Interview with PCO Secretary Martin Andanar and former NSC Adviser Jose Almonte
ANC/Headstart by Karen Davila
07 October 2016

KAREN: Welcome to Hot Copy gentlemen. Thank you for coming. Alright, how would you describe President Duterte’s first 100 days?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hi Karen, good morning. Good morning Sec. Almonte.

ALMONTE: Good morning, Martin.

SEC. ANDANAR: The first 100 days, very successful. The Filipino’s have spoken, the last 90 days, based on the SWS survey that was a released yesterday, the highest in 24 years at 64% of the satisfaction rating – ang pinakamataas po diyan si FVR at 66%. And there’s a new survey that came in, just today. BusinessWorld din and SWS and it says that 84% are satisfied with the drug campaign of the President. And ang sabi nga din SWS survey “excellent” iyong kanyang kampanya.

KAREN: Okay. So relatively it’s for you, it’s excellent.

SEC. ANDANAR: Excellent.

KAREN: The first 100 days, what about you sir?

ALMONTE: Well, I agree, it is excellent. But I have my own reasons.

KAREN: Yeah, go ahead.

ALMONTE: Okay why it is excellent. A little background: You see with Ramos under his term, we were not able to complete reforms that we wanted. And there were three major areas that we wanted to complete, but we were not able to do because time was up in 1998. These are: number one, to end our internal war; number two, to repair our broken politic; number three to level the playing field in both the land and non-land sectors. Why is this important? Because in my view with all these problems of drugs, of crime, of corruption, of inequality, of abuses in politics, in the judicial system, all of these; there’s so many solutions offered. But let me say this: none of these will work for so long as these three areas are not repaired.

KAREN: All right. So when it comes to the first 100 days of President Duterte, I mean, you described what failed or what was not finished in FVR’s time, why would you say that Duterte was a success in the first 100 days?

ALMONTE: Yes, because what—but so far, as you could see, he has addressed the longest insurgency in the world, which is the communist insurgency. He is the only one who had the courage to put [in] Cabinet positions [those] who are identified with the Left. As of now, he has now at the level of the indefinite ceasefire of the level of negotiation.

KAREN: Okay, I find it quite interesting because many people say that, you know, with the 100 days of President Duterte – technically, it’s only been three months. Some people feel he’s been in office for like a year. You know, that’s something filled with his presence, I mean his bold strokes. Let’s start with this first, number one: the drug campaign. I think that is the forefront of his first 100 days. Will you consider that completely a success or do you feel it raised many questions of alarm?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s a complete success and the people believe in it. 84% believe in the war against illegal drugs, as some 100,000 surrenderees turned in themselves kasama iyong 52,000 na mga drug pushers or drug lords ano. And then you see crime dropping. The crime rate dropping last July, it dropped at 49% and I just have the… I just don’t have it in front of me, but I have new data from January to September. The crime dropped about 40%.

KAREN: And we are talking about petty crime that’s… I mean, interesting. Stealing, hold-up, o snatching, iyong ganoon.

SEC. ANDANAR: It has dropped and people feel safer. Now, that’s law and order that the President wants to fix. Kasi wala nga, we have a weak rule of law here in the Philippines and he wants to strengthen that. He is going against corrupt people. Number two, there is the peace and order and like what General Almonte mentioned earlier – peace and order, peace in the land, talk to the MILF, talk to the CPP-NPA-NDF and third is poverty alleviations. You have NEDA approving more than 380 billion pesos worth of projects; you have DAR Secretary Mariano giving away land, including the Hacienda Luisita. Maraming ginagawa ang ating gobyerno para masolusyunan itong tatlong malalaking plataporma na sang-ayon din sa naging programa ni dating Presidente Fidel V. Ramos.

KAREN: Alright. General, when it comes to the drug campaign, let’s start with that. Because this one, I mean, this has gotten global attention so to speak for his first 100 days. How would you describe the drug campaign?

