Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing

SWEEDEN VELADO/PTV4:  Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Welcome to the Palace Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Good morning, sir. 

SEC. ROQUE:  Good morning Pilipinas, and good morning to the ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps.

First, we welcome the statement of Cardinal Tagle urging Catholics to respect the views of other religions including atheists. Alamnamanponatinnamagkakaibaangatingpaniniwala, kaya sananamanrespetuhinnatinangpagkakaibanaito. NananawaganpoangPangulo ng isangdayalogosaSimbahan at itonapoangatingginagawa. Nag-usaptayopo para saDiyos at bayan.

Good news – local and foreign tourists will soon be welcomed by a new modern air bridges at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. The MIAA or the Manila International Airport Authority has started implementing Phase 1 of the replacement projects for old passenger boarding bridges this week. Phase 1 of the project includes the replacement of nine units which is expected to be completed by December of this year. Phase 2 on the other hand, includes the replacement of eleven boarding bridges.

And good news to our farmers and agricultural researchers – the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Rice Research Institute approved the construction of a Crop Biotechnology Center in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. Once completed next year, the research center is expected to be the hub for implementing effective and efficient agricultural biotechnology research and development agenda which will help our farmers in cultivating their crops.

The President designated a fourth member to the committee to hold dialogues with the different Churches. Cabinet Secretary Evasco, Jr. was appointed the fourth member of this presidential committee.

Questions please…

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Hi sir, good morning. Sir, why is there a need for a fourth member? Why did the President decide to add Secretary Evasco?

SEC. ROQUE:  No information. I was just informed very late last night, that he will be the fourth member.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  What will be his contribution, sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, I suppose his contribution is because he’s an ex-priest himself ‘no and he’s familiar with the dogma of the Catholic Church.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  And sir, may we have an update regarding the dialogue of the committee with the religious groups yesterday?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well the invitation was just received apparently; I just received the Viber copy of the invitation. I don’t think at this point that the President will be attending the event. But then again, until the Office of the President actually says so, I’m not sure and I’m just wary that because the invitation came so late, the President already has fixed schedules ‘no. So I do not have any idea if the President will be able to attend, but at the same time we’re awaiting orders from PMS if the committee will be representing the President on Friday. So until now also, we have not had any formal request from the PMS to represent the President this Friday.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, you’re referring doonsa invitation ni Papal Nuncio?


MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  But even wala pa poiyong official announcement, will you be attending?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well I’d like to attend, except that I’m not really invited ‘no. And it is the President who’s invited, so I think PMS will have to communicate who will be attending on behalf of the President.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  How about sir the meeting of the committee with the CBCP?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, there’s no fixed date yet. Of course we’re giving priority to that, but they have an ongoing affair in Tagaytay which will last until this weekend ‘no. So we’re hoping to meet with the CBCP as early as next week.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, has the Catholic Church communicated; anopoiyong gusto nilangpag-usapandoonsa dialogue?

SEC. ROQUE:  Walanamanpo, other than I have read also the letter signed by Archbishop Tagle ‘no. And that’s why I opened this press briefing by reiterating what Archbishop Tagle said.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir in the dialogue, will the Palace be requesting the Catholic Church to tone down criticisms against President Duterte?

SEC. ROQUE:  I do not know what will transpire. But I have said in the past, that the reason tirades of the President come amidst two year’s worth of the tirades of the Catholic Church against the President ‘no. And that’s why perhaps it’s time to hold this dialogue.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  And what about sir iyong… you said before that the Catholic Church should look into allegations of abuse by priest. Kasamapobaiyon sir sapag-uusapan?

SEC. ROQUE:  You can’t divorce it, because you don’t have to be a trained psychologist to know that this is one fundamental issue that the President has, and it still has to be resolved ‘no. So whether we like it or not, the issue will have to be brought up in the dialogue.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Last nalang, sir. Anopoiyong end goal na gusto ng Panguloditoposa dialogue na ‘to? Does he want a situation where in both the Catholic Church and himself, para hindi mag—parangwalanang attacks, verbal attacks against each other?

SEC. ROQUE: Sa totoolangponoongnakalipasnadalawangtaonbagoitongmgabinitawangsalitaniPresidente, the President really expected better working relations with the Catholic Church. He’s against divorce, he’s against abortion, he’s against same-sex marriage ‘no. Parang perfect anonamansila ‘di ba, perfect—well, they seem to agree on what used to be contentious issues between government and the state [Church] ‘no. Siguronagkakaibasilasa family planning, peromalinawnamanangposisyon ng Presidenteroon – kailangan ‘yan for our development ‘no.

