Press Briefing

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

Event Mindanao Hour Briefing
Location Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace

 

OPENING STATEMENTS:

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. To give us updates on the Marawi situation, we have Asec. Kristoffer James Purisima, Deputy Administrator for Administration of the Office of the Civil Defense.

Asec. Purisima…

ASEC. PURISIMA: Thank you. Thank you Spokesperson Abella.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps. Here are the updates from your Task Force Bangon Marawi.

A Bangon Marawi Youth Leadership Camp organized by the provincial government of Lanao del Sur, provincial DRRM office, project Ogop, AFP and PNP is being held in Mindanao State University, Marawi City.

Around 80 youth leaders from the evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Iligan City registered for the Youth Leadership Camp which focuses on environmental leadership, peace education, and community-building activities.

On relief assistance and cash for work program, the total assistance for the IDPs thus far amounts to P3.35 billion through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Relief assistance includes family food packs, kitchen kits, hygiene kits, sleeping kits, and drinking water kits distributed to our IDPs.

Various sectors continue to help the IDPs through relief operations and medical assistance.

Last Saturday, Caritas Internationalis, in coordination with the Iligan City Social Welfare and Development office, donated food packs, kitchen wear and hygiene kits to 3,000 families in affected areas.

The group was joined by Maranao medical students of MSU who provided medical assistance to our IDPs.

On housing, the National Housing Authority is set to propose for construction four low-rise buildings in Marawi City with 60 condo-type units per building.

It will be constructed at the same time as the permanent shelters and this housing option aims to assist Marawi City Hall employees, teachers, and other employees and will be offered at an affordable price.

During the housing sub-committee meeting last September 21 in Iligan City, Task Force Bangon Marawi Executive Director Undersecretary Cesar Yano provided the directive to expedite the completion of the transitional shelter site.

On post-conflict needs assessment, the PCNA is ongoing in the outlying areas of Marawi City and other affected localities.

Field work findings for the human recovery needs assessment or HRNA have been consolidated.

Initial analysis and recommendations on strategic interventions and policies were part of the report presented to the Task Force.

During the human recovery needs assessment, assessment teams gathered the following data: demographic profile of the IDPs; their viewpoints on disaster preparedness, response, and emergency situations; experiences on relief and early recovery interventions by the government and other community stakeholders; recommendations on housing construction; and recommendations on employment and livelihood.

Members of the community who were interviewed were mostly the head of the family, women, and children.

A damage and losses assessment or what we call DALA as part of the PCNA will proceed once the AFP has declared the areas in Marawi City cleared.

Those are the updates I have for you. Thank you.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi, good afternoon. Good morning, sir. Last week po during the weekend, may ibinulgar po si Presidente na Lanao del Sur drug matrix na may — nagpopondo raw po ng Maute terrorism ‘yung mga drug lords. Doon po ba sa Task Force Bangon Marawi, bahagi po ba ‘yung — magiging bahagi po ba ng pagbabangon ‘yung anti-drug campaign sa mga IDPs pagbalik po nila sa komunidad? O habang naroon po ba sila sa evacuation center ay nagkakaroon po tayo ng anti-drug awareness po sa mga IDPs?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Yes, kasama ‘yan ‘no. In fact, because ang tasking naman ng — ang mandato ng Task Force Bangon Marawi ay hindi lamang to rebuild the community or the buildings, but to rebuild the lives of the IDPs and their families ‘no.

So this is really a rebuilding of communities. And therefore, kasama diyan ‘yung human aspect at kung…

Kasama naman ‘yan sa human recovery needs assessment. Kung meron tayong assessment na kailangan natin patatagin ng ating anti-drug campaign doon sa area, gagawin natin ‘yun.

Meron ding peace and order sub-committee ang Task Force Bangon Marawi na in charge din sa pagtitingin sa security situation at kasama ‘yan siyempre sa kailangan nating tingnan.

So kukuha tayo ng information on the ground, kung ito ba’y laganap. Siyempre iba ‘yung financing aspect dahil ‘yan hindi ‘yan covered sa Task Force ‘no.

