas corpus.
However, again, again that is a process and simply what we need to understand is a — what we need to understand is elevating awareness regarding the matter.
Ms. Salaverria: Sir, on another issue. What brought about the President’s change of heart on the revival of the BNPP. Because he said it won’t happen — it won’t happen during his term and then…
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Basically, I think it was the concern about being able to — being able to examine all factors, all possibilities regarding the provision of energy.
But he is open to the studies and I think that studies did show that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant has — is standing on the fault line and so there is very serious concern about that.
Ms. Salaverria: Okay, does… Are saying he may also…Kasi…Because according to reports, he has allowed the revival. Are you saying he may have the revival of the plant?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m saying that when he said “he is open”, that means to say that the process continues and part of the process is the examination of whether it is a viable project or not.
Ms. Salavierra: So it may or may not. I mean at this point it’s not yet?
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The reports are not yet in.