ALMONTE: Well, let me put it this way. President Duterte has addressed the very basic problem of the nation. He could be… come out as a great President or the opposite if he fails. And the drug campaign while initially contribute as a “success” but it has the potential of the derailing the basic… the intent of the President to address the basic problem. So, what I am trying to say is: yes, the drug problem is a very difficult problem, we have to address it. But let us do it in a manner that the President is not derailed in his program addressing the basic issue—

KAREN: What is the manner for you that may derail it, what about issue?

ALMONTE: You cannot kill everyone.

KAREN: You can’t kill everyone.

ALMONTE: No. You cannot kill forever. There is another principle, okay. Now, in all countries in the world who have addressed… well, the latest was in Shinawatra in Thailand who addressed it this way, has not really succeeded. But, he succeeds “initially” in the… views advanced by Secretary Martin is correct. But, in terms of the long term, what is the impact of all of these, what is the meaning of all of these. Now, what I am saying is, since you cannot kill everyone, that even the United States super power can kill everybody, they are all enemies. So you had to realize this that killing is not the solution. But, it is a initial action that could, you know, shock and awe the problem that we would like to resolve. So solution – you where I think about to ask – maybe at a certain point, there has to be a transition where all those who are opposing this action of the President against drugs, extra judicial killing—of course, the human rights people in the world are objecting, the heads of states who are, you know, friends of the Philippines are objecting.

Now in the second phase, let us involve all of them for reeducation and the rehabilitation of all these. Then I will see how sincere they are.

KAREN: All right, that’s the long term solution. But Martin you were saying it’s successful in the first 100 days. But the manner, I mean you are talking about so far, there’s a recorded of close to 3,000 deaths, a mix of either some are from police operations, some are coming from summary executions or some from… I mean, they call it extrajudicial, but that’s debatable for some because it would mean a state sanction. In other words, you know, human rights violations, along with—with you know, wanting to eradicate drugs. So some say at what price will the President do this?

SEC. ANDANAR: A thousand 300 hundred people died because of this drug campaign. A thousand three hundred out of authorized police operation, the rest are under investigation already. Now, you know when you have 84% of the population believing and satisfied with the drug, that something else. The foreign media might say human rights, etc. They would strongly vilify the President… they would vilify the President, but the rest of the population believes in the President and mind you 81% – in the new survey. 81% said and believe that there is no discrimination in the war against illegal drugs. So ibig sabihin mayaman ka man o mahirap—

KAREN: Baka naman natatakot iyong sine-survey, hindi naman.

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi naman. 81% naniniwala na walang discrimination, mayaman ka man o mahirap huhulihin ka talaga. Tama po naman si Secretary Joe Almonte, you cannot kill everyone, shock and awe ito.

KAREN: We have a President that says I will slaughter them all, all the drug addicts, 3 million of them.

SEC. ANDANAR: This is an expression,

KAREN: Yeah, we gonna talk about that later ha. This expression.

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s rhetoric. But ang taumbayan natin naniniwala sa kung ano ang ginagawa ng Pangulo. Of course, there are those who want the status quo to go back, they want the old status quo and you know would rather go back to the past or just live right now. Filipinos are happy, they feel safer now.

KAREN: I think that is quite interesting. Before we leave the drug campaign, as what Martin pointed out. You know, you have a segment in society, I mean human rights advocates, you have the media – both foreign and local – that are alarmed and it looks some citizens would agree now that are alarmed at the method of the drug campaign. But Martin has a point, yet it has not resonate with the survey. You have 84% in effect are saying, you know what, we agree with your methods, we agree with what you are doing, that’s—why is that?

ALMONTE: Yeah, that is initially, it is only three months. Maybe even after another three months they would still agree. Why? Because it has a broke down the petty crimes that they suffered, they were suffering from the akyat-bahay, and many other things. In all of this stems from the drug influenced people.

KAREN: That was not solved in the last few administrations eh.

SEC. ANDANAR: And I was just with General Lapeña and he said that it has gone up to 4 million already.

KAREN: Now, don’t get me wrong. But if in Duterte’s first let’s say a year, deaths what will it be like 20,000. Do you think the numbers will still be that high or do you think will be a public outcry?