But pagdating sa epekto ng illegal drugs sa area, ‘yan rin ay tatalakayin ng Task Force dahil comprehensive naman ang rehabilitation and recovery na gagawin natin sa Marawi.

Ms. Novenario: Thank you.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Sir, tungkol doon sa pinopropose na residential building. Saan po itatayo ito, sir? And how much kaya per unit?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Well, itatayo ito within Marawi City ‘no for that… Although, ito pa ay nasa broad stages pa lang. Hindi pa talaga ‘to definite in terms of the specifications. Pero very affordable.

Ang intindi natin, if I’m not mistaken, ang tinitingnan na amount is around 1,000 per month, peso. Hindi ito magiging libre, as I understand it, hindi natin ito kayang ibigay na libre sa ating mga employees, particularly ng Marawi City. Pero titingnan natin ‘yung pinaka-affordable price.

Ito ngayon ang… Siyempre marami tayong options na tinitingnan ‘no and it’s still very early. Pero isasabay ‘to sa pagtatayo ng ating permanent shelters.

Ms. Gutierrez: Bakit, sir… Nagtataka lang po ako, why not instead of ‘yung mga standalone na units, buildings na po ang pinaguusapan natin dito, sir?

ASEC. PURISIMA: Kasi depende ‘yan. Kasi, again, number one, hindi pa tayo nakakapasok talaga doon sa ground zero. Wala pa talagang comprehensive assessment doon. Dahil meron tayong methodology for the post-conflict needs assessment.

‘Pag nakita natin na kayang patayuan ng mga standalone structures, this will adjust accordingly. At kung kaya nang patayuan ng permanent shelters na hindi buildings or permanents structures na hindi buildings, siyempre ganun lang gagawin natin dahil ito ‘yung initial na plan to fast track the recovery of the area.

Dahil kaya naman natin mag-adjust as we go along. Depende rin talaga ito sa post-conflict needs assessment.

Ms. Gutierrez: Thank you, sir.

Llanesca Panti (Manila Times): Good morning, sir. In relation din po sa Marawi conflict, there are reports, previous reports that it is funded by ISIS and then now the President says drug money funded it. So which is which or both?

ASEC. PURISIMA: I have no formation on that —

Ms. Panti: How do we reconcile it?

ASEC. PURISIMA: — and that is beyond my — the information I have. yeah.

Ms. Panti: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Maybe I just… I need to just begin with the statements.

All right. A few statements.

Father Chito officiates mass after being held captive:

Father Teresito Soganub or better known as Father Chito, officiated a mass for the first time on September 24, 2017, after being held hostage by the Maute Terrorist Group for almost four months.

It was held inside Camp Aguinaldo with about 40 military personnel and civilians attending. It was a great celebration of life for Father Chito whose personal safety was placed in danger because of the gun battles happening in Marawi City.

According to him, the mass is also a thanksgiving for the lives of those who were rescued. To date, a total of 1,730 people have been rescued by government forces.

Father Chito is also praying that he will be able to hear mass again at the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi City once the firefight is over and the area [is] cleared.

On the Vietnamese fishermen incident in Pangasinan:

Authorities are now conducting a fair and thorough investigation into the incident involving a Philippine Navy vessel and Vietnamese fishing boats which were seen fishing 34 nautical miles off Cape Bolinao in Pangasinan well within our exclusive economic zone.

The unfor… The incident led to the death of two Vietnamese nationals and the DFA is closely coordinating with the officials of the Vietnamese Embassy in Manila to update them on the developments and to facilitate their access to the five other Vietnamese fishermen taken into custody by the Philippine Navy.

On the two-day transport strike:

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has deployed vehicles offering free rides to affected commuters. More will be deployed based on need.

On the UNHRC recommendations:

The Philippines has committed to fully accept 103 out of the 257 recommendations that we received during the Third Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, a careful review and inclusive consultation with inputs from various stakeholders, especially from representatives from the State’s executive, legislative, and judicial departments was done, and in line with our independent foreign policy.

