Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo with Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez, Jr.

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: A pleasant good morning, MPC. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good morning, members of the Malacañang Press Corps. Today we have special guests as resource persons in the persons of the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, General Isidro Lapeña; and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Carlito Galvez, Jr.

You can shoot your questions…

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC13: Hi sir, good morning. Para kay Sir Sid Lapeña po. Sir can you confirm, did the President say that you have to stay put?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Come again, please.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC13: Can you confirm sir if the President tells you have to stay put in your position?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Wala namang sinabi sa akin ang ating Presidente, si Mayor Duterte. But I have a marching order from him when I assumed as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs – and that is to stop corruption and increase revenue collections sa Bureau of Customs. And that’s what I’m doing, and the job is not yet completely done. While we have increased revenue collections, we have been collecting revenue at an all-time high sa Bureau of Customs since I assumed as the Commissioner in August 30 of 2017 and onward.

Ang hindi ko lang na-hit na target was in January of 2018, but iyong—dito sa 2018, iyong target namin sa 2018, may 150 billion pesos that was added to the target last year. So it is now 598 billion. Last year it is 458 billion pesos, and now it is 598 billion pesos; but we are hitting our target. And one reason for that, why we are hitting the target is we have addressed—that is a result ng pag-address namin noong corruption that have been besetting the Bureau of Customs for many years now.

And we have started with the short term doables, at ito iyong… ang ginawa namin diyan is iyong pag-disturb noong collusion ng mga players, as well as the people in the Bureau of Customs who have been directly related to each other, iyong ‘suki’ system na sila na mismo ang nagbibigay ng amount na dapat bayaran, iyong duties and taxes na dapat bayaran sa isang container van.

And in my time when I arrived, ang binabayaran lang sa isang container van is 40,000 pesos. Yet if you will consider a container van with a value of one million pesos lang, and by the value added tax alone, that is P120,000 na. So masyadong malaki ang nasho-shortchange sa gobyerno.

So when I assumed as the Commissioner, I said in my assumption speech that no benchmarking, let us go to—on correct valuation. So iyon ang aking ni-require. And in fact noong two weeks after, noong nakita ko na may nagbe-benchmarking pa rin, I relieved the collectors of the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port. And after relieving them, nag-shoot up iyong mga duties and taxes – and that made the—iyong collection ng September na na-hit iyong target by that ano. And then after two weeks, iyong mga iba ay nakita ko na kailangan pa ng improvement.

I changed the—mga collectors and even iyong mga examiners as well as the mga appraiser. And then iyong—ang ginawa ko pa, I removed iyong sectioning. Kasi iyong sectioning naka-fix sila diyan so alam na alam nila kung kanino ibibigay iyong examination ng kanilang goods – ito na iyong ‘suki’ system. And then nag-usap na sila kung magkano iyong ibibigay. So those are the short term doables that we have done.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC13: Sir, follow up lang. Sir hihingin ko lang iyong take po ninyo, kasi kahapon sa talumpati po ng Presidente, sinabi niya na parang—dahil amidst this controversy po, nalulusutan daw kayo with PDEA and the Customs kasi instead na magtulungan daw kayo sir, nagtuturuan kayo. What’s your take?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Well, it appears to be ganoon dahil nga—iyong nagtuturuan. Pero iyong nangyari, dalawa iyong case noon eh, iyong recent na case noong August – and that is the iyong Vecaba [Trading International] na shipment, iyong dalawang magnetic lifter, which was apprehended actually, ito iyong may laman na 355 kilos. Hindi ito lumusot, that is an accomplishment.

And then the other one is the… iyong apat na magnetic lifter na napunta doon sa GMA, Cavite; na noong dumating doon ay walang laman—walang nakita, ang ibig sabihin, walang—empty iyong magnetic lifter. And so ito iyong sinasabi na nakalusot, dahil kasi in the process of iyong mga investigation, up to iyong yesterday—by the way, ang aking position doon sa apat na magnetic lifters that was found empty that time, is that it was empty when it was discovered that time. And then when it was subjected to a swab test, the result it tested negative of shabu.

So those are the two facts that were present that time when the 4 empty magnetic lifters were discovered.

But of course I said also, that there is a continuing investigation; and also with the investigation conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the House of Representatives Committee on Drugs, I also said that we will submit to the result of this investigation and the hearing being conducted by the oversight committees.

And so after the discovery, we continued conduct investigation. In fact it led… that investigation, a joint investigation by PDEA and the Bureau of Customs led to the discovery of Joel Maritana. If you will—kung mino-monitor ninyo ‘yan, Joel Maritana is supposed to be the fall guy doon sa transaction that will involve iyong SMYD [Trading]. That noong—because of our backtracking at saka investigation, noong nalaman namin iyong si Joel Maritana iyong… our investigators on the ground, nakita nila na iyong si Joel Maritana na supposed to be magbabayad ng mga 180 thousand, eh iyong bahay niya ay shanty, so hindi puwedeng ito ay makakaya.

So nag-retract si Joel Maritana noong kaniyang ready na statement, which was signed by him. And so that led to Guban that was cited for contempt doon sa Senate and he was detained in the Senate. And eventually, that led to his admission and confession that iyong nagpaparating… ang nakakaalam ng pagpaparating ng shabu is Acierto and also pointed to Fajardo. And this is the syndicate, and ito iyong mas importante na dapat na pagtutuunan ng pansin – that we have discovered a syndicate that is responsible for the bringing in of bulk shipment into the country.

