Press Briefing

Mindanao Hour Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, Deputy Administrator for Administration of the Office of Civil Defense

Event Mindanao Hour Briefing
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

OPENING STATEMENTS:

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. We’d like now to refer to Asec. Toby Purisima.

ASEC. PURISIMA: Good morning. Thank you sir. Good morning, sir. Good morning to the Malacañang Press Corps. Here are the updates from your Task Force Bangon Marawi.

On business and livelihood, the Department of Trade and Industry continues to provide trainings tools and raw materials for our IDPs.

Recently, 40 IDPs in Balulang, Cagayan de Oro received sets of sewing materials and were also trained on dressmaking, through the assistance of Skills Mastery Institute.

Almost 40 kilograms of garments were handed over to our IDPS to be used for clothing production.

The first batch of garments produced by our IDPs generated a total sales of P71,185 from August 15 to September 10.

Most products were displayed at Robinsons Iligan pasalubong center and at the Kahimunan regional trade fair in Cagayan de Oro City.

The second batch of clothes starter kits provided by the DTI was handed over to DTI-ARMM, provincial training livelihood and development center and our national emergency operations center.

Around 90 kilograms of garments amounting to P15,000 were given to 42 women who were trained in clothing production. Additional sewing machines were also delivered to our IDPs last week.

Exhibits and display of IDPs products continues. Maranao products such as baul, glasswares, malongs, jewelries, and accessories were displayed at the Bangon Marawi product store at the DTI main building.

Display and selling of products will last until December 29. Proceeds from the showroom shall be given to our IDPs from Marawi and Iligan City.

The fourth series of moral recovery and psychosocial intervention program was conducted in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur in participation with the Marawi Sultanate League, ulamas, and the Mindanao State University.

One of the highlights of the event was a lecture from one of the ulamas which focused on patience in times of affliction.

Likewise, the Department of Health continues to provide health interventions to the IDPs, such as water, sanitation, and hygiene services which we call as “WASH”, as well as psychosocial interventions like counseling and art and play therapy.

A total of 90,867 medical consultations and 320, 800 nutrition services were provided to our IDPs, both home-based and in evacuation centers.

Government and non-government sectors continue to support our IDPs through relief distribution.

The Office of Civil Defense-ARMM handed over sacks of assorted food packs and clothing in evacuation centers in Iligan City to augment the relief supplies of OCD Region 12.

On September 28, the Junior Chamber International Philippines and Junior Chamber International Iligan distributed fun kits, hygiene kits, slippers, snacks — and snacks for our children IDPs in Iligan City.

On peace and order, the Philippine National Police continues to set up posts near evacuation centers to increase police visibility.

Policewomen trained in counter-violent extremism have been deployed in selected evacuation centers for monitoring and patrolling.

The culmination of the National Peace Consciousness Month was held in Iligan yesterday, October 1.

The highlight of the activity was the ringing of the peace agong by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process or OPAPP. At the same time, OPAPP’s “Peace Buzz” has reached Iligan City.

The Peace Buzz left Quezon City on September 22 and from there, it visited several cities nationwide to promote the culture of peace through on the ground outreach to the public.

This includes Baguio City, Legazpi City, Catbalogan City, Butuan City, and Cotabato City.

Lastly, on housing and construction, construction of our transitional shelters continues.

HUDCC targets the installment or installation of water system at the transitional shelter site by December of this year.

In line with this and in connection with this, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Land Registration Authority will conduct a survey of the entire city of Marawi.

That’s all for my updates. Good morning.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: On the Mindanao… Other items.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good morning, sir. Hindi po natapos ‘yung inaasahan nating pagwawakas ng Marawi crisis nung September 30. Ano po ‘yung epekto nito sa ating mga IDPs po? At ano po ‘yung iba pang paraan para maipaliwanag sa kanila, maliban po sa mga binanggit niyo? Ano pa po ‘yung ibang mga paraan na nakikita niyong pwedeng makapagpalubag ng kanilang loob dahil magtatagal sila doon sa mga evacuation centers?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Una, patuloy ang ibibigay nating relief services sa ating mga IDPs. Hindi naman ‘yan titigil. We’re prepared to stretch our resources and to augment our resources as needed.