SEC. ANDANAR: To me Karen, it’s speculative. And now you have—did will notice that it has gone done actually; that the operation is still continuing but the number of deaths have gone down. It’s not like before na talagang sunud-sunod ‘no. But we must look at it from the other point of view: How many lived? 700,000 more, right, out of the 1,300 who engaged the policeman, and they were warned already from the very beginning.

KAREN: You believe they all engaged police officers?

SEC. ANDANAR: Of course.

KAREN: Do you really believe this?


KAREN: General, you don’t believe that?

ALMONTE: I don’t think we can use the number of deaths as a reference points in terms of the acceptance of the people. I think in this… this will recur in very certain survey. I think for so long as the people perceive that the ongoing style of drug… anti-drug campaign is beneficial to them, they are—they can walk in the streets, they can leave their house and nothing will happen, they will support it; but at the a certain point, well I am speculating now, at a certain point this is my fear, it might even cause the derailment of the most fundamental problem that the President has to issue, which is already… I say, is excellent because of my … he is addressing the street problem.

KAREN: Yeah, yeah.

ALMONTE: If he is not addressing this, he is failure to me.

KAREN: Okay. Number two, the communist peace talks… peace talks with the communist rebel groups. Now, clearly President Duterte, I have to admit, has taken in to a whole other level. You know by having members of the Left even join the Cabinet, no President has even done that. So that one you have say would be revolutionary on his end.

SEC. ANDANAR: That’s a master stroke.

KAREN: Yeah, master stroke. What about you, General?

ALMONTE: Well, I said he best in SX, I am rating him only—by the way, Karen, I have repeating and repeating just on three things, because all other issues have trivial to me. If you address these three things and we succeed, all of them will be very easy to solve.

KAREN: Yeah. Now, did President Duterte give more value to the communist rebel groups than they really had? I mean, some had asked me, you know, MILF already we are talking about 15,000 strong and then he had given so much attention to the communist rebel groups when people felt, you know, the cold war is over that, that’s over. What are your thoughts?

ALMONTE: Well, look this nation can never develop for so long as the nation is a permanent internal rift. (coverage cut) revolutionaries, they will continue to be supported by the people and the government will always be hobbled in terms of trying to develop the nation. Look, you construct a hydro-electric plant, what’s the news, it’s blown out, because of this rebels. It has to be addressed.

KAREN: All right, now poverty alleviation projects, you said in the last three months that he had done a lot. The irony is, I think given the President’s language, his rhetoric’s, there’s not enough focus in the press, that’s not being given attention.

SEC. ANDANAR: Not really.

KAREN: So what do you think in the first 100 days, what was… I mean, the most successful acts that he’s done in terms of poverty alleviation?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hundreds of thousands of hectares have been released by the Department of Agrarian Reform. You also have Secretary Dominguez fighting for a tax reform; you have NEDA approving more than 400 billion pesos of projects. You have the DOH increasing the benefits of—it’s across the board, Karen—

KAREN: So people are working. You are saying—

SEC. ANDANAR: People are working and people feel it because when they say 64% is satisfied with the general work of the President. So that’s across the board, it’s not just drugs, it includes poverty alleviation and peace and order.

KAREN: What about promises of the President during the campaign, let’s face it, like endo – ending the end of contracts system. People have said in the first 100 days you still have businesses doing endo, that means there was not much focus on that. What about you General?

ALMONTE: Well, they have to be realistic here. You know, we have endo because there is so much supply of labor. And business would like to maximize their revenues for that matter. So how we approach this? We have to do on both sectors. Because you cannot just removed endo and immobilized the business institution who needs—

KAREN: Oo. So you feel that—would you consider him a failure with the endo situation?

SEC. ANDANAR: The Department of Trade and Industry is doing its job to fix the endo problem and the DOLE also. And there are suggestions, for instance of opening other independent companies that will employ these endo employees or contractual employees and make them regular employees. Maraming mga ganoon eh. Like what General Almonte said, eh we have to be realistic, we also have to ensure the survival of business in our country and the fact that we are after also foreign direct investment. So kailangan maayos itong problema na ito.

KAREN: What about job creation. How do you think the President fared on job creation?