So he was hoping that as we move on the second year of his administration, that you know, the elections would have been forgotten and that he would have already been accepted ‘no by even those that did not vote or endorsed him as President. So, we’re still looking forward to this kind of cooperation.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Sir this morning, I think si Pastor Boy Saycon was quoted as saying that there are real destabilization and serious plots against the President. Can you expound on this?

SEC. ROQUE:  You’d have to ask him. All I will say is, I’ll talk to [laughs] Pastor Saycon and tell him about standard operating procedures of the Office of the Spokesperson now that he has joined the four-man panel ‘no. I’ll have to tell him to be more careful about what he says to the public and to the media, and that there is vetting processes ‘no before we’re able to say anything to the media. So I will discuss with him the communication protocols of the government.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Sir, in the past EDSA People Power, we know the role of COPA in People Power. Is the appointment of Pastor Saycon, as part of this, the administration’s way of quelling any destabilization effort?

SEC. ROQUE:  I don’t think so. I think Pastor Saycon was included, because we know that he has very clear lines of communication with many of our church leaders in the Catholic Church.


HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO:  Hi sir, good morning. Secretary may statement po this morning si Senator Trillanes, and sabiniya ‘drop the gimmick’ dawIyong—para sakaniya, gimmick langdawiyongginagawa ng—iyong committee napinorm (formed) poni President Duterte para mag-conduct ng dialogue. Dapatdaw sincere ang apology nagawinni President Duterte regarding doonsamganaging—iyongmga controversial remarks niya about the Bible, about…

SEC. ROQUE:  I think Senator Trillanes is entitled to his own opinion. I’m hardly surprised about this latest opinions, he’s had nothing good to say about the President. I think the feeling naman is mutual. So, no love lost there.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  Good morning, sir. Budget Secretary Diokno yesterday countered President Rodrigo Duterte saying hard facts would show that the economy is not in doldrums. So, where did the President get his facts to have this perception or impression about our economy?

SEC. ROQUE:  I think I have addressed this. The President was expressing a preference that the Build, Build, Build projects in the provinces be implemented faster. He has also shown impatience that the major projects appear to be taking long, and that’s why it’s a message everyone to double time in their effort to begin and finish the major infrastructure projects that we have lined up. We’re still aiming for a majority of these projects to be finished within the term of the President. And unless we start soon, we may not able to achieve that. I think that’s the message.

SHIELA FRIAS/IBC13:  Hi Sec., good morning po. SWS survey po regarding federalism, only one in four Filipinos are aware of federalism daw. Why do you think maliitpoiyong number, and is the information drive of the administration not enough to…?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well apparently, the information drive is not enough. We’ll need to work harder given that the shift to federalism is the cornerstone of the Duterte administration.

SHIELA FRIAS/IBC13:  Sir, paano pong work harder? What do you think the administration should do to…?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well I think, everyone in government ‘no should exert more effort in popularizing, number one, the need to shift to a federal form of government; its advantages to the people and its effect on the everyday lives of the common people ‘no. Although, nag-aantaykasinamataposiyong output ng Constitutional Commission ‘no. At ngayongpataposnasila, talaganamangkasamaposamandatonilaiyong dissemination ‘no at kung bakitsilanagpo-propose ng ganitongmgapagbabago.

So satinginkopo, expected din ‘yandahilmatatapos pa lamanganggawain ng Constitutional Commission at inaasahannatinnaiyongsusunodnamannayugto ng buhay ng komisyonna ‘yan ay iyongpagpapakalat ‘no kung anoiyongmgapagbabago at anoiyongbenepisyosataumbayan.

SHIELA FRIAS/IBC13:  Sir, last lang. Pero despite this, positive pa rinpobaiyong Palace na ma-push through pa riniyong federalism?

SEC. ROQUE:  That’s the cornerstone of the Duterte administration, together with the drive against corruption, the drive against illegal drugs, comfortable life for all, shift to federalism.

Q:  Sir, good morning. May statement kayo sir kahaponnasiPresidente ay iniimbitahan ng Papal Nuncio.

SEC. ROQUE: Para sa reception po tomorrow. Napag-usapannaponaminkanina ‘yan.

Q:  So confirmed po sir, may invitation letter napo?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well confirmed that there is an invitation, peroiyonnanga, it came so… close to the affair you know. The President normally accepts invitation months ahead of time. But we’ll see… If he’s not able to attend, we will await kung sinoiyongipadadala ng Office of the President to the affair.

Q:  Sir, bakitpo kaya inimbitahansiPangulo?