So pagdating sa amin sa Task Force at maski sa National Emergency Operations Center na may cluster system ng agencies ng gobyerno, patuloy ang ating pagbigay ng ating relief services sa ating mga IDPs.

Hindi tayo titigil kahit tumagal pa o malapit ng matapos ang kaguluhan sa Marawi ‘no. Hindi natin ito tinitingnan basta patuloy ang ating focus sa ating mga IDPs.

At nakita niyo naman, itinutuloy lang natin ang paggawa ng ating mga transitional shelters ke matapos na o hindi pa tapos ang laban sa Marawi ‘no.

At patuloy natin bibigyan ng updates ang ating mga IDPs. At patuloy ang ating various forms of support sa kanila.

Maricel Halili (TV-5): Hi, sir. Good morning. Just a quick follow up. Sir, kailan po ba ‘yung estimate natin? Hanggang kailan mag-stay ‘yung mga evacuees sa mga evacuation center before sila malipat?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Pagdating diyan, basta may matapos ng significant number of transitional shelters, ita-transfer na natin sila palabas ng evacuation centers papunta doon sa transitional shelter site.

Sa ngayon, meron tayong 14 hectares na nakalaan na transitional shelter site at maaari pa ‘tong lumaki ‘no. At ang initial estimate na matatayo nating transitional shelters ay 1,100 transitional shelters.

Ngunit, recently na-increase na ito sa 1,500. So once matapos ang portion nitong transitional shelters, by areas kasi ‘yung transitional shelter site. Basta’t may matapos ng area, doon na natin — papupuntahin na natin doon ang ating mga IDPs.

Ms. Halili: And kailan po natin inaasahan na matatapos at least ‘yung first portion nung transitional shelters?

ASEC. PURISIMA: We will check on that kasi sa ngayon, patuloy ang pagtatayo ng transitional shelters at patuloy ‘yung curing nung flooring ng ating mga transitional shelters.

Kasi semento ‘yung ginawa nating flooring para dito sa transitional shelters, hindi lamang ordinaryong flooring, ngunit cement flooring ito kaya kailangan ng curing.

At naka-on target ang ating NHA, ang ating HUDCC regarding doon. Tulad ng nasabi ko previously, September 8 ‘yung target nilang magsimula at nasimulan naman ‘yun ng September 8.

And we will get additional updates from our housing sub-committee.

Ms. Halili: Is it possible, sir, before Christmas matapos ‘yung first portion?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Oh yes, definitely, definitely.

Jopel Pelenio (DWIZ): Sir, regarding po doon sa dami nung mga transitional shelter, 1,500 po ‘yung target natin ngayon. So gaano po karami, sir, ‘yung mga IDPs natin na nangangailangan po ng transitional shelters?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Base sa initial na data na nakuha natin ‘no, na nakalap natin, around 1,500 to 2,000 families have signified their desire to avail of transitional shelters.

So isang transitional shelters, isang pamilya. 22 square meter ito na shelter ‘no.

Kaya’t naghahanap pa tayo ng additional shelter sites para doon sa additional na 500.

Ngunit kung meron pang dagdag na magsi-signify na gusto nila ng transitional shelters, ay ia-accommodate natin ito at ia-adjust natin ang ating mga plano at ang ating construction para mabigyan natin sila ng transitional shelters.

Mr. Pelenio: Sir, itong transitional shelters po na ito, permanent na po na dito titira ‘yung mga IDPs?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Hindi pa. Depende kasi hindi pa natin alam kung… Kasi wala pang PCNA. Hindi pa tayo nakakapasok sa ground zero or doon sa main battle area na tinatawag ngayon.

Maski hindi pa natin alam kung ano ‘yung sitwasyon talaga doon sa area, kung gaano…

Kasi kasama ito sa pagpapaplano natin ng permanent shelters. Tandaan natin, ito transitional shelters lang. Magtatayo rin tayo ng permanent shelter.

At nabanggit ko rin dati na pwede tayong magtayo ng condo-type buildings sa Marawi City to accommodate local government employees and other employees who want to avail of that type of housing ‘no.