And this is now what we are working with PDEA, and we have been working with PDEA by the way. Kaya iyong impression na there is a rift, no it’s not true. Because we have an ongoing… iyong investigation together. So the cooperation was there.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi sir, good morning. So does it mean sir that you will stop finger-pointing with Aquino?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Well on my side, there was no finger-pointing.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Meaning, we should expect cooperation—

COMM. LAPEÑA: Yes, of course. I just said earlier na we have been cooperating in our investigation.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Okay. Sir just a follow up, kasi sir from the start iyong statement po ninyo is nanindigan kayo na wala talagang shabu shipment. But then yesterday nagkaroon po ng changes and now you are saying nag a-agree kayo na there was indeed shabu shipment. So ano po iyong nagpabago doon sa belief ninyo or doon sa stand ninyo, sir?

COMM. LAPEÑA: By the way, ang sinasabi ko noon is, na hindi ko sinasabing walang shabu shipment kung hindi there was nothing in it, it was empty when the four magnetic lifter were discovered – it is a fact of the case. And then—nagkaroon na ng swab test, it’s tested negative of shabu. That’s why I did not say that there is a shabu.

But overtime, because of the investigation that has been ongoing and then yesterday, when there was a presentation by the Department of Public Works Highways – Bureau of Equipment, a technical examination on the magnetic lifter, it turned out that, iyong mga magnetic lifter na iyon are not capable of–to be used in carrying scrap metal. So it was designed na iyong laman sa loob, it’s designed to contain cargo and then with the presence of iyong lid na nakita doon, the lid is also designed to conceal whatever is inside. So hindi iyon makikita – even x-ray.

Kaya iyon ang nangyari doon – lumusot, hindi nakita because of the lid. Iyon na iyong resulta ng examination ng DPWH. That is why, when that was presented, that is a convincing circumstantial evidence that made me believe na mayroong laman nga iyong magnetic lifter na apat. That is why, I changed my position. I said, I am now convinced na there is a –may laman iyon. And then, because of the connection noong Vecaba at saka iyong doon sa SMYD doon sa Cavite, na iyong Vecaba is may shabu. And then, iyong SMYD is probably na it is shabu iyong nandoon. That is why, that should be now the subject ng operations ng against the syndicate – dapat hanapin iyong mga shabu that have slipped into the country.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Commissioner magandang tanghali po sa inyo. Si Jimmy Guban ay umamin na tumatanggap ng 10 hanggang 15,000 na komisyon sa isang police na nagngangalang Eduardo Acierto, tama ano po.

COMM. LAPEÑA: Yes, iyan iyong dating Police Officer, Senior Supt. Acierto.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Si Guban ang nasa itaas niya ho ay si Acierto. Sino po naman ang protector ni Acierto. Sino ho naman ang pinaka-puno o ulo nitong sindikatong ito ni Acierto?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Well, that is a subject of a continuing investigation. But right now, ang lumalabas doon sa mga revelation ni Guban is that, si Acierto iyong nasa taas and then si Fajardo iyong susunod and then iyong mga galamay nila dito sa baba.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Ibig sabihin po niyan, meron pang nasa itaas ni Acierto?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Possible. That’s possible or the connection to the triad or to the foreign drug syndicate, sila iyong link to the foreign drug syndicate.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Inamin po ninyo na kayo po ay nalusutan, tama po, General Sid, ano po?

COMM.LAPEÑA: Yes, oo.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Kung kayo po ay nalusutan, sino ang nagpalusot, ito ba ay tao ninyo sa Customs or sino po ang nagpalusot sa inyo?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Ang nagpalusot diyan, of course that is the handy work of the drug syndicate. But just the same, I created a committee to investigate iyong mga personnel namin, iyong dinaanan nitong mga, nitong apat na magnetic lifter.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Maliban po kay Guban, sino po ang kakutsaba nitong sindikatong ito sa bureau of Customs, Commissioner?

COMM. LAPEÑA: May dalawa siyang kasama diyan eh, iyong Dimayuga at saka si Gorgonio na taga-Bureau of Customs. Iyong si Dimayuga, isang intelligence officer din iyan at ito iyong ginagamit niya na utus-utusan para mag-ayos ng mga papeles pagpalit-palit at saka iyong si Gorgonio naman, ganundin. That is why iyong resulta ng investigation noong komite that I created is that, they are included in the charging, itong tatlo na ito. Of course kasama na diyan iyong mga consignees – iyong sila, iyong SMYD – itong Signapan at saka si Mig Santos at saka iyong si Quasi, who is the broker, kasama na rin sila sa matsa-charge.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Ano ang inyong nararamdaman General Sid, 11 billion ayon sa PDEA ang halaga ng nakalusot na shabu na ngayon ay nakakalat po sa merkado, personally bilang mamamayang Filipino at bilang ama ng mga kabataang, I understand may mga anak at apo na kayo, ano ang nararamdaman ninyo rito? Lalo na ho pag naririnig ninyo siguro iyong pag-sachet ng shabu ang nahuhuli – kulong, iyong iba nga ay napapatay pa, pagka ho ganitong malalaking bulto ng shabu ay nakakalusot at wala namang nahuhuling malalaking tao?

COMM. LAPEÑA: I take that very seriously, iyong information na iyon. But I don’t know if the 11 billion was taken, but of course it’s coming from, PDEA. If we will just took, look at the four empty containers. That will not, hindi iyong magreresulta ng 11 billion, dahil kasi, sabihin mo na, even less than one ton. Well of course, kahit na may kalahating ton, napakalaki na iyan, that is something very serious. But andidiyan iyon, ang sinasabi noon, is 6.8 billion. You remember iyong tone-tonelada na sinasabi 6.8 billion. But we take that very seriously, that is why we have to concentrate our efforts in going after the drug syndicate and go after itong mga shipment na nakalusot.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Last on my part, may mga nananawagan ng inyong resignation, ano po ang inyong reaction?