What really matters is that the United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted the Philippine report recognizing the country’s human rights record and commitments under the leadership of President Duterte.

A clarification regarding the 2017 Global Impunity Index:

We stand by the statement we made for the 2017 Global Impunity Index.

However, we call on everyone to exercise prudence in attributing data results, which did not happen or occur during the present administration.

As of today, 25th of September, Day 126:

Terrorist victims… MTG members killed – 695

Civilians killed – 47

Firearms recovered – 698

Unexploded ordnance recovered – 4

Improvised explosive devices recovered – 11

Civilians rescued – 1,730

Buildings cleared – 18; As of September 23 – 13

Killed in action – 151

Regarding the cash donations. Here are the status of the donations as of 12:50 on the 20th of September:

Marawi AFP casualty stands at P81,060,578.23

And the Marawi IDPs at P993,340.21

We are open to a few questions.

Maricel Halili (TV-5): Sir, just a quick clarification on the SALN of the Cabinet secretaries…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes.

Ms. Halili: Sir, how do we compromise the policy of the government —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: How do we — ?

Ms. Halili: Compromise the policy —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Compromise?

Ms. Halili: Yeah, I mean… Paano natin — paano natin ma — magagawang parallel ‘yung policy of the government… Reconcile, yeah, that’s the right word. Reconcile the policy of the government for transparency and the redaction made on the SALN of the Cabinet?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think the — that’s… We already clarified that. You know, the redaction is due to the fact that some personal private matters cannot be revealed espe… For example, we’ve said names, addresses of family members, stuff like that. That’s all.

Ms. Halili: Pero, sir, kasi na-mention din ‘yung issue on the privacy of the government official pero hindi ba siya as good as winaive (waive) na rin once na pumasok ka doon sa government?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No. I think that the… The law provides that certain aspects need to be kept private.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.

Ms. Novenario: Hi, good morning, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, kapipirma lang po kanina ni US President Donald Trump po doon sa proclamation tungkol po doon sa Enhanced National Security Measures po ng US. Parang ano ‘yon, naghigpit sila sa pag-vetting po ng mga taong papasok sa kanilang bansa bilang proteksyon sa kanilang mga mamamayan. May plano po ba ang Malakanyang na magkaroon din po ng kahalintulad na hakbang para po mapagigting o mapalakas po natin ‘yung ating war against terrorism considering po na may mga foreign terrorists na lumahok sa Marawi siege?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, that’s part of the ano… I’m sure that’s part of the process na ginagawa ng gobyerno in terms of making sure that our borders are more firmly secured.

But if you’re asking for new laws that are being ano — being enact — written or enacted, wala po at this stage that I know. Except that I know that pina… We’ve just…

There are efforts to secure our borders more closely and that is why we are working more closely with the regional — the regional — ‘yung mga neighbors po natin, ASEAN and Malaysia.

So nagkakaroon po tayo ng closer relationships in patrolling our borders.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Sir, nabanggit… Secretary Abella, sir, nabanggit kamakailan ni Pangulong Duterte na he is willing to meet with Father Chito Soganub. Mangyayari po ba ito at kailan po possible?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure in time magkikita po sila. Hindi ko po alam kung kailan exactly but I’m sure in time magkikita po sila.

Ms. Niu: To Asec. Toby, sir. Sir, if… Do you have any information kung nakuhanan na ng statements si Father Soganub at based on his statement, ito na ‘yung tina-trabaho ngayon nung ating mga sundalo doon sa Marawi para matukoy kung sino-sino pa ‘yung posibleng makuhang mga tao doon sa loob na mga lider?

ASEC. PURISIMA: I have no information on that.

Ms. Niu: Okay, thank you.

Joseph Morong (GMA-7): Sir, on the UNHCR. We rejected several recommendations as far as — with that is related — related to EJK. One of those is Ghana’s call to have Agnes Callamard come here and conduct an investigation. Why did we reject all those 44 recommendations?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, it’s… I’m, you know… This is all part of our prerogative to exercise independent foreign policy.

There are certain items that we feel — needs to be acted on and — in order to continue to maintain our constitutional stance of maintaining an independent foreign policy.