SEC. ANDANAR: The job creation would entail foreign direct investment. Now, it is the policy that the growth should be inclusive. Wala pa, it’s only a hundred days. You don’t expect all of the manufacturing companies to come in. But at least the basic foundations are laid, you have peace and order, you have law and order and when you have all of these two requirements laid, then you would have investors coming in.

KAREN: All right, were gonna continue with this conversation. Senator Antonio Trillanes is set to bring self-confessed hit man Edgar Matobato to Camp Crame this morning after an arrest warrant was issued against him. Anjo Bagaoisan joins us with the details (news report).

With Secretary Martin Andanar and General Jose Almonte. Your right you have a point when it comes to endo, job creation, a 100 days wouldn’t be enough and it’s laying the foundation, all right, with job creation. So the important thing is peace and order, what you are saying now. Now, in the last 100 days there’s also been a shift in… well it seems, foreign policy. I mean, this is—you know, many presidents have come and go, would have spent the next six years not changing anything. This is your talking about a 100 days, talks of this is your last military exercises, I warned you to the US. You have now the Foreign Affairs Secretary saying the US has failed us, this is a sound byte from yesterday. This already saying—you know, we gonna talk to China, etc. General, you have experience in this. How would you describe… I mean, President Duterte’s foreign policy?

ALMONTE: Well let me say this. There are two factors that could derail the President’s noble intend for the nation.

KAREN: It could derail.

ALMONTE: It could derail, yeah, jeopardize. One is the campaign against drug with the EJK. I am not saying it’s not good, it has to be done with vision. Number two, is our external relations. Kasi our external relation is an only as good as the internal situation. All right, let me just cut short, because I don’t want to explain what he said all about. But let me just say this: That the external relation with the Philippines must to be handled with really with caution, with vision and with great imagination. Because we are not an island. Of course we are friends with the United States for a long time, and the EU and others. But it does not mean that we cannot befriend China and Russia. We maintain this relation and then establish an even closer relation with China and Russia. And what I am saying is, okay let us be the best friend of Russia and China but let us not destroy our relation with the US and the EU. After all when you look at the world balance, in the next 100 years, despite the rising power of China, in the end the conflict between Russia and China… well I’m sorry to say this publicly but this is a result of analysis looking at the situation… well, the conditions in that part of the world, because China and Russia are—have the one of the lowest borders in the world so… and the population branch of China is 1.4 billion, Russia is 140 million and they have nine time zones.

KAREN: But moving, what you’re saying is in the end, it’s important to keep our relationship with the US?

ALMONTE: Yes, yes. The general principle is let us be friends with everybody.

KAREN: Yeah, Martin, you know, you have people already – Duterte supporters themselves – asking. What is it with President Duterte and the US? Is he angry at the US for something more— then we don’t know. Look, no one in the US is so actively engaging him into a word war; no one. They are not taking any steps for him to act this way. Where is this coming from?

SEC. ANDANAR: Well, it all started—let’s think… let’s ano… let me simplify it, okay? Number one, you have a Philippines that has a big problem with drugs, 4 million drug addicts, the context of it the Americans know. Number two, you have a population that supports the campaign against illegal drugs. Number three, the President already said that he came in midstream, he does not have the money to build all of these rehabilitation centers, and he needs the support. And you have an ally now condemning you; the United Nations, the State Department saying that extrajudicial killing, human rights, not even qualifying what they are saying. If you’re the President, I thought you were my friend.

KAREN: Yeah, but then the US ¬¬¬, you have to remember, just said, “We are concerned about the number of deaths.”

SEC. ANDANAR: But they can say we are concerned with the number of addicts you have. Here, we’ll help you with the drug rehabilitation if you don’t have money, but let us help you.

KAREN: But does the US do this to all countries? I mean, you understand me, Martin, parang—

SEC. ANDANAR: But we all know also the US has so much—

KAREN: But does it merit—

SEC. ANDANAR: … influence in media, in New York, and all of the rest of the world.

KAREN: But does it merit that response? I think that’s the question.

SEC. ANDANAR: Do we merit also such criticism?

KAREN: Okay. Sorry to argue with Martin.

ALMONTE: It really requires a very positive imagination. I agree with the argument of Sec. Andanar here, but let us widen our perspective. You know, if there are any world leaders who really attack Obama, or Obama would attack them, one of them is Saddam Hussein.