COMM.LAPEÑA: Well, the President placed me there to accomplish a job, a mission and that is to stop corruption and increase revenue collection. And I have been delivering and I still have to do a lot para ma-accomplish iyong mission na iyan. For the reason na iyong, it is on the command responsibility aspect, it applies when a violation of law or an offense committed was brought to your attention and you did not do anything, then that is where the command responsibility applies. But, in my case, kami actually ang naka-discover nitong si Guban, the uncovering of the syndicate and the filing of the charges that are appropriate in this case against those persons who are responsible.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Good noon gentleman. Kay Commissioner Lapeña, sir good afternoon. Sir, iyong mga impormasyon or data which made you changed your mind and now convinced na may laman nga na shabu iyong magnetic lifters ay kahapon lang nalaman ninyo?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Yes, yesterday upon the presentation ng DPWH director of the Bureau of Equipment.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, just for the record, categorically, you are saying that you were not trying to protect or conceal that—iyong pagkalusot ng shabu?

COMM. LAPEÑA: How is that again?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Are you not trying to protect your men na involved sa pagkalusot ng shabu and trying to conceal iyong napaka-brutal na krimen na iyon?

COMM. LAPEÑA: No, definitely not. We are after the truth dito eh. And I have created iyong committee, investigation committee to investigate this on my own at saka a joint committee with PDEA. And then there is another special committee that investigated Guban. So, there is no protection at all.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Last point sir. Regardless kung you still enjoy the trust and confidence of the President, but personally from your end, you do not feel or see the need to personally or voluntary resign iyong nasa pagkalusot nito?

COMM. LAPEÑA: How is that?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, kahit pa halimbawa granting na you still enjoy the trust and confidence of the President. Personally, you did not see the need to voluntary resign dahil sa pagkalusot nito?

COMM. LAPEÑA: As I have said, I have a marching order from the President.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, sabi po ni Attorney Mangaoang, pinagtatakpan daw po ninyo iyong drug smuggler. Ano po iyong paliwanag ninyo roon sa sinabi niya?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, I don’t know where she is coming from. But as I have said, I have stated, I have done those things that has to be done para ma-uncover ang katotohanan dito, which even led to the uncovering of the drug syndicate.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Iyong pag-upo ninyo po, sir, may isyu noon na 6.4 billion na shabu na nakalusot din kay Commissioner Faeldon. Ano po iyong naging aral nung 6.4 at bakit naulit po ito ngayong nalusutan na naman nang mas malaki pang bulto ng shabu iyong Bureau of Customs?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, I think we have to improve iyong ating mga systems, mga processes, and i-improve iyong capability natin sa Bureau of Customs. Ito iyong mga aral na nakita ko. And in the Bureau of Customs, I have also made a directive to have the PDEA people onboard doon sa scanning, sa mga X-ray scanning natin para may kasama na iyong PDEA sa pagmu-monitor ng ating mga X-ray scanning natin.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, wala kayong plano mag-reshuffle, major revamp sa BOC dahil po dito sa nangyaring ito?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, kasama na iyan. Pero alam ninyo, iyong pag-reshuffle is a continuing process sa Bureau of Customs. In fact, I have already reshuffled about more than … mga 1,000 plus people in my time, for my one year stay there. Kasi mayroon akong one-strike policy diyan. Those who cannot hit target, I replace them. And then hindi lang iyong collector ang nari-replace, but also the members, iyong deputy collector for assessment, as well as those people involved in the assessment – kasama iyan. At also those people na nagkakaroon ng derogatory information na hindi naman ma-prove dahil ayaw namang lumabas ng mga complainant to file a formal complaint. Maraming ganyan kasi sa Bureau of Customs dahil kasi sabi nila, eh papaano na lang iyong kanilang negosyo kung something will … baka lalo silang mahirapan sa kanilang mga negosyo.

Kaya I change people based on mga ganoong information. Of course, ang number one diyan na nagkakaroon ng palitan is the … iyong one-strike policy on hitting the target.

JOPEL PELENIO/DWIZ: Sir, iyong sa statement po ni Attorney Mangaoang. Sa panahon ninyo raw po mas lumala iyong iligal na droga, iyong korapsyon?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, iyong—what’s happening sa Bureau of Customs, as I have said, on the revenue collection—well, iyong comparison ay nabanggit ko na iyan. It is only in my time that we are hitting the target and with a surplus.

And then just to show, iyong accomplishment namin sa smuggling, practically, malaki iyong comparison ng 2017 at saka 2018. And even iyong sa drug seizure, mas malaki pa nga iyong drug seizure compared to last year. Of course, iyong nakalusot is something that we take very seriously that’s why we have to improve iyong mga procedures namin, as well as the equipment that we have para mas magiging effective ang Bureau of Customs in the days to come.

Of course, kasama na diyan iyong automation natin. Iyong plano namin diyan sa Bureau of Customs is we have the short-term doable which we have done. And then we have the medium term, under dito iyong automation. At with the automation, hopefully—kasama na diyan iyong X-ray, it is interconnected with the computer system namin. And that we will improve greatly iyong ating mga sistema sa clearance processes natin, including sa detection ng mga contraband goods.

TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Sir, the President has his full trust in you. Noong unang nakausap mo siya regarding this magnetic lifter sa Cavite, naniwala siya na according to your statement to him na walang laman iyong magnetic lifter. When was the last time, sir, that you talked to the President since na ma-convince ka na mayroon palang laman ngayon iyang magnetic lifter?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, after na ma-convince ako, hindi pa kami nag-uusap. But I rendered a report—I have rendered report on this one – the development ng investigation.

TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: So ngayon, sir, na na-convince ka na mayroon ngang laman, kailan kayo ulit mag-uusap ni Presidente para sabihin sa kaniya na totoo palang may laman?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, I have a meeting with the Executive Secretary today. And I’m going to render my report this noon.

TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Last, sir, on my part. Don’t you think, sir, na nasayang iyong panahon mula noong hindi ka pa muna naniwala na may laman iyon na grinab iyong chance na iyon ng mga nasa likod ng sindikato para sila ay makatakas? Nasaan na po iyong mga Chinese-looking men na responsible doon sa four magnetic lifters?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: As I have said, sinabi ko na iyong position that I took because of the facts of the case that time, and that is iyong walang nakita nung na-discover iyong apat na magnetic lifters at saka when it was subjected to a swab test, it tested negative. There is an ongoing investigation that even led to the uncovering of the syndicate, kaya hindi nasayang. Dahil kasi kahit na that is my position, ang sabi ko naman, there is a continuing investigation and I will submit to the result of that investigation and same is to the … iyong resulta ng hearing ng Senate Blue Ribbon Committee at saka ng House of Representative Committee on Drugs. And that’s what happened.

At as I have said, I will abide kung ano iyong magiging resulta ng mga investigation na ito. And exactly I did noong may mga development… iyong overwhelming na circumstantial evidences, especially the presentation made by DPWH Bureau of Equipment.

TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Sir, iyong apat na Chinese-looking men, sir, nasaan na sila ngayon?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: That’s the subject ng investigation ng PDEA. May ongoing effort.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir, good afternoon. Sir, si Presidente ay nag-release ng matrix. Based on your statements, you confirmed din iyong laman ng matrix na sila Acierto et al ang involved sa alleged sa pagpalabas ng droga.

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Yes, that is the revelation of Guban.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: So, sir, mayroon po ba kayong inimbestigahan o coordination sa US DEA, Interpol or any other government regarding the links of this group to international drug syndicate?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Yes, that’s being done by PDEA. Kasi iyong US DEA ang katapat niyan ay PDEA.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: One more, sir. Bakit po kaya parang nakikita namin na nababahala ang Presidente na iyong si Davao trader Michael Yang ay lumalabas ang pangalan sa isyung ito? Mayroon po ba kayong idea? Kasi si Presidente lang ang nagbabanggit na parang may pressure na i-link po kay Mr. Yang ang isyung ito.

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: I don’t know of any connection.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Sir, why did it take the DPWH to convince you to change your position on the shipment when PDEA was insisting na mayroon ngang laman and even some former officials of your agency were saying the same? Why did it take the Department of Public Works to convince you on something about the drug shipment?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, because the DPWH presentation presented that the four magnetic lifters were not designed to lift scrap metal, but it was designed to conceal cargo. When you say conceal, then it must be contraband.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: No, my point is, sir, why did you take the word of the DPWH and not the PDEA before?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: Well, we’re talking of the technical examination ng ano … iyong apat na magnetic lifter eh. And PDEA has no expertise to examine that way. It is the DPWH.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: PDEA has no expertise to determine whether a shipment contained drugs, that’s what you’re saying?

COMMISSIONER LAPEÑA: No, whether the magnetic lifter is designed to be as such as the way it was presented yesterday. Ang may expertise lang niyan is the Department of Public Works and Highways Bureau of Equipment.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Okay, another thing sir. Why are you again disputing iyong bagong estimate po ng PDEA na hindi daw po pala 6.8 at 11 billion, earlier ninyo napaliwanag ng mabuti?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Ang sinasabi naman dati is 6.8 billion eh, that’s why I do not—kung bakit naging 11 billion.

INA/CNN PHILS.: They are saying that the lifters can contain daw po pala 1.6 tons, mas mataas doon sa earlier estimate na 1 ton?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Let’s do some arithmetic. Kasi if you will see, iyong the two lifter not contain 355 kilos, iyong dalawang lifter so you take the 4 lifters, tatlo ang similar to the two lifters in—iyong sa MICP. Iyong doon sa GMA – apat iyon, tatlo ang similar doon at saka isang maliit. So if you will just get—ilan ba iyong mako-contain noong tatlo so you divide it, iyong 355 kilos by 2 multiply it by 3 plus iyong maliit, you will come up with—hindi nga 1 ton eh, if you will just make some arithmetic, it will just be about 600 plus. So you multiply that 600 or 700 plus, if you will multiply that by the price of the shabu that time which is 6,800 per gram, then that’s more or less the price, that’s why I do not know bakit ganoon – lumaki. I’m not even—iyong—kasi—well, again it is speculation.

INA/CNN PHILS.: PDEA is speculating that it is 1 billion?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Kasi iyong arithmetic eh, we have to do some computation dito. Iyong sasabihin mo na more than 1,000 ang laman noon. Do the arithmetic and you will not arrive at more than 1,000.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Lastly, sir doon sa—the Intel report rather—recently, declassified by the President, mentioned that Guban would take or receives monthly ‘tara’ from owners of warehouses na ire-raid niya, most of whom are Chinese according to the Intel report. Have you already identified these people? Iyong mga mostly Chinese daw na may-ari ng mga warehouses na ito?

COMM. LAPEÑA: Yeah, I received that information also and actually I even have a project to entrap people from the Bureau of Customs and—well, I have not been successful in—iyong result ng entrapment operation na iyan dahil again, it is about the cooperation of those would be victims. But I received that kind of information also.

SEC. PANELO: We will excuse the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, thank you very much.

COMM. LAPEÑA: Thank you sir and thank you, our friends from the media. Maraming salamat po – I just have to leave kasi I have a meeting with the [unclear].

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Sir, magandang araw po. General, mag-e-end na po ang martial law sa December 31, mayroon na po bang recommendation ang AFP kung ito ba ay i-e-extend ng Pangulo o hindi po?

GEN. GALVEZ: Next week, we will start the assessment with the visitation of EastMinCom and WestMinCom. So we have already some religious and also some of the LGUs but we need to know, we need to assess further, considering that the assessment are coming from the AFP should be jointly with the PNP.

IAN/GMA7: Nabanggit na po ni General Albayalde na kung sila ang tatanungin parang inclined sila na i-extend ang martial law and marami nga rin daw pong mga tao sa Mindanao na gusto itong i-extend. More or less sa AFP po ba ganoon din ang pagtingin ninyo?

GEN. GALVEZ: We will just still wait for the assessment because I don’t want to preempt iyong ating assessment.

IAN/GMA7: General, ano pong mga indications na kailangan talagang i-extend ang martial law na kailangan ninyong makita sa Mindanao ‘pagka-assess ninyo?

GEN. GALVEZ: Well, iyong isang indication na sinasabi ng mga tao sa atin, specially doon sa areas na nakitang conflicted areas, is the threshold ng elections. During elections for the first time, Marawi was not—there is no single violence that happened and there is no failure of elections in all the direct four barangays. Same lead that the Comelec and the PNP, and the AFP also concluded that the barangay elections and SK elections this 2018 is one of the most peaceful and they declare the most peaceful, in the sense that there is no declaration again of failure.

And second, the business establishment said, in Davao, I believed we have an increase of GDP of 10 and also in GenSan – 8. So there is a growing trend in the business sectors especially in Cagayan De Oro, GenSan and also even in Iligan. There is a commensurate correlational increase of business activity because of the seemingly relative peaceful conditions in the area; secondly, last week, Archbishop Martin Jumoad – who is one of the very vocal Archbishop, who also happened to be the Bishop of Basilan – he also supported the extension of the martial law because of the good implementation of the PNP and the AFP of the martial law, including Senator Gatchalian also supported it and most of the Congressmen living in Mindanao is also supporting this.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir, may statement po kayo kahapon o kanina with General Oscard Albayalde na iyong pagka-massacre daw po ng 9 sugar workers ay part ng October—Red October plot ng CPP-NPA. Ano po iyong basehan ninyo sa statement ninyong iyon?

GEN. GALVEZ: Nakita natin iyong Oplan Bungkalan at saka iyong Oplan Okupasyon, ito iyong talagang nakita natin – iyong design. Iyong design na nakita natin is comparable to sa Escalante killings. Makikita natin, the facts that we saw, nagpunta po kami sa grounds. I went there last two days ago. The facts that we gathered is 8 of the victims are newly recruits, meaning eh dalawang araw pa lang silang kinausap and then noong umaga pumayag sila and then nagkaroon na po sila ng tent doon sa area. Meaning, noong kinausap po namin iyong social worker who have conducted with the debriefing of the families, iyon po ang sinabi nila at pinangakuan po sila ng isang ektarya bawat isa, magbabayad sila ng 500.

And some of them already paid 500 pesos. So iyon po ang nakita natin na iyong mga recruits hindi po sila possible beneficiaries. Marami po sa kanila ang hindi po taga doon, may mga tricycle driver, mayroon pong iba na nandoon po sa ibang municipality na nakatira, isang indikasyon na pumunta po kami doon, kung mga kamag-anak po iyon o kamag-anak po ng mga residente na nandoon po sa killing site, mga more or less 140 meters, nagpapa-picture pa nga sa amin iyong mga residente, meaning hindi sila affected, meaning hindi taga doon iyong namatay.

ROSE/HATAW: Last na lang po. So ano iyong motibo po ng CPP-NPA para i-massacre iyong mga sugar workers?

GEN. GALVEZ: To discredit iyong government, nakita po natin mayroon po pati international community, ginagawan po nila ng ano—na alam po natin International Parliamentary Union pupunta po dito kaya po itinaon po nila iyan and the same time, iyong nakita natin, in-analyze po namin pati po iyong international ano e, ‘di ba nagkaroon po tayo ng botasyon sa UN – Human Rights. It’s a big victory po for us sa government and they want to belie it because ang ano po nila, iyong kanilang tema is the Duterte administration is really doing something bad aside from EJK, they are doing killings like what happened to Escalante. Kaya ngayon ang figures na lang, hindi lang 9 eh – 45, ang bilis nilang mag-compute.

So meaning—kung titingnan natin, mayroong sinister plot. Kung titingnan natin iyong mga ano—ako kasi, I’ve been in Mindanao for almost all of my career. I have resolved more than 320 conflicts, and most of them are land conflicts. This is not how to do the resolution of conflicts. If you encamp to a private land, even in Mindanao, it means war… it means trouble. Alam ng organizer na kapag nag-encamp sila doon, puwede silang sugurin ng mga land owners, at puwede rin silang magkaroon ng tinatawag na ano…

Ako, may-ari rin kami ng lupa… pagka iyong muhon namin inilipat ng katabi namin, puwede kaming magtagaan – ganiyan ang ano namin, kasi land for us is life. So ganoon po ang ano… kung ikaw po ang—kunyari ikaw ang National Federation for Sugar Workers, gawin mo iyon, ibig sabihin talagang alam mong may mangyayari – that’s why iniwan nila eh. Sa siyam na workers, walo ang bago; dalawang araw pa lang na-recruit. So meaning, nakikita natin dito talagang—parang ang assessment namin pinain.