Mr. Morong: Yeah, aside from maintaining an independent foreign policy, does the rejection mean we are denying that there is an occurrence of extrajudicial killings?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There is no denial there. In fact, the UN has accepted what we’ve said.

However, it’s just that, we maintain that there are certain parameters that need not be infringed upon.

Mr. Morong: Sir, ‘yung kay Callamard. Sabi ni Presidente before he’s daring naman her ‘no na last time, I think, sa Pampanga tayo non, ang sabi niya, “Come over here and investigate for yourself and kaya kitang ipahiya.” But we have this report that we are not welcoming her. Papaano ‘yun, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, let’s… I’m sure the finer details of that matter can be answered by DFA ‘no.

However, as the President has also expressed again and again, he is even willing to host a contingent from the United Nations to be able to set up shop in the Philippines.

Mr. Morong: Paano, sir, ‘yun? We did not adopt that request from Ghana, but we have a standing — standing — [ano ba ‘to?] desire by the President to we have set up office here and then for her to come — with conditions, of course, ‘no — sabi ni Presidente nung time na ‘yon. How do you balance it?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure from the President’s perspective a — that — her presence here would be… Ah not her pre — the [what do you?] the office of — if they set up here, would be a welcome addition — would be a welcome development.

Mr. Morong: Sir, just related to EJK, there’s a petition I think on Friday that was filed by several lawyers sa Supreme Court. It’s a petition for mandamus, it’s a something that, you know… Okay, one of those actions that the petition seek is to open the investigations of EJKs to public scrutiny. Ang sinasabi nila doon, sir, may mga data that were — nakalagay doon na may mga ini-investigate na mga EJKs but as to what happened to those investigations hindi pa dini-disclose. So in effect, it’s calling on the government to disclose investigations into EJKs. What’s your comment on this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That should be a matter directly answerable by the DOJ.

Mr. Morong: ‘Yon muna, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay, that’s it?

Mr. Morong: From my part.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV-4): Sir, may follow up lang, sir. Kung hindi si Agnes — open ang Philippines to have ‘yung representative nila basta hindi daw po ba si Agnes Callamard?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi ko po masasabi ‘yan. Ang sinasabi ko lang is ang Presidente inimbita niya ang United Nations na mag-set up ng opisina dito.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, follow up lang po doon sa itinanong kanina regarding ‘yung ipinalabas na matrix ni President Duterte. He said basically doon sa matrix na drug money from local government officials funded Marawi siege. Saan po pumapasok doon, sir, ang ISIS at kasama din po ba doon ‘yung funding o ‘yung gaya po ng tanong kanina both?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I cannot hazard, you know… But ang sinasabi po nung ano — ang sinasabi po nung Presidente eh ‘yung narco-politics na doon umiikot ‘yon. There’s a — where they…

In a sense, the politicians abet the actual trade which eventually goes back to — which… And the trade also is directly related to the local terrorist groups. Apparently, they are all in cahoots regarding the matter.

Ms. Gutierrez: But regarding ‘yung overall funding po doon wala pa po ba tayong nai-establish na connection between ISIS and the Maute group?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I am not at… You know, that’s not my purview to say exactly, okay.

Ms. Gutierrez: Pero the President is not saying na walang kinalaman ang ISIS doon sa funding doon sa Maute group, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s put it this way, I suppose there’s a multiple streams of income coming in. Okay, thank you.

Ms. Panti: Sir, going back to my question po kanina ‘yung follow up din po kay Pia.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Panti: So having said na multiple streams, so it could be…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s just… Again.

Ms. Panti: ISIS and drug money?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s just in a sense an assumption, you know. That is an assumption.

Ms. Panti: Ah okay.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s not a categorical statement, you know. Since she was saying, “could be it be possible?” Then I said, it’s also possible that there are multiple streams of income coming in.

Ms. Panti: Ah okay, sir, about… ‘Yung second question ko po, about, sir, sa SALN. You mentioned about privacy —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Panti: — as the main concern. But some of the items redacted also include description of real properties kung ano ‘yung nature.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Kasama po ‘yan sa ano ah — privacy description.

Ms. Panti: Iyon nga, sir, acquisition cost nung real properties and acquisition cost of personal properties, are these… Cost ‘to, sir, eh. So are these… Do you… Don’t you deem these items pertinent for — pertinent to public — important for public disclosure since this shows the —

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Apparently —

Ms. Panti: — the wealth of the public officials. SALN is there for us to gauge if your wealth is not proportionate to your income as government officials. So without these figures of — without these amounts on real properties and personal properties, how would the public know that, what you — what government officials earn is — are within their salaries — are not coming from corruption?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ma’am, as far as the ano… As far as the redaction is concerned, it assumes that — it simply assumes that certain items are…

Certain items are held private and that the actual amounts are — the actual summarized amounts are given. So and that is the wisdom of the — that is the wisdom of the law that surrounds it.

Ms. Panti: So, sir, the summary amount would be sufficient?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think… Yes. That is deemed… That is deemed sufficient by the law.

Ms. Panti: Sir, considering what happened before with Chief Justice Corona, he was impeached misdeclarations in his SALN and the argument there is that he is the Chief Justice so he should follow the law to the letter. So why is that instead of being more open it’s like being more restrictive without the… Don’t you think it’s more restrictive now with the lack of these amounts, with the non-entry of the amounts of the wealth? So, what is so dangerous about disclosing the amount of the wealth?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, I go back to the argument, to the reason given behind that certain items need to be kept private.

However, the full disclosure has been made regarding the summarized amounts. And so from there, if indeed there is an investigation that needs to be done, then it can be followed through.

If these things are deemed suspect. Okay. So, in other words, you can actually make ano, you can actually… These disclosures are not meant to be the total disclosure of the thing. In other words, if investigation is need to be done, it may be done.

Ruth Gita (Sun Star): Hi, sir. May we know the government’s next move following President Duterte’s release of drug matrix? Ano po ‘yung plano niyo sa mga na-mention po niya doon sa drug matrix? Kakasuhan niyo po ba?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure that the President has a plan in mind and let us wait for the next developments regarding the matter.

However, the President I’m sure — not I’m sure — we can all trust that the President will — not just the President but the whole force of government will be exercised in order to make sure that his campaign promises regarding drugs and corruption and crime will be addressed.

Mr. Morong: Sir, help us understand ‘no. Before the Marawi crisis happened, sinabi ni Presidente in one of his speeches, dark clouds are looming and he was referring to ISIS coming in to the Philippines to set up a caliphate. Now, he’s saying it’s the drug lords that are funding or that have funded the Marawi siege. If — assuming the logic of the President — if the drug lords are indeed funding the Marawi crisis, nag-uusap ‘yung mga drug lords and the terrorists, international terrorists?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Come again.

Mr. Morong: Nag-uusap po ‘yung mga drug lords dito sa Pilipinas and the international terrorists who’s helping the Maute group?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: What is the point of the… What is the point of question?

Mr. Morong: Because if you’re saying na now it’s the drug money that has funded the Marawi siege, when the President said before…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: More specifically, more specifically I think it should be… We should say not just drug money, it’s narco-politics.

In other words, local politicians, even down to the — apparently down to the local level — are all participating in abetting the trade, in abetting the drug trade which is closely related to…

Apparently, it’s a circuitous loop. Government, drugs, terror groups. So in a sense, they’re all part of this, apparently part of this loop.

Mr. Morong: So, sir, how is the drug lord helping the Maute terrorists? Parang I’m trying to understand the logic of the President here ‘no. If he’s saying it’s the drug war now. Kung halimbawa, sir, that the drug money is funding the terroristic activities in Marawi, papaano makaka-benefit ‘yung mga drug lords by helping the terrorists?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay, I cannot give you the specifics regarding that matter. But the assumption is that much…

Without excluding external funding, but part of the local funding to buy equipment food and stuff like is provided by the sale of local drugs, by the local sale of drugs, and which can only be done if — by being abetted by the local politicians.