KAREN: Correct.

ALMONTE: The other one is Khadaffi. The other one is Kim Jong Un of North Korea. 
They kill each—really, Saddam Hussein was hanged. Khadaffi was shot in (unclear)

KAREN: Good?? perspective. In other words, this is not—

ALMONTE: Look, please take note—

KAREN: So what you’re saying, that’s genuine.

ALMONTE: Please take note: Have you heard any – what do you call that? – colorful words from these three people?

KAREN: Okay, that’s perspective.

ALMONTE: To me, this has been looked into because, I understand, your defense, and if I were the President, I’ll admire you for that. But in terms of the national interest, we have to look at this in the wider perspective in the longer term, because it’s true, as the President said, I wasn’t elected as presumed to be a statesman. I was elected as a president, but a successful president is a statesman.

KAREN: Oh! So this is your response to President Duterte.

ALMONTE: Yeah. So he has to understand—

KAREN: So what the President said, “I was (unclear) to be president, and not a diplomat.” That’s the statement, I think.

ALMONTE: “Not a statesman,” that’s what he said .

KAREN: Okay, okay. And you said a successful president is—

ALMONTE: Has to be a statesman, by definition. Because a statesman is a man of the state – a “state’s” man, man of the state. The state and the people and the country and the government. Now, if you detach yourself from that, who are you as president?

KAREN: Alright, this is getting to be exciting, interesting conversation here. Why don’t we take a quick break. Please stay with us. We have texters coming in. I’ll ask Sec. Maritn about this. Hot Copy will be right back.

Alright , still with us, Hot Copy, during the break, I mean a very engaged conversation here with Communications Martin Andanar and former National Security Adviser Jose Almonte, because just for the record, as you all know, before Martin became secretary, he was once our colleague, so at some point, there’s a level of, I think, comfort, except you’re on the other side right now.

Now, look at this. Leo Alejandrino, this is quite interesting, your comment, “The success and failure of the first 100 days is in communication. Do you think communications failed, whether it’s the President or your team or you?

SEC. ANDANAR: The people are expecting, especially those who are in this business of communication, that we follow the playbook of the communications or the public relations arena. We have that. But the President is a maverick, he works outside of the box—

KAREN: That’s clear—

SEC. ANDANAR: That’s clear. So therefore, therefore—hindi, we had to adjust everything according to, and it now, it’s becoming clear that really until in the end of his six years, the President will be the chief architect of his communication policy.

KAREN: Now, Secretary, tell me the truth. Is there anyone the President listens to—I mean iyong totoo.

SEC. ANDANAR: (Unclear)

KAREN: Can any of you tell him, “Sir, sobra na iyon, tama na—

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, yeah. No, the President listens to his senior Cabinet members, ministers—

KAREN: Really?

SEC. ANDANAR: Or secretaries. He listens to me—

KAREN: Okay.

SEC. ANDANAR: Even if I’m a junior Cabinet member—

KAREN: What have you told him, I’m curious. He said, “Talaga Martin?’ (unclear)

SEC. ANDANAR: (laughs). Actually, whatever the President does, he’s the chief architect for that, and we can only advise—

KAREN: Okay.

SEC. ANDANAR: And once he does it, of course, from our end , okay ka na, (overlapping voices)

KAREN: No, I’m curious. So, if it’s a rhetoric of moving because… if it’s a rhetoric of… “You know, Obama, go to hell,” can any of you say to the President, “Sir, you’ve made your point, can we stop this already, or no?”

SEC. ANDANAR: The President goes off the cuff.

KAREN: Okay. So, no? The answer is no.

SEC. ANDANAR: You cannot.

KAREN: He can?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s difficult to telegraph the punches of the President. At the end of the day, at the end of an event, he will always have something new.

KAREN: Yeah. Do you worry? Is this a cause for worry? I mean, I’m sure you prepare speeches for him or talking points?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s been 90 days Karen, and we are very flexible with whatever the President says.

KAREN: Okay. Coming from Secretary Martin, you know, off the cuff—

SEC. ANDANAR: (laughs).