So lahat ito naka-base sa PCNA na gagawin natin. At tayo ay handa ng gumawa ng PCNA. In fact, meron na tayong — may aspeto kasi ng post-conflict needs assessment na tinatawag natin ‘yung human recovery needs assessment.

Itong human recovery needs assessment nagawa na natin ito as early as August, mid-August. At meron na tayong datos ‘no.

Ang inaantay na lang natin, papunta sa ating PCNA ay ‘yung tinatawag nating DALA, damage assessment and losses assessment ‘no, so damage and loss assessment.

So ito nangangailangan ‘to na pumunta mismo tayo doon sa area para makita natin ‘yung actual damage, at base doon gagawa tayo ng rehab and recovery program. ‘Yun ang major output ng ating PCNA at ng Task Force.

At base dito sa RRP, ‘yung rehabilitation and recovery program for Marawi City, dito natin malalaman ilan bang permanent shelters ang kailangan nating gawin, o ilan bang condo type units, buildings ang kayang ma-accommodate sa Marawi City.

So lahat ‘yan nakadepende pa rin doon sa gagawin nating assessment.

Mr. Pelenio: Sir, regarding po sa health — na nagpapatuloy ngayon na ibinibigay sa mga IDPs. Ano-ano po, sir, ‘yung mostly na sakit na inilalapit ng mga IDPs?

ASEC. PURISIMA: I think ‘yung mga normal na sakit na nararanasan nila ‘no. Ang pagkakaintindi natin, ‘yung ubo at sipon at siyempre, baka may lagnat din diyan dahil sa kondisyon on the ground.

Of course, we’re attending to these conditions. Nandoon ang ating DOH at nandoon ang ating private medical practitioners. At pinapasalamatan natin sila dahil patuloy ang kanilang pagbibigay serbisyo ng libre, ng walang bayad, para sa ating mga IDPs.

So nakikita natin dito ‘yung konsepto natin ng bayanihan ‘no. So basta may iniindang sakit o karamdaman ang ating mga IDPs, ibinibigay natin ito sa kanila.

Of course, noong simula meron ditong mga pre-existing conditions na ‘to na ke nangyari man ‘yung siege o hindi meron ng pre-existing condition ang ating ibang mga IDPs. Ngunit pati ‘yon ina-address din natin.

Mr. Pelenio: So may mga happenings ba ng mga nagkakasakit ng dengue o ‘yung mga medyo malala na case?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Wala akong datos niyan ngayon. Ngunit iche-check natin. Lahat naman ito nare-report ‘no. Ang importante diyan, kung meron man sinisigurado kong naa-address natin ’yan.

Cedric Castillo (GMA): Good morning, sir. Sir, balikan ko ‘yung housing po. Paano, sir, ‘yung mga structures, mga bahay na habitable pa rin pero kakailanganin ng major repair or even minor repair, retrofitting. May funding ba na makukuha diyan ‘yung may-ari nung bahay, sir?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Isa ‘yan sa pinag-aaralan ng ating Task Force ‘no, ‘yung reparations na kung tinatawag. ‘Yung extent na mabibigyan natin sila ng ayuda sa pagpapatayo o pagre-repair sa kanilang mga bahay ‘no, nasirang structures.

So lahat ‘yan, wala pang final decision diyan. Ngunit, napapag-usapan ‘yan ngayon sa Task Force at inclusive naman ang ating mga consultation with our local government officials and with our IDPs.

Siyempre, naiintindihan natin na gusto ‘yan ng ating mga IDPs. Ngunit, naka-depende pa rin ito sa assessment, sa general assessment na kailangan nating gawin para komprehensibo at patas ‘yung ating pagtrato going forward with the rehabilitation. Ngunit isa ‘yan sa ikinokonsidera ng ating Task Force.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right. On the first mass in Marawi:

Yesterday, October 1, Saint Mary’s Cathedral held its first Mass in Marawi since the start of the rebellion last May.

Saint Mary’s Cathedral had been damaged during the siege of the city; and the terrorist group posted propaganda video of their desecration of the cathedral’s religious images.