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

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, ‘yung ano po kasi, ‘yung dati pong mga intelligence reports regarding po kay — sa Abu Sayyaf group na connection nila sa drug syndicate. Hindi po ba si Isnilon Hapilon as the ASG leader at emir po ng ISIS dito sa Southeast Asia, ‘yun po ba ‘yung connection ng drug lords, ng drug traffickers doon po sa terrorism? ‘Yun po ‘yung pagkakahalal — pagkakadeklara po kay Isnilon Hapilon as the emir of ISIS in Southeast Asia? Kasi po ‘yung ASG, previous intel reports eh konektado raw po sa drug syndicates. Pinopondohan din po ng drug syndicates. At ‘yung ASG members daw po ay mga drug dependents or drug addicts din, kaya nila nagagawa ‘yung mga karumal-dumal nilang pagpatay doon sa kanilang bihag. Palagay po ba ninyo ‘yun po ang naging tuntungan ng Presidente sa kanyang paghahayag ng connection ng terorismo at drug syndicates?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Ang pagkakaalam ko lang po is this, nung nilabas niya ‘yung ano… I think that the key thing to understand is that the President, the ano, ‘yung nilabas na listahan na ‘yun is specifically, connects local politics, local politicians to the whole drug trade.

So ‘yun po ang mahalaga. You don’t need to go back all the way to the ASG and all that. Pero ‘yun pong kanyang listahan, at this stage, ang sinasabi ko lang ha. Ang malinaw sa akin, ang malinaw po sa listahan na ‘yun is that konektado ang local politicians kaya hindi ba lagi niyang sinasabi narco-politics, narco-politics. ‘Yun po ang idinidiin niya lagi.

Ms. Novenario: Oo, ‘yun nga po, ‘yung ASG kasi, si Isnilon Hapilon…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi po ‘yung ASG, ‘yung mga local na mga ano.

Ms. Novenario: Oo nga ho. Ibig ko pong sabihin kasi ‘di ba nag-join force daw po ‘yung ASG at saka Maute? ‘Di ba ‘yun ‘yung sinasabi ng Presidente nang ilang beses na. So kung ‘yung ASG ay konektado sa drug syndicates, so hindi po ba malayong kaya sila nagkaroon sila ng connection sa mga narco-politicians, ‘yung Maute, eh dahil po doon sa connection nila sa ASG? ‘Yun po ‘yung aking punto.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Improbably so, okay? No, but the point is, the point is, medyo masalimuot ‘yung ano, ‘yung explanation. It’s kinda circuitous.

But the point is the whole exercise in revealing that was simply to just say that to reveal that the names actually of certain narco — actually, local politicians at the local level na kasali sila dun. Okay?

[Ano, ano? Oo nga eh. Tapos na ‘yung ano]

Ms. Panti: Last na po from my end, sir. Sir, the President said that his preferred successor would be his daughter po, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All right.

Ms. Panti: But he has previous statements that he is not after power, in fact, if Alan Cayetano won, he could have resigned already at this point. So how do we reconcile this lack of desire, that he’s not after power and yet he is saying that the daughter can succeed him?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. First and foremost, this was — It was done on a one-on-one with one particular — It was not an official statement, okay? It was, that was — that statement was made to one reporter.

Pangalawa, I think you’re making a breathtaking leap by assuming that he wants power when he says that his daughter is somebody that he trusts.

I think that the President is just being very, very pragmatic, you know. It’s not a question of wanting to perpetuate power but ensuring that whatever gains he has — whatever gains that we have made, the administration may have made will be preserved by someone that he actually trusts.

I think the issue here is trust. The issue here is that he trusts the capability of Sara. At this stage, that is his statement, okay? ‘Yun ang statement niya, na nakita niya ‘yung capacity, capability, puso, intention nung — ni Sara Duterte.

I think you have to consider her as an independent personality and not just his daughter. Para bang she is an effective person and Mayor and politician who happens to be his daughter.

So it’s not a question of wanting to perpetuate power. So you know, I think there’s a huge difference between the two.

Ms. Panti: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you.

—END—

Resource