So that ang nakikita natin after that incident, kaagad nationwide nag-rally sila, nag-rally sa Crame, nag-rally sa amin, nag-rally sa Baguio… nasa Baguio sila ngayon, 350. Ngayon pati iyong sa Davao nag-rally sila simultaneously and condemning the killing of Sagay. And the killing of Sagay has been attributed to us; attributed to the military, the PNP and the Duterte government. We have nothing to do with this. We cannot ano… we cannot ano—Ano ang magi-gain ng government for killing these people? They’re the only ones gaining from this.

Kaya nakikita namin iyong sinister plot na iyan, noong nakuha namin iyong mga dokumento sa engkuwentro namin sa Sorsogon, nakita namin iyong Oplan Okupasyon at saka iyong Oplan Bungkalan. Ito iyong tinatawag nating forcible occupation of private and public lands; parang ito po iyong katulad ng Kadamay. So it’s mob na ang mangyayari parang Kadamay ang ano, it will be iyong tinatawag nating mga empty houses they will occupy. So similar iyong ano …

We have a lot of templates on this, nakita natin Kidapawan, nakita natin iyong Hacienda Luisita, nakita natin iyong Plaza Miranda… they will create situations to manipulate and arouse people.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, last na lang po. Sir, based sa intelligence investigation o intelligence information may nakikita kayong mga grupo or individual na posibleng nagsusulsol o nagpopondo po sa ganitong Oplan na sinasabi ninyo?

GEN. GALVEZ: Ang ano po nito, talagang ang kumpas po nito galing po kay Joma Sison. Nakita natin noong 2017, iyong Oplan ano… iyong tinatawag nating ouster plot kay Presidente was hatched during the time of the peace process is undergoing. Kaya nga medyo iyon ang nakikita namin that there is a treachery that we—while we are having a peace process, they already hatched iyong 2017 na ouster plot. Ito po iyong tinatawag na Oplan Talsik, Oplan Aklasan, Oplan Bungkalan at saka iyong Oplan Okupasyon… at saka marami pong oplan silang ganoon; then mayroon pa silang Coda Merkado, may coda sila na bulldozer… Na-decode na po namin ‘yan, binigay na po namin sa media iyong ano—diniclassified (declassified) na po namin iyong information na ‘yan. Dokumento po ‘yan – hindi po amin ‘yan – sa kanila po namin nakuha ‘yan.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Pero sir, just to be clarified. So you are not saying na it’s the NPA who actually killed iyong mga sugar workers but iyong land owners?

GEN. GALVEZ: Ang ano po, ang lead po natin—tatlo po ang leads natin. Ang nakikita namin dito is—kasi ang tinitingnan po namin sa kaso is not tactical only at strategic – sino ang may design… noong tinitingnan po namin. Iyong tinatawag nating inducement – who induced this incident?

So ang alam natin kapagka kunyari po, ito pong mga farmers if they occupy a land that has been owned by some land owners, definitely po ang ano po niyan, alam natin po na magkakaroon po ng gulo. So ang ano po namin, ang ano po namin diyan… tatlo po ang aming angle na inano po ng PNP kasi nagkaroon po kami ng tinatawag naming interagency debriefing – nag-debrief ang social workers, ang DSWD; nag-debriefing ang LGU; nag-debriefing ang DAR; nag-debriefing ang PNP.

Based doon sa assessment namin, tatlo ang leads: one is, maybe one of the land owners… iyong suspek na lima—ang ano ng PNP is lima iyong ano eh… mayroong nag-alleged 40. But based doon sa assessment namin, there are only 12 empty shells of M16 and 7 empty shells of caliber 45. At saka malapitan lang po kasi 9:30 gabi po iyon, so with that kind of ano, only 19 bullets, namatay iyong siyam – ibig sabihin very close iyong kanilang ano… at ang assessment namin, magkakakilala sila.

So meaning ang ano namin is tatlo ang lead, maybe one of the land owner or claimants; second is, maybe iyong land owner mayroon siyang private armed group, iyon ang kasama; and then third is… an indication na may hand iyong CPP-NPA because may pumutok na isa, meaning para ano ‘yan, parang warning shot or agitation shot which is ganoon din ang nangyari sa Mendiola at saka sa ano… nangyari sa Hacienda Luisita. May pumutok sa hanay ng mga nagpoprotesta, then doon nagkaroon ng start ng shooting.

So ang ano namin, iyong tatlo na iyon, ‘yun ang lead na inanohan namin. Pero sa grand design, namin that the CPP-NPA has the grand design of really having that ano, having the situation get worst. Because talagang pagka may nangyaring masama, they can ano… they can magnify.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, pero hindi kaya makaapekto iyong statement ninyo na parang sinasabi ninyo na ito ay dahil sa—or bahagi ng ouster plot, at baka makompormiso naman iyong pag-claim/paghabol ng justice doon sa mga napatay? Kasi iisipin na—

GEN. GALVEZ: Hindi po. Actually ang ano po namin, ang pinangako po namin sa ano—kami po, nangako po kami sa harapan po ng mga patay saka sa pamilya na we will bring justice no matter what it takes. So ang ano po namin talaga, makukuha natin ang justice pagka nakuha po natin iyong lima na sangkot na pumatay – iyon po talaga ang target namin. And we are working with the NBI and also with the PNP, I also instructed the Chief ISAF and also our intelligence to dig deeper on the investigation. So we will be leading—the investigation will end kung sino iyong ma-identify namin, sino iyong mga shooters.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Thank you, sir.

DAHREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN: Sir, has the President been briefed about the incident and what was his appreciation of it?

GEN. GALVEZ: I believe he was briefed by the Chief PNP. Kasi noong nag-usap kami ni Gen. John Bulalacao, they have already submitted the report. And iyong mga ganito ngang incident po, considering that this is more on criminality, ang PNP po ang primary na naggawa ng report. But now magkikita po kami ni Presidente, I have my own report.

DAHREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN: Kasi sir, sinabi po ni President kahapon na… parang sabi niya, may mga tenants na original, pagkatapos ng harvest, they go in and seize control using violence and intimidation backed up by NPA. So, do you believe na he is adopting your view of the incident?

GEN. GALVEZ: Alam ko ang ating mahal na President, he has a lot of sources. The Armed Forces is only one of the source, the PNP is the other and also they have NICA. So he has all the sources.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi sir, good morning. Sir, just one quick question. There are reports na meron daw pong minor who survived the massacre who was arrested by police. Do you have any information about this? Will you confirm this?

GEN. GALVEZ: Iyon po ang isa sa mga witness natin.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Isa sa witness, sir?

GEN. GALVEZ: Yes, kasama po ang DSWD po natin, kasi kapag po may minor, we need the DSWD. So, nagkaroon po sila ng social counseling.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So he was not arrested. He is one of the witnesses?

GEN. GALVEZ: Hindi po, protected custody po at saka ano po, actually po… suppose to be iyong dalawa talagang meron silang… possibly gusto niyang makuha iyon. Kaya iyon ang doubt namin, bakit gusto nilang makuha. So iyon ang ano—kaya nga sabi nga namin na protektahan natin ito, kasi nga iyong nine families, they requested na iyong burol doon na lang sa city, kasi they are afraid of their lives.

So iyong dalawa, sinamahan lang ng mga sundalo so that we can secure them. But most of them, they wanted that the wake will be at Sagay ano. And the Governor and the Mayor are very helpful na they will provide all the necessary needs ng ating mga namatayan.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, off topic po ito and I know this is something developing in the US. I don’t know if you have already heard of reports that suspected explosive devices were mailed to former high ranking officials in the US and even a media network. I was just wondering if you think that terrorist here in the Philippines are also capable of doing such. And if so, how serious is this threat?

GEN. GALVEZ: Yes. Nakita natin iyong tinatawag natin na ganitong klase na pamamaraan ng terrorism is all possible. Ang nakita natin sa Basilan nung nagkaroon kami ng extensive investigation of Basilan. This is the first time also that a van has been obliterated completely, wala kang makitang chassis, wala kang makitang ano. So this is very dangerous, because it is a car bomb, first time that we have a reported suicide bomber at the same time the van has been completely obliterated.

So there are many instances that the ISIS is using even drone, we have captured some documents that they are also experimenting on drone borne explosives to be dropped to the target. So meaning, iyong ating kalaban – when we fought in Marawi, I personally fought in Marawi – they are also techi… they are very techi. So meaning, talagang iyong mga ano, first time na nakita namin na have also drones, they have also some technical equipment in conducting surveillance against us.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: sir, iyong nagpapadala directly to specific targets presumed to be, let’s say, critical of the government. What do you think about that?

GEN. GALVEZ: Yes, possible iyon. Kasi iyong tinatawag nating, iyong letter bomb has been there, since iyong nakita natin—based on my studies on terrorism has been there maybe ten years ago pa, ginagamit na nila iyon. So, sa akin, I believe it’s possible, kaya that is why we have to be vigilant, really very vigilant specially the different agencies like iyong Post Master General and also iyong sa ating mga tinatawag nating sa Customs, sa BI, etc.

ROCKY: Okay, maraming salamat, Ina. Thank you, AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez.

GEN. GALVEZ: Thank you, General. Thank you very much for being here. We will excuse the General.

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN NEWS. COM: Hi sir, good morning. Sir, President Duterte yesterday said na iyong online, online bingo it will be suppressed no gambling. Did he mean to say, all forms of online gambling, including iyong may license po?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean license?

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN NEWS. COM: Opo, did he mean all forms of online gambling.

SEC. PANELO: I think he refers only to the online gambling. Those who have been granted licenses, I don’t think—

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN NEWS. COM: So, sir iyong illegal lang?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah.

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN NEWS. COM: Kasi, sir, may concern po iyong property sector regarding this, kasi big po iyong po offshore gaming in the Philippines. So, do you intend to allay concerns about this pronouncement by the President, sir?