SEC. ROQUE:  Tanunginponatinsa Papal Nuncio ‘yan. Perosigurodahilsamgapangyayari recently, ninanais din siguro ng Simbahannamagkaroon ng dayalogo with the President.

JULIE AURELIO/INQUIRER:  Sir, just back to the destab comment of Pastor Boy Saycon. Are you not afraid that comments—off-hand comments like that might you know, jeopardize iyong dialogue nahindi pa nganagsisimula, lalona kung if you’ll put the Church on, let’s say, a defensive status?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well alammonaman, kasiwala pa akongpagkakataoni-discuss kay Boy iyong Palace protocol on communication. Para din ‘yaniyongmga dating bagitosagobyerno. I remember, we’ve also had to brief Commissioner Belgica on Palace protocols on communication ‘no.  So siguroanolang ‘yan, dahilbagito pa langsagobyerno, so we will give them a thorough briefing on how we go about releasing information to the public.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Pero sir hindiiyonanginiisip ng government nadestabiyongginagawa ng simbahan?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi po, hindipo. In the first place kampantepoangPresidentesakaniyangpananampalataya, kampanteangsimbahansakanilangmisyonsabayangito. Angninanaislangnatin para iyongdalawanginstitusyon ay makapagsilbi ng mas mabuti para saatinglipunan.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Bakitsi Pastor Boy Sayconbeteranonasiyasapulitika—sa political strategies? He knows what he is saying sir? So where do you think he is coming from and paanomoito ire-rely ditosa recent attempt to talk with the Catholic Church especially this weekend mayroon—at this time mayroonpalasilang conclave saTagaytay?

SEC. ROQUE:  Tina as I said, he didn’t even talk to the media in my presence. He talked to the media after our meeting with the PCEC ‘no. So hindikotalagaalam kung saannanggalingiyongimpormasyon. But I can assure you we will have briefing for him on the release of communication for public consumption.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Hi Sec., magandangtanghalipo.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes Henry.

HENRY/DZRH: You’re calling Pastor Boy Saycon as Bagito right?

SEC. ROQUE:  Bagitoposaadministrasyonnaito—


SEC. ROQUE: At sakaiyong established communication protocols natin.

HENRY/DZRH: Hindi namanpoibigsabihinnakikipag-deal at isinama ng gruponinyoangisangbagitosapakikipag-usapsamaselangbagay?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po, angsinasabikolang eh bihasanamansiyadahilmalalimangkaniyangrelasyonsailangmganamumunosasimbahangKatolika. Angsinasabikolang ay mag-uusapmuna kami sa Communication protocols kasi each administration has its own protocols bagosila mag-release ‘no. Perongayonpotalaga I can assure you that OPS—minsannganaiinis kayo dahilmabagal kami but we go through a process before we release information for public consumption and we will have to leave with the process as well.

HENRY/DZRH:  Anopoang specific rule naibinigay ng Palasyo at ng grupoponinyo kay Pastor Boy Saycon?

SEC. ROQUE: Walanamanpo but we would like to tap his network of—kumbaga relations with the Church leaders in the Catholic Church.

HENRY/DZRH: Alright, thank you sir.

DEXTER GANIBE/DZMM: Hi Sec., good morning.

SEC. ROQUE: Yes, good morning.

DEXTER/DZMM:  Sir, anoangpananaw ng Palasyodoonsaisinusulongnapag-imbestiga ng House o kaya ng Senate doonsa anti-tambay campaign ng administrasyon?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, sabinganiPresidente kung tinginninyoiligaliyan, kuwestiyuninninyonaakosaHukuman, perolahatnamanpo ng imbestigasyon ay katungkulaniyan ng Kongreso – parehongkapulungan ng Kongreso. Lalung-lalona kung silapo ay bubuo ng batas para lalong mas mabutiangimplementasyon ng ninanaismakamit ng atingPresidente. So we welcome the Congressional investigations and we welcome also challenges before the Supreme Court. The President has said so.

DEXTER/DZMM:  Hindi poba may batasna decriminalizing vagrancy?

SEC. ROQUE:  We are not criminalizing vagrancy po. We are implementing the laws and ordinances and it is a form of higher police visibility intended to act as deterrent towards the commission of crimes.

DEXTER/DZMM:  Kasiiyongibapo ay napagmumulta or may mgaginagawang community service or pagmulta—

SEC. ROQUE:  Eh saordinansapokasiiyonbakaiyonangsabi ng ordinansa.