The Cathedral was retaken by government troops after 95 days of fighting and yesterday’s celebration of the Mass was a welcome development in the push to totally liberate Marawi from extremists, and restore normalcy to the lives of its residents.

We call on all Filipinos to pray for our soldiers, displaced residents; and that we might continue to respect and live with each other peacefully.

On the American Chamber support for the tax reform program:

We hope, as we believe the American Chamber and other business groups, will also agree that the final tax reform bill to be approved by Congress will deliver all revenues needed to fund the President’s agenda for ambitious investments in both our fiscal capital and our human capital.

Without these revenues, we would have to incur even more debt to finance our economic growth agenda, thereby endangering our investment grade rating, raising our borrowing cost and limiting our access to financial markets.

We therefore hope that the Congress, especially the Senate, realizes these consequences from any wrong decisions that they may make.

On the fresh NPA attacks:

The New People’s Army, NPA attacks in Sarangani, South Cotabato, Surigao del Sur, Palawan and Masbate fuels the public’s doubt about the talks with the group.

The communist rebels disarmed officials involved in the counterinsurgency program in Sarangani and South Cotabato. They abducted a tribe leader and a CAFGU member in Surigao del Sur and ambushed a military convoy in Palawan killing — and also killed a policeman in Masbate.

These force… The government will undertake appropriate steps to deal decisively with these forces that seem to have lost their sense of nation-building.

On the call for the ouster of the Philippines from the UN Human Rights Council:

We respect the rights of all, including the extremely critical, to freely express their opinion of the government.

However, self-styled watchdogs of the Philippines’ human rights performance need to balance their call with legitimate organizations like the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC), which recognizes the work the Philippines does, given and despite its challenges.

The UN body’s unanimous adoption of its report on its review of the Philippines last month, highlighted the Philippines’ clarification of issues brought against it by local interest groups; as well as the Philippine government’s own recommendations on how the UNHRC can further strengthen its review processes in succeeding cycles.

Having said that, the Philippines, as an active member of the UNHRC and respects this body’s integrity, and will call out attempts to use it seemingly to advance certain interests and political agenda.

We’re open to a few questions.

Ms. Halili: Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, just a few clarification about the speech of the President last Saturday, when he mentioned that the President is challenging Chief Justice Sereno and Ombudsman Conchito — ah Conchita Morales to submit their resignation with the President. Is the President serious about the issue on resignation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it’s his prerogative to make that call. The President believes the Supreme Court Justice and the Ombudsman have allowed themselves to be used by certain political forces to discredit him and his administration in order to spark public outrage and eventually oust him from the Presidency.

In other words, he finds them suspect. And it is his prerogative to ask them to resign.

Ms. Halili: But on the part of the President, why is he willing to resign if he’s not guilty of the accusations?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, that is… That is his manner of approaching the situation.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.

Sir, sorry. Naalala ko. ‘Yung sinabi ni Presidente that he is not willing to submit himself to the investigation of the Ombudsman. How will this affect — I mean, the institution? Hindi po ba ito magli-lead into kind of crisis given that part of the mandate of the Ombudsman is to investigate government officials?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, all the President has basically said is that he will not submit to the — in other words, he finds them — he finds their position suspect.

Okay. So… So that is where he is coming from. And again, the… He himself has also concurrent authority regarding the matter, so it’s… I don’t… It doesn’t seem like it will affect anything, except that he just makes clear his position regarding the matter.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): Usec, if I remember right, last week, you issued a statement stating that the President respects the independence of the Ombudsman as well as its functions — its fact-finding functions.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.

Mr. Romero: How do you reconcile that with the President’s refusal to be under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman’s probe?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Apparently, he sees that, you know… He sees that, for example, that there may be… That the office may be… May have — may be encouraging a —certain efforts.

Say for example, like the fishing expedition by — by the Senate. In other words, he finds them — at this stage — after having said that, he finds the — he finds their position suspect.

Mr. Romero: Does he still respect the independence of the institution?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He respects the institution, however, the practices of certain people, there may be suspect.

Mr. Romero: Okay. Another question. Regarding his labeling of Chief Justice Sereno as “corrupt,” does he have an evidence to back this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure he does. He’s a lawyer. He knows he must speak out of substantial evidence.

Mr. Romero: Okay. Isn’t this trial by publicity, considering that he himself compared himself to Chief Justice Corona who was then, allegedly, a victim of trial by publicity according to Corona’s supporters?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So your question is?

Mr. Romero: Isn’t this trial by publicity because he has not released the evidence and he is labeling the Chief Justice as “corrupt”?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, he sees himself as being… He’s being… he’s… When you say “trial by publicity,” are you saying that he’s creating a trial by publicity?

Mr. Romero: Because he called the Chief Justice “corrupt”.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: So?

Mr. Romero: So does that… Is that… Do you think it’s trial by publicity?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No.

Mr. Romero: Because he has not released evidence to back it yet.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, no. I think you make — that’s a huge jump that you’re making. He’s simply stating his opinion about the matter.

So it’s not trying to create trial by publicity. If that is the result, people are interested, yes.

Mr. Romero: And he has evidence to back that claim?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He’s a lawyer, he should do that.

Mr. Romero: Okay.

Llanesca Panti (Manila Times): Good morning po, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Panti: The President has accused the Ombudsman of corruption and that he even admitted to bribing Ombudsman investigators. Is he calling for the impeachment of the Ombudsman? Because under the Constitution, the recourse for corrupt impeachable officials is through impeachment.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, at this stage, you know — he has — he has the capacity to also do that. He may have the capacity… He has the capacity to do that.

While the Ombudsman retains the power to discipline, the President also has concurrent authority. So if… If necessary, he may… If necessary, it’s a — an alternative that can be done by the President.

Ms. Panti: Is he considering it, calling his — calling on — ?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: He has not yet made that statement, but he did say that he has made that position. In other words, there’s no formal move yet to do that. Although he has made that statement.

Ms. Panti: Sir, sorry po. The President also said that the Ombudsman’s office is laden with corrupt investigators. On the other hand, the government is also saying that the police — although there are policemen who are corrupt, not all of them are corrupt. So can we apply the same doctrine —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s in the doctrine.

Ms. Panti: — to the investigators of the Ombudsman?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Which is what?

Ms. Panti: Which is not all investigators of the Ombudsman — ?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That is to be assumed, you know. That is to be assumed that when labeling. But you know… But what the President is trying to say is this — the office is compromised.

It may not be entirely everybody, but the office, apparently, is compromised.

Ms. Panti: Sir, if… So even if the Office of the Ombudsman is compromised, the President will still respect its mandate to investigate?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The institution, of course. However, he may take the necessary actions against certain individuals, yes.

Ms. Novenario: Good morning, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, may… Sa speech po ni Presidente, may sinabi po siyang ‘yung dilawan or the Liberal Party po, hindi matanggap ‘yung kanilang pagkatalo sa election at inuugnay po niya ‘yung Ombudsman sa — at sa Korte Suprema ang mga tangkang destabilization against his administration. ‘Yun pong statement na ‘yun ni Presidente, pwede po bang i-interpret ‘yun as may tactical alliance ang LP, ang Ombudsman, at ang Supreme Court para po pabagsakin ‘yung kanyang administrasyon?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ewan ko po if you would… Maybe, in effect, that seems to be the implication.

Ms. Novenario: Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Good morning, sir. Sir, sa speech po ng Pangulo, nabanggit niya po. Ito po ‘yung kanyang quote: “I will ask for the records and I will have analyzed, and I will talk to the policemen, I will talk to the generals, and I will talk to the people who were unjustly convicted. And I will encourage them to file a case. And when the time comes, if we cannot agree with each other, then let us decide to submit it to the Armed Forces kasi magkakagulo tayo.” Sir, ano po ‘yung ibig sabihin ng Pangulo dito na “let the Armed Forces decide?”

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s… It’s a very strong statement saying that at the end of the day, certain — everybody needs to cooperate.