KAREN: Maverick. After an event, you don’t know what he’s gonna say, you’re in shock. Where can this take the President frankly? I mean coming from that comment of the success is in communications and the failure?

ALMONTE: (laughs). Alright, as Martin said, the President is out of the box. Now, I think to be effective in communication, let us look at the community that we are communicating with.

KAREN: Is there still such a thing? Isn’t everything global today?

ALMONTE: Yes, everything is global.

KAREN: Okay, okay—

ALMONTE: It’s more the world. It’s more interdependent than… at any other time. Alright, who are our publics here? Or the publics of the President? President Obama is one of that. The heads of states of EU is another one, etc. Now, let us look at who they are. You know, States is a super power. How did they reach that? It’s because they know how to manage human nature. If it is to extend, then extend and go to war. If it’s like (unclear), when they are… they know each other that at a certain point, they have to settle the number one spot: who will ultimately occupy that? But for the moment, they are both very practical . Where possible, they cooperate; where it is necessary they compete, And when it has become very difficult, the competition, they pause, and then they talk. But they do not make cuss words, you know.

KAREN: Okay, so no cuss words. Should the President stop—

ALMONTE: No, because—

KAREN: Okay, should the President’s stop—

ALMONTE: You know, you can communicate—

KAREN: Yeah, a strong point—

ALMONTE: You can communicate your, you know, your anger, your rant, etc. in beautiful language, you know.

KAREN: I like that—

ALMONTE: (laughs).

KAREN: You can communicate your anger in beautiful language.

ALMONTE: Yeah, this is somebody, I love you, but I hate you, you know,

KAREN: Now, Secretary—

ALMONTE: I think you’re the expert on that.

KAREN: Secretary, should he stop the expletives, frankly? I mean—

ALMONTE: Frankly? Oh look, I would like to give him credit, you know.

KAREN: Because I’ll ask you, Secretary—

ALMONTE: Yeah, yeah—I don’t know about…. maybe I’m talking too much outside the box.

KAREN: The cussing, the cursing that his critics—

ALMONTE: Yeah, maybe I’m talking too much. How do we know if President Duterte has his own strategy?

KAREN: Yeah, yeah.

ALMONTE: This is only a phase of his strategy, which is all of us do not understand. How do we know that?

KAREN: If President Duterte were watching you right now, he’s gonna love you for that—


KAREN: I don’t know if it’s strategy. It’s just it.

ALMONTE: Well, look. I’ll give you an example. Before the election, and the day after, I was concerned the way he she was treating her vice-president, si Leni—

KAREN: Oo, oo, but then look at how she was welcomed?

ALMONTE: You know, when she went to Malacañang, he kissed her hand, you know? Very delicious, you know.

KAREN: I know what you mean. You were saying you don’t really know what his thinking.

ALMONTE: Ya. I am giving him that, you know, that concession. I do not know if it is true. If it’s not true, then it is bad for all of us, bad for him.

KAREN: Okay. But the cursing you advised him, it should stop?

ALMONTE: Well it should—not stopped, he should transition it to a better language.

KAREN: Alright. You said something interesting a while ago before we move on is, I talked about the US ignoring President Duterte’s comments. And you said, in a way is the US doing this intentionally to prepare for something more?

ALMONTE: Well, it’s more than that the fact. You know in terms of conflict, I think the expert here is Sun Tzu where you conquer… you conquer your enemy without fighting.

KAREN: Conquer your enemy without fighting?

ALMONTE: Without firing a shot. That is what they are doing in the South China Sea. They are just using sand, water and patience, they occupy all the islands. And now this are militarized, they have not fired any one shot and let me tell you the scandal – I have not heard any outrage in the world against that, so one day they will just control the South China Sea. That is why I am so concerned with how President Duterte is handling this. But still, I’m giving him time, maybe he has a better strategy than what I’m thinking. So I’m silent. I don’t want to, let’s say, expound it further.

SEC. ANDANAR: There is a reason for every statement that the President says or off the cuff statement. It’s not just ano, iyong talagang, it blurts out, out of nowhere.

KAREN: Blurts out?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s not, it’s not. Really it’s not. Has the President even vilified a country? It’s just the personalities running the countries or random running an embassy. Hindi naman iyong—it’s not the institution. So, right now, after 100 days, I know for a fact that the President wants to be five steps ahead of all of us in the Cabinet.

KAREN: I’m curious, Martin. You are there up close with him. Does he have some feelings of honestly genuine remorse? For example the Hitler comment, the Hitler comment. I mean, making a positive reference to Hitler. Clearly I’m sure he didn’t expect that you have Jewish communities that would be hurt, that very day. Shimon Perez was buried that very day. So… then he apologized to the Jewish community right, to the Jewish people?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yes. It was completely taken out of context, again of what he said during the arrival from Vietnam. Because people—some of political quarters of this country are comparing him to Hitler. Sabi niya doon sa Synagogue, my wife is Jewish, Zimmerman. How can he possibly say that against the Jewish community? Talagang, kasi 3 million, 3 million nagkagulo-gulo na iyong words, then suddenly sasabihin na iyon na.

KAREN: Okay, no, no, no. But I saw that quote, Martin, he really said, if Hitler, if Germany had Hitler.

SEC. ANDANAR: If Germany had Hitler.

KAREN: He says he killed 6 million Jews, we have 3 million addicts, I’ll slaughter the addicts.

SEC. ANDANAR: The addicts. Kasi nga—these are two different things. Hitler killed innocent civilians, Jewish people; the President is ready to kill criminals. Two different things.

KAREN: Point is, I don’t wanna harp on this. But then I get your point. In a way, did he learn anything from that experience?

SEC. ANDANAR: I’m sure he has, he would not go to the Jewish Synagogue and say sorry. If he’d learned… and this is a character of a true leader, you can say sorry.

KAREN: Now, I wanna ask this—you want to respond?

ALMONTE: Well, I don’t want your listener to think that I am like Vichy. (laughs)

KAREN: Go on, say something, are you gonna make a—

ALMONTE: Well, look you are talking about the—

KAREN: Are you going to posit a reference of Hitler too?


KAREN: Oh my God.

ALMONTE: You know the President has been making comments about Syria, about Iraq, this one about Holocaust, etc. I sense is this: The situation, ever moment that develops in this parts of the world is really a result of a convergence of historical antecedents before that. That is why heads of states are given a thorough briefing on the culture, on the economy, on the psyche of all of these. So than when he makes a conclusion, a comment on all of them, it is appreciated by… by even you enemies. You will be respected even by your enemies. But if we say, Oh President Duterte even apologized, that’s correct and I appreciate that. So I can also say by extension, did he do this deliberately so that he can apologize, it’s sure he can be more cruiser (overlapping)

KAREN: Did he do this deliberately so he can apologize to the concern?

ALMONTE: Yeah, because that is the reasoning, so I am just extending it. That is why I don’t want to say this, because they might think I am—

KAREN: This I gonna ask Martin, being a former colleague. I mean, I just wanted to ask you, you just said again, the media took him… he was taken out of context and I wanna ask you, Martin. How long is this gonna go where the media will be blamed for taking him out of context? I mean, you have Secretary Abella saying use your creative imagination with the President’s language. You know the media is not in the business of imagining. Is it hard?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s a tough job, but somebody is gonna do it. And the fact remains that we have a President who knows what he is doing and who loves the people. He is only after the welfare of Filipinos and we have a President whose heart is in the right place. With so much political will, we have a President that could be the greatest President of this land.

KAREN: He could.

SEC. ANDANAR: He could… if he can only make peace… law and order, peace in the land and poverty alleviation successful during his six year term.

KAREN: Last words.

ALMONTE: Well, as I said, I will—let me put it this way, President Duterte can be a great President if he can address these three basic problems of the nation. But it’s only 100 days. So all we can do now is find out where he is leading us to and I could see the way he is addressing these three areas, he is leading [us] in to right direction. But there are pitfalls along the way there who can derail this and we have discussed it earlier.

KAREN: All right on that note, thank you so much General Almonte, Secretary Martin Andanar.

SOURCE: NIB (News and Information Bureau)