DEXTER/DZMM: Perohindipobasiyasaklaw ng decriminalization of vagrancy?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi po, hindipo. Ang decriminalization lang is a particular crime of vagrancy under the Revised Penal Code that’s without prejudice to other existing ordinances.

DEXTER/DZMM:  Thank you.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  Sir, peace and order related. Sir, iyong arming of the barangays anong update at saka—

SEC. ROQUE:  Pinag-aaralan pa rinpo.

TINA/PHIL. STAR: Does it mean the government will issue firearms sa barangays?

SEC. ROQUE: Gaya ng sinabikopinag-aaralan pa langpero kung ipatutupadpoiyansabi ng Presidente, iniisipniya .22 para hindimasyadongmalakaspero sufficient to maintain peace and order. But the President although he has said this publically in the different meetings and the oath taking ceremonies of the different barangay captains, sinasabinamantalaganiyapinag-aaralan pa riniyan. So hintayinnatinnamataposiyongproseso.

TINA/PHIL. STAR: Sir, if we have 42,000 barangays all over the country at least 42,000 barangay captains iyonnaaarmahan?

SEC. ROQUE: Angdamingapo. [laughs].

TINA/PHIL. STAR: And then times five kung ilannamanangmga barangay tanod pa?

SEC. ROQUE: Kaya ngapoisaiyansakinokonsiderakasi halos taposnariniyong budget naisusumitesa State of the Nation Address ‘no, kung wala pong ganiyangnaisingitna budget, siyemprehindimapopondohan ‘no. So hayaanponatinna mag-usapusapangiba’tibangsangay ng gobyernotungkoldito.

Q: Sir, follow up langsa question ni Tina. You said—previously it has been said that there are safeguards to avoid naiyongmgabaril ay mai-isyusamga barangay captain with links to illegal drugs. Anoiyongmga safeguards in place to ensure nahindinilaaabusuhiniyongpaghawak ng armas even if they are not linked to illegal drugs?

SEC. ROQUE:  I think the grant gun license and a permit to carry is still a matter of discretion as far as the PNP is concerned. So siyempre kung nasalistahanka ng narcolisthindi kana mabibigyan, huwagkanangumasa, isapoiyansa basic safeguards.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, going back langdoonsa issues on religious group. I understand that there will be a dialogue between the committee and the religious groups. But may we just have your opinion regarding the statement of National Council of Churches saying that while they recognized the freedom of expression, it seems that the President is using his prerogative to attack the faith and belief, which is for them very discriminatory and disrespectful?

SEC. ROQUE:  That’s their opinion. Sabikongalahatnoongmgahindisumasang-ayonsasinabiniPresidente, puwede pong pulaansiya and that is one response to the President’s remarks. Let that be in the free market place of ideas.

MARICEL/TV5:  And sir just to reiterate. Don’t you see any reason for the President to recant his statement?

SEC. ROQUE:  No, anyone is free to say whatever he wants particularly on the issue of faith. Walapokamingpinagsasabihannahuwagmagsalita. So the same standard should be applicable to the President.

MARICEL/TV5:  And is there a reason for the President to ask for an apology? Will he ask?

SEC. ROQUE: Sinagotkonapoiyan. A matter of faith is never the subject of an apology or the lack of faith.

MARICEL/TV5:  Thank you sir.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Hi Sec., may sinabipoulitsi Senator Trillanes. I’ll read langpo. Baka raw may sungayangDiyosniDutertekahitdawlumuhodsaasinangmgaemisaryoniDutertesa dialogue walangkuwentakasihindinamansilaangnagsalita against God.

SEC. ROQUE:  Ewan kobaparangnagiging specialist na on the devil itongsi Senator Trillanes. Wala ng sinabi kung hindi devil. So I’ll leave it to him as the specialist on what the devil does. Okay?

IAN/GMA7:  Secretary may isangreaksiyon pa poako. May study poiyong Capital Economics, angsinabiponila, ‘President Duterte is erratic and crass leadership’, iyonngapo, putting off investors. Ano pong masasabininyo?

SEC. ROQUE:  Sorry, for the past two years, we’ve been the second fastest growing economy in Asia. We have been number one in manufacturing and we have had recorded number of foreign investments. So the criticism is not supported—what has been happening in the country.

Q:  Hi sir. Sir, how long will this discussion with the Church take because you just got a fourth member, so anoiyong target date ninyo to—?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, apparently ngakahaponlumabasnamayroong Executive Order 62 and I’m asking my staff to get a copy of EO 62 issued by President Corazon Aquino which has not been revoked. And because of this there is a formal mechanism created by law, because President Cory Aquino was exercising legislative powers then, constituting a permanent body to conduct dialogues with the Church. So apparently, this is part and parcel of government until the Executive Order is revoked. So perhaps it’s a matter of fine-tuning really or merging the initiative of the President to form a committee to dialogue and to implement an existing EO that has not been revoked. So, how long? Well, it’s part of governance already because there’s an EO creating a body tasked to conduct these dialogues.