SEC. PANELO: As far as I know, that refers only to illegal online gambling. I will check on that I will ask the President.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir, iyong sa statement ng Pangulo kahapon, pina-order niya ng arestuhin si Guban. Paano pong basis nung pag-aresto, saka doon sa ibang grupo, iyong kasama sa matrix. Ano ba ito may warrantless arrest. Dapat ba may kaso, puwede mag-order ang Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: No, actually, when he did that the assumption is there was pending warrant of his arrest. Dahil kung meron i-enforce mo lang iyon. Now, kung wala, the directive of the President is just bring him to the NBI so that he will be investigated. Hindi, directed lang naman kay ano iyon eh, kay Guban. Wala siyang binanggit na iba. But right now, he is in the House because of contempt.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Secretary, si Senior Inspector Sofia Deliu, ano po ba ang magiging function talaga niya, siya po ba iyong magiging SAP or papalit lamang bilang aide kay Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: She is the Presidential Aide and at the same time the goddaughter of the President being Ninong to her wedding, including me, mga inaanak namin sa kasal. So she will be there.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Pero paano po ang magiging ano niya—

SEC. PANELO: Presidential aide. That’s the title.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Hindi po ito parang Special Assistant to the President?

SEC. PANELO: No.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: So, ano po ang magiging main task niya bilang Presidential Aide, siya iyong taga—

SEC. PANELO: Whatever task is assigned to her by the President.

Q: Sir, last na lang po. May nagpapatanong lang po ano. Doon po sa TRAIN Law, ‘di po ba iyong second tranche ng excise tax ay ihu-hold muna sa 2019, paano daw po ang magiging mekanismo nito? Ang Pangulo lang ba ang maglalabas ng EO or AO, or kailangan pa ng concurrence ng Congress?

SEC. PANELO: Well, according to—mayroon kasing sinasabi sila na baka may … titingnan muna iyong three months. Depende kasi sa global price ng oil. Kung bumagsak, so hindi na kailangan – so depende.

Q: Magkaka-EO pa ba ang Pangulo o hindi na?

SEC. PANELO: Depende siguro.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Secretary, you issued a statement yesterday, saying the DBCC already submitted the recommendation to suspend the next round of oil excise tax hike, tama, Sec?

SEC. PANELO: The what?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: You issued a statement yesterday saying the DBCC already submitted its recommendation on the next round of excise tax hike.

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: And then you said, the President will have to decide on it. So ibig sabihin, posible pa rin na hindi i-suspend?

SEC. PANELO: It depends to the President. But most likely, since that is the recommendation and he always defer to the recommendation of his people then most likely he will do it.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Okay, kasi klinarify [clarify] ko lang. Ang sabi ninyo kanina, depende baka bumaba iyong oil. And then the DoF said tuloy pa rin iyon kahit … so most likely ay isu-suspend pa rin.

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, kapag iyon ang rekomendasyon ng economic managers, sigurado iyon.

MODERATOR: Sir, from Pia Rañada. Does the Palace see conflict of interest arising from the franchise grant for the Villar-owned Streamtech Systems Technology? Mark Villar is in the Cabinet; Cynthia Villar is a Senator. Constitution prohibits such officials from having financial interest in franchises.

SEC. PANELO: First, the Streamtech is a corporation, so we do not know whether or not this Cabinet member and the Senator are included in the list of stockholders in that corporation.

Secondly, that has been granted by Congress. And so I suppose, members of Congress have considered the provision of the Constitution, as well as the ownership of that particular corporation.

What—to my mind is more important is that we have a third company that will compete to others and that will bring some benefits to us – those using this technology.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, good morning. Sir, may we have an update about the vacancies in the government? Mayroon na po bang in-appoint ang Presidente na kapalit ng mga nag-file ng candidacy?

SEC. PANELO: I asked him the other night when we were in Davao. And he said, he will be soon announced it – most likely, next week.

MODERATOR: No more questions? Okay, thank you, Presidential Spokesperson—

SEC. PANELO: No, before that, let me—because there were questions regarding Ms. Nora Aunor. I’ve been barraged with questions. So I’m issuing a statement and I will read them nicely:

“The artistical and musical legend that is Nora Aunor may not have passed the critical eyes of a select juror and the awarding authority, to be bestowed the National Artist award but her enrapturing film artistry and musicality and mass acceptance surpass any technical recognition given by any entity or authority. Her phenomenal rise to movie and musical stardom that counted a generation of shrieking and adoring fans unparalleled in the movie and music industry is a walking testament to her mesmerizing artistry and singing voice and the people’s acceptance. Nora Aunor truly is the crowned people’s artist.

Ms. Nora Aunor is still young and in God’s perfect time we are optimistic that she will be proclaimed as a National Artist. Her non-inclusion does not diminish her iconic stature as the country’s Superstar and her significant contributions to film, theater, television and music industries.

Her non-inclusion should be viewed as to spare Ms. Nora Aunor from the emotional and psychological torment she will go through as a result from the barrage of mixed reactions the award will bring. As she herself, stated in her statement, and I will quote her:
“Ano ba naman ang isang award kung ang kapalit nito ay paulit-ulit na paghamak sa pagkatao ko at sa mga taong naniniwala sa akin.”
“Sapat na po sa akin ang respetong natatanggap ko sa mga kasamahan ko sa trabaho.”
That’s it. Thank you. Who will go to Boracay? Yeah, I’m flying there.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, just a clarification. Iyon pong decision nang hindi pagsama kay Ms. Nora Aunor is the sole decision of the President, right? So does it has something to do with the issue on drugs because that was the issue before during the time of Noynoy?

SEC. PANELO: I’m not aware of that. What I know is that, iyong—kasi pinagtanong ko rin iyong ano, kung anong naging process ng nomination. She was nominated and then … dalawang entities ang nagbubotohan diyan eh – Cultural Center of the Philippines tapos may isa pa. And she got the majority vote, hindi naman unanimous. So mayroon ding juror na naniniwalang hindi siya ano.

But of course, the power and the privilege to appoint rest on the President, so discretionary iyon.

##

Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)

 

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