All agencies considered must — needs to cooperate because otherwise, firm decisions have to — it may have to result in firm decisions. As to what, I cannot say.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, reaction lang po ng Palace. Because the intent of the President to create a commission to investigate the Ombudsman, sir, is being questioned by some critics and I think even Senator — Senate President Koko Pimentel says — I think he said the President cannot do that, sir. Your reaction lang please po on the legality of it, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, as has been pointed out, the principal stated in the Supreme Court decision dated 28 January 2014 with GR Numbers 196231 and 196232, Wendell Barreras — Barreras-Sulit vs Paquito Ochoa et al and Emilio Gonzales III vs Office of the President, respectively, where the court clearly stated that while the Ombudsman — Office of the Ombudsman retains the power to discipline, their duty — to discipline their deputy, OMB and special prosecutor — the President also has concurrent authority to also to exercise discipline. Disciplinary action.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, technically, it will be a fact-finding body? Kasi po ‘yun din ‘yung suggestion ni Senator — Senate President Pimentel eh.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay.

Mr. Castillo: So it will be a fact-finding body, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it may have to cooperate in this particular case. However, if you’re asking about the legality of it, the President has legal grounds to do as he has said.

But however… However it unfolds, let us follow the way they proposed.

Mr. Castillo: The end goal, sir, is to submit it to Congress, tama po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. And to let Congress to make decision.

Mr. Castillo: All right. Thank you, sir.

Mr. Pelenio: Sir, a while ago, sinabi niyo, sir, na President has evidence nung banggitin niya po na corrupt si CJ Sereno. Sir, willing po ba si President na ilabas ito sa public or kailan po kaya ito ilalabas?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: At the right time and as necessary.

Elija Rosales (Business Mirror): Good morning, Spokesman.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.

Mr. Rosales: During the interview with Mr. Tulfo, sinabi ng Pangulo na isinara ni Trillanes ‘yung bank account niya sa Singapore through online. However, according to the online account of the Development Bank of Singapore, hindi raw pwedeng magsara ng account online. Paano po kaya ito? Ano ba ito?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, you know, that’s also unverified. All of these things have to be verified clearly.

Mr. Rosales: What is unverified? The statement of the DBS or the statement of the President?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, both. The President claims that… The President claims that it was done that way.

So let’s — let’s make sure… And then there’s another party that says it’s not. So both — both aspects need to be verified.

Mr. Rosales: Okay, thank you.

Mr. Romero: Usec, the President mentioned that if they do not agree or they fail to reach an agreement, the military will be involved. Can you clarify that?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s something that needs to be more fully verified as to how exactly he meant by that.

Mr. Romero: Thank you, Usec.

Ms. Novenario: Hi, good morning uli, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, may nagpapatanong lang pong mga concerned health workers. Ano na raw po ‘yung nangyari sa kaso ng pagpatay dun sa tatlong doctor sa panahon ng Duterte administration? Dahil ang puna po nila, parang nakatuon lang po ‘yung atensyon ng gobyerno sa mga napapatay pong drug suspects.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, siguro ang nangyayari, nabibigyang tuon ng media ‘yung mga ganong kaso.

Pero I’m sure that the wheels of justice are moving. It may be slow, but the wheels of justice are moving exactly for those people.

Thank you, ma’am.

Ms. Coz: Sir, update lang po sa barangay and SK election postponement, kung meron na po bang development?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As of this stage, wala pa po.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, reaction please. May ni-launch na change.org petition for the President to sign the —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Change what?

Mr. Castillo: — change.org petition, sir, for the President to sign a waiver. I’m not sure kung when this was launched, pero it was launched, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay.

Mr. Castillo: What’s the Palace reaction?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The President… It will be the President’s prerogative to do what he needs — he feels he needs to do. Thank you.

Ms. Panti: Sir, clarification. About the Wendell Sulit case, ‘yung cinite (cite) niyo about being — members of the Office of the Ombudsman being disciplined by the President. Wendell Sulit kasi was dismissed under the Aquino administration. But she was reinstated by the CA po. And the CA ruling is that what happened to her — her dismissal, her firing is appare — is set side. It’s wrong, the CA said. She was reinstated. So how do we… Are we still going to use this jurisprudence as basis for disciplining the —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: This was merely… In other words, this was referred to simply because — to point out that there may be a basis for the President’s action. However, that needs to be verified, what you just stated.

Ms. Panti: Thank you, sir.

— END —

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