Q:  But the end goal is to have a dialogue with the President?

SEC. ROQUE: No. The end goal is for both institutions to work together, to serve society in genre.

Q:  So you expect an agreement to be forged after these dialogues sir?

SEC. ROQUE: We want closer cooperation not just on Dogmas, we want cooperation in the field of anti-drugs, on reducing poverty, on land reform, on issues that affect human beings which both the Church and the State should be involved in.

Q:  Thank you.

Q:  Sec., just follow up langpo. So will there be another member po or some members – additional member ng task force?

SEC. ROQUE:  That really depends on the President. I get the information directly from the President.

Q:  Like lumalabas din poiyongmga names like Brother Eddie Villanueva or iyongmgakaibiganniya pa pong mga Pastor?

SEC. ROQUE: To join the committee or?

Q: Bakalangpokasamasiya?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi kopoalamiyan. It’s all up to the President.

Siguro let’s wrap up ha kasi I’m going to go to Cebu as well.

Q: May EO sir, can you enlighten us – hindibaiyan in conflict with the separation of the Church and state?

SEC. ROQUE: No. As I said separation of Church and States involves two things. Number one, absolute freedom to believe and number two, a guarantee that the Church will not support a particular—the State will not support a particular Church which is the non-establishment clause. But of course the goal to work together with Churches that promote morality and society is never a contravention of the Constitution. In any case it’s a commitment to work with all Churches and all faith. Anobaito? So this is EO 62, hindiito, hindiiyan. [laughs]. Okay? No questions?

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  Hi Sir. May proposal posi Secretary Bello namagkaroon din po ng 200 financial assistance angmga minimum wage earners dahil din posa TRAIN. So puwedekamingmakahingi ng feedback or reaction from the Palace?

SEC. ROQUE: Mayroonnamanpotalaga eh, 200 talagaiyongnasa law mismo—

ROSALIE/UNTV: No sir. Aside from the UCT and the 4Ps iba pa poiyongsa minimum wage earners na 4.1 million minimum wage earners nationwide? 

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi kopoalam kung anongestadoniyankasi it’s already June ‘no parangtaposnaiyong proposed budget for 2019 kasisina-submit poiyan traditionally in time for SONA. So tingnanponatin kung anongmapagkakasunduan. We will have one final Cabinet meeting before the SONA so baka ma-discuss poiyan at baka ma-include iyansa budget proposal ng Malacañang.

ROSALIE/UNTV: If in case hindipongayongtaonperomayroon pa naman pong susunodnataon; possible?

SEC. ROQUE:  Anything is possible but of course it has to be discussed and examined. Kasi, siyempre, nagtataastayo ng buwisdahil may mgaproyektonapaggagastusanpero kung magbibigaylangnamantayo ng benepisyo, ibigsabihinnanamanniyansaannatinkukuniniyongibibigaynating 200 pesos? So ibigsabihintataasnanamaniyongbuwis ‘no so kailanganbalansehinpo.

ROSALIE/UNTV:  So does that mean hindininyoposinusuportahan?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala pa poakongposisyon because it’s not for me to decide ‘no. As I said this is an idea broached by Secretary Bello. It will have to be discussed primarily by the economic team and we will await their recommendation on the proposal. Last nalangdaw, go last Julie.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER:  Sabi ng Spokesperson ng CBCP just now. Gusto sananila, President to President iyong mag-usap – so Archbishop Valles and President Duterte. Does the Palace think—it’s time for me to take my medicine—does the Palace think that’s possible, kasi the CBCP wants to gauge on how sincere the President will be in conducting the dialogue. Anong take ng Palace doon?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I do not know if your conclusion is right that they want to know how sincere. I don’t think the Church will ever stand in judgment on the sincerity of anyone. At least I believe as much in the Church. So if it’s a President to President meeting, good because they are both from Davao. So I do not know if the Spokesperson has in fact and said, that if the President cannot come, we don’t have to go this Friday ‘no. I will take it as that ‘no. So I make plans for Friday. Okay? Thank you.

SWEEDEN VELADO/PTV4: Thank you very much Secretary Harry Roque, Presidential Spokesperson and thank you also Malacañang Press Corps. Back to the main studio of RadyoPilipinas and PTV4.


Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau)