Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing
Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Good morning Malacañang Press Corps, welcome sa PTV at siyempre welcome sa regular press briefing ni 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.

Good news – A total of 195.7 billion worth of investment approvals were reported by the Philippine Board of Investments for the months of January to April this year. This is 28% higher compared to 153.1 billion of the same period in 2017. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, renewable energy, power sector remains the biggest source of investments, followed by the transportation and storage sector.

Good news again – The Department of Agriculture has recently launched the new Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund loaning program with an initial budget of 4 billion pesos. Under the new ACEF loaning program, applicants from the agricultural and fisheries sector can avail of a maximum of one million for individual borrowers, and five million for association’s cooperatives with only a 2% interest per annum. In addition, it will be supervised by an Executive Committee headed by the DA. Applications will be managed by the Landbank of the Philippines. The DA will be ready to assist applicants in preparing their documents to be submitted to the Landbank of the Philippines.

Magandang balita po para sa mga magsasaka na gustong magnegosyo sa Cebu. The Department of Agrarian Reform together with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Training Institute and the local government units in Carmen, Toledo City and Colonia, Tuburan in the Province of Cebu launched the Farm Business School Program in the areas. The program covers 25 sessions of farm business sector for 4 months focusing on the business side of agriculture.

That’s our good news for today. Questions?

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Okay. Secretary, we’d like to welcome Mayor Magno Waylan of Santol, La Union. Welcome po sa press briefing.

SEC. ROQUE:  Welcome, Mayor.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Good morning, sir.

SEC. ROQUE:  Good morning, Rose.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, as Presidential Adviser on Human Rights, ano po iyong reaction ninyo doon sa pagkamatay ni Father Mark Ventura noong Linggo, at noong Lunes naman po eh pinaslang iyong isang broadcaster sa Dumaguete?

SEC. ROQUE:  Naku, kinokondena po natin lahat ng patayan na ‘yan at sinisiguro ko naman po na ang gobyerno po ay gumagawa ng hakbang para tuparin ang kaniyang responsibilidad ‘no, iimbestigahan po natin ‘yan, lilitisin at paparusahan ang mga pumapatay. Doon po sa miyembro ng media, eh mayroon nga po tayong Task Force on Media Security, si Undersecretary Egco po ay ang siyang namumuno ng task force na ‘yan at ‘yan po’y bibigyan ng prayoridad ng ating pamahalaan.

As of the last report that I had, mayroon na po tayong 8 convictions dahil po sa mga aktibidades ng task force at isa po ‘to sa mga kaso na aktibo na iimbestigahan at lilitisin natin.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, sa siyam na kaso ng pagkamatay ng mamamahayag sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte, wala pa pong conviction doon iyong mga, siguro po’y nabanggit ninyo iyong mga nakalipas pa.

SEC. ROQUE:  Siyempre po, dahil dalawa pa lang naman pong taon ang programa ni Presidente Duterte, pero hindi po natin binabaon sa limot iyong mga namatay na mga mamamahayag. At ang paninindigan po talaga natin, magkakaroon po talaga ng puspusang paglilitis at talagang paparusahan ang mga pumapatay sa lahat, lalong-lalo na po sa pumapatay sa media at mga taong mga nananampalataya.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, last na lang po. Ano po iyong proteksiyon na puwedeng maibigay ng estado sa fourth estate at sa mga taong simbahan po dahil sa dalawang pari po iyong pinatay sa loob ng apat na buwan?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well unang-una po ‘no, mayroon po tayong task force; kung kinakailangan po ng security, magbibigay po ng security ang ating pamahalaan doon sa may mga banta sa kanilang mga buhay.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Kahit sino po puwedeng lumapit?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well siyempre po, magkakaroon muna ng imbestigasyon kung mayroon po talagang credible threat; at kung mayroon po, bibigyan po natin sila ng security.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  Good morning sir, related lang po. Sabi po ng NUJP at Philippine Center for Journalism, mas lumala daw po iyong kaso ng mga pag-atake sa mga media personnel under the Duterte administration.

SEC. ROQUE:  Well I dispute that po, kasi pagdating sa patayan bumaba po talaga ang patayan sa Pilipinas, at bumaba po ang ranggo ng Pilipinas doon sa mga listahan ng most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Let’s give credit where it is due.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  Pero sir, under the two years leadership po ng Pangulo, 85 various cases of attacks against journalists na po iyong naitala nila.

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi ko po alam kung anong classification ang ibig sabihin ng ‘attacks’. Baka naman pati verbal attacks kasama diyan. So hindi ko po talaga alam kung ano ang ‘attacks’ na ibig sabihin nila. Let me clarify what they mean by that.

Happy Press Freedom Day ‘no.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Hi, sir. Sir sa Kuwait, what’s the status of our diplomats there now?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, I defer actually on anything on Kuwait to the Department of Foreign Affairs because I have no information of what is happening in Kuwait right now.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Oo. Parang na-stuck yata sila doon.

SEC. ROQUE:  I have no first hand information, not even second hand information. I would have to refer you to the Department of Foreign Affairs now.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, may calls for Secretary Cayetano to resign.

SEC. ROQUE:  That call is addressed to Secretary Cayetano; he should address it. As far as the Palace is concerned, there’s no reason for him to resign.


SEC. ROQUE:  Because I think he still has the full trust and confidence of the President, and I think what we have in Kuwait is something that can be overcome eventually… sooner or later.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  To the President or the Palace’ mind ‘no, what is the root cause of the problem? Because prior to this, we would have—mayroon nakaamba na MOU ‘di ba, and then this happened. What was the root cause in your analysis?

SEC. ROQUE:  I don’t think I’m in a position to actually state what was the root cause of the problem in Kuwait ‘no. What I’m saying is, you know, like any relationship… there are kinks in our relationship with other countries; this is one of those kinks.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Uhum. Kuwait is not happy with the way it was publicized on social media, I think that’s the problem ‘no? It was posted on Facebook and they didn’t appreciate that.

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, I do not know. I cannot speak for the Kuwaitis. See, I cannot read their minds. They have not actually said what the root cause of their displeasure is. They have taken steps to make it very clear that they are displeased, but they have not actually said in very clear language what was it that really offended them – that’s why the apology was for whatever reason that may have caused offense to them ‘no, that was apology given by Secretary Cayetano. So I cannot speak for the Kuwaitis, but Secretary Cayetano has apologized, and we’re hoping to normalize ties with Kuwait soon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Last night you said that there were 38 rescues; 35 were coordinated; the 3 were not. Bakit hindi na-coordinate iyon?

SEC. ROQUE:  It was Secretary Cayetano who said this. Please direct the question to Secretary Cayetano.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Do you see something objectionable to posting rescue operations—uncoordinated rescue operations on Facebook as a matter of principle?

SEC. ROQUE:  I do not know the circumstance. I do not know if what was posted was one of those which was not accompanied by Kuwaiti authorities. So, I cannot comment on something that I do not know the facts ‘no. So if you can tell me exactly what incident you’re referring to, then perhaps I could comment. But now, there were 38 incidents; I don’t know what comment you want.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  There was one particular video, isang babae… I mean if you can see in the video na nakaabang iyong sasakyan natin, embassy, tapos lalabas iyong babae, may lalaki na susundo sa kaniya – that was posted in the video—on Facebook. That’s one of the particular cases of the three I think.

SEC. ROQUE:  I haven’t seen the video. I’ll watch it, promise.


ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Sir, kay Pia Rañada lang, follow up. Does the President plan daw to hold accountable any official over the incident?

SEC. ROQUE:  We’re deferring to Secretary Cayetano for the time being. It is his subordinates…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Secretary Cayetano is investigating iyong incident that involved one of his people.

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, it is his department that should investigate it at the first instance.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Do we expect some fairness?

SEC. ROQUE:  I suppose, yes! Because he is a lawyer ‘no, he should know. We await for his official actions, and we defer to him for his judgment on what to do with his people.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN:   Sir, you are leaving for Kuwait next week?

SEC. ROQUE:  Not sure.

GENALYN/ MANILA BULLETIN:  Sir, may we know sino iyong mga kasama?

SEC. ROQUE:  Not sure. I don’t know what day, I don’t know—nothing is set. Well we don’t know what exactly the date is. We don’t know—nothing is etched in stone, we not no tickets, nothing. We are hoping, not sure yet.

GENALYN/ MANILA BULLETIN:  Sir, if you push through with the trip, what’s the agenda of the trip? Are you hopeful the conflict will be—

SEC. ROQUE:  I think Secretary Bello already said that it would be an assessment mission; it would to further our communications with the Kuwaiti authorities; it would be to see how to move forward with our bilateral ties; it would be to see what would be the future of the MOA, if any. So, it’s really exploratory. We want to feel the water, so to speak.    

ROSE COZ/UNTV:  I guess parang na-report po sa KUNA, sa Kuwait News Agency na nagpunta ang Presidential Adviser on Migrant Workers?

SEC. ROQUE:  I heard that from the media myself. So, I have no personal information on what he has done or what he has not done.

ROSE COZ/UNTV:  So, walang nakarating na report to the President?

SEC. ROQUE:  None so far. But he is also a Muslim ‘no.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Follow up lang po sa Kuwait at saka, sir, ito pang ano. Sir, nakikita n’yo po bang may pangangailangan talaga na ilagay sa social media iyong mga ginagawa ng opisyal ng gobyerno na pag ganap naman sa kanilang tungkulin? Katulad po nitong nangyari na parang hindi po nakabuti, kahit mabuti po iyong intension, nakasama po sa relasyon natin sa isang bansa.

SEC. ROQUE:  Again po. I’m sure the matter is being looked into by the DFA Secretary. I do not want to preempt to him. So, I defer to him for the time being. And I will watch this video, I haven’t seen the videos, believe or not. I do not know where to go.

ROSE/HATAW:  So walang order ang Pangulo tungkol po doon sa pagpo-post sa social media ng mga government officials ng kanilang mga ginagawa naman na nilang mga trabaho? Eh kahit naman hindi po siguro sa social media iyon, kung talagang nagtatrabaho, mararamdaman ho iyon ng mamamayan hindi ho ba?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, sa aking opisina, iisa lang ang aming webpage, iisa lang iyong aming Facebook. So, medyo binabantayan ko rin kung ano iyong napo-post doon. But I can only speak for the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson.

AC NICHOLLS/CNN PHILS:  Sir, can you confirm if Secretary Andanar will be among those investigated re the ads placed on PTV, iyong DOT ads?

SEC. ROQUE:  You know, when I confirm that there was an investigation on DOT in the last press briefing that we had, of course it will be an investigation that would cover everyone. I leave the statement of SAP Bong Go for whatever it is worth. He was the one quoted as having said that Secretary Andanar is part of that. So, I’ll let it be.

AC NICHOLLS/CNN PHILS:  But do you think for the probe to be fair, that it should include Secretary Andanar, since under his supervision iyong PTV?

SEC. ROQUE:  I reserve judgment on the matter, because it’s being investigated by the Office of the President.

NESTOR CORALES/INQ. NET:  Good morning, sir. Sir, the President yesterday rejected calls to withdraw the government’s order for Sister Fox to leave the Philippines. Is this final?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, that’s the law and I think unless they appeal or challenge that order of the CID, unless they get a TRO from the CA that it is grave abuse of discretion then it is final and executory.

NESTOR/INQ.NET:  Sir, last Monday, you mentioned na supposed to be ngayon iyong meeting ni President Duterte with San Beda Lawyers. Pero sa speech niya kahapon, parang nakapag-usap na po sila. Tapos na po ba iyong meeting, sir or—    

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi ko sure. Wala pa, wala pa, wala pa.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, clarification. Who is doing the investigation?

SEC. ROQUE:  Office of the President.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  OP and when do you expect the result?

SEC. ROQUE:  No time table. Because, you know, this is just administrative informal ‘no, because it involves people who serve at the pleasure of the President.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Right now, does she still enjoy the President’s confidence, Secretary Teo?

SEC. ROQUE:  Every Cabinet member, unless they are fired, enjoys the trust and confidence of the President. 

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Alam na ni Presidente ito, sir?


JOSEPH/GMA7:  Ano, sabi?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala—hindi ko alam. Imbestigahan, tingnan.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Was he angry?

SEC. ROQUE:  I do not know. The truth of the matter is this is the longest time I have not seen the President, because I missed my flight to Cebu for Labor Day. I was supposed to fly at 11:45 in the evening, coming from Dagupan to attend an event as representative of the President. But I didn’t realize Dagupan is so far and I missed my flight. So, I have not seen the President. But I am going to Davao tomorrow. I hope to see him.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Do you think there’s something wrong there. Is this a corrupt practice?

SEC. ROQUE:  I reserve judgment, because it is being investigated by the Office of the President. It is a live… too live investigation ongoing, I should not comment.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  Sir, in the President’s speech yesterday. He mentioned he wants a second phase of land reform program and he wants to ask the Congress to help him?  Can you please expound on this plan of the President, pang nationwide ba ito?

SEC. ROQUE:  If there will have to be a law, because the first CAR Law had a time line, which is over ‘no. So there would have to be a second law to be passed by Congress.

ROCKY/PTV 4: From Pia Ranada, sir: What will Malacañang do about the COA report showing PhilHealth OIC Celestina Ma. Jude De la Serna spent over 600,000 in weekly travels and hotel stays given the President’s order to be frugal on government expenses especially on travel?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, I do not know if the Office of the President has actually received this information. But let me reiterate ‘no: All these reports are coming out, because the COA reports have been published. The COA reports are given to Congress, they are given to the Ombudsman. So ang apila ko lang po, lahat nitong mga COA report na ito, hindi naman dapat sa Presidente lang ang tinatanong kung ano ang gagawin ng Presidente. Talagang kung meron po talagang paglabag ng anti-graft law, ang constitutional body na dapat nag-i-imbestiga nito, even moto propio, should be the Ombudsman.

So I’m hoping that because the Ombudsman has been furnished a copy of all there reports that they will act on these reports.

Now—but as far as the question of Pia Ranada is concerned, I will forward the information now to the Office of the President and we’ll seek a clarification or a response from them whether or not they will investigate PhilHealth… Chair ba ito o President?

Q:  OIC.

SEC. ROQUE:  PhilHealth OIC. Naku OIC pa lang, meron pa lang eh.

ROSE/HATAW:  Follow up lang doon, sir. Sir, noong February nagpaabot po ng liham iyong PhilHealth Employees Association sa Office of the President na nakadetalye po lahat iyong diumano’y anomalya sa PhilHealth. So palagay—

SEC. ROQUE:  Okay, I will follow up with the Office of the President on the status of the complaint reiterating that it was asked again today in the Press Briefing.

AC NICHOLLS/CNN PHILS:  Sir, quick lang about—

SEC. ROQUE:  Please remind me on Monday ha, para meron na akong resulta kaagad ng clarification.

AC/CNN PHILS:  Sir, iyong sa DOT lang ulit. Can you tell us who from the OP is investigating?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wag naman, what’s the relevance. Hindi naman, it’s enough that there’s an investigation. It’s enough that there’s an investigation ongoing. Kayo naman ang dami ng mga reports na ganito na nakarating sa OP. May action naman, masyado naman kayong atat. Hayaan n’yo munang mag-imbestiga sandali at tingnan natin kung tama o mali. Oh, di ba. So, hayaan n’yo muna. May track record na po si Presidente. Ano pa ang gusto ninyo? So, baka naman mapre-predict ninyo kung ano ang mangyayari, ako hindi ko mapre-predict, dahil hindi ako manghuhula. Pero he has a track record of what he does when reports reached him and he’s convinced of this reports. Just wait for his final action.

Q:  From Tribune. Follow up lang, sir. Sir, is the administration feeling extra pressure regarding this DOT mess considering that some of the—those involved are powerful media personalities that are allied with the President?

SEC. ROQUE:  No, President has had to deal with his—the closest of his allies. The President lets them go. It is proven that they’re involved in graft and corruption. That’s the President’s track record, do I need to enumerate one by one? Hintayin lang natin ang gagawin ng ating Presidente. Hindi kay0 makahintay eh ‘no.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ang taas ng energy mo ngayon? [laughs]. Sir, sa COA ulit, PLLO naman. In 2016 they spent for their consultants 636,000 plus lang, in 2017 that jump to 4 million for consultants, 10 consultants and 20 contractual workers in just one year, 4 million—more than 3 million na-jump.

SEC. ROQUE:  Naku, alam ninyo sa totoo lang I’m appealing already because sa newly released, ito ba galing sa newly released COA report?


SEC. ROQUE:  Ganiyan kakapal po iyan, tatlong volumes pa nga yata iyan sa lahat ng ahensiya ng gobyerno iyan, may mga observation sila. Kung iisa-isahin ninyo akong tatanungin diyan, I would not know exactly what the President’s position is on each and every observation that COA has had for this past year that they publish, okay? So what I can do is iyon I can clarify what the Palace will do about this COA report, pero marami po talaga iyan. Ang aking apila lang po is kaya po iyan pina-publish at kaya may COA at kaya mayroon tayong Ombudsman, ang primary jurisdiction po diyan ay nasa Ombudsman.

So In fact unfortunately, hindi tayo Ombudsman, these should be asked of the Ombudsman. Anong gagawin niyan sa mga COA reports na ito dahil ang Presidente naman, yes we are for implementation of the law pero mayroon tayong batas na kapag may certain salary grade exclusive ang jurisdiction sa Ombudsman. So ang aking apila po lalo na siguro doon sa Press Corps sa Ombudsman, kasama po iyan ng House yata. Iisa lang iyong Press Corps doon, iyong dati kong mga kasama, pakitanong naman po sa Ombudsman nang hindi na ako tanungin dito ng Malacañang doon sa COA report, kasi napakadami po niyan hindi tayo matatapos diyan sa lahat ng each and every observation made by COA.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  So do you think if warranted, Ombudsman should file complaint?

SEC. ROQUE:  That’s why the COA exists and that’s why the Ombudsman exists. Let them file all the charges. Alam mo noong aktibista ako wala naman akong pinagkukunan kung hindi COA reports. Iyong fertilizer scam, lahat naman iyon galing sa COA report eh. Iyong Quedancor scam, galing iyon sa COA report. Ginagawa na ng COA iyong lahat ng trabaho ng mga aktibista, so iyon kunin na lang iyan.

JOSEPH/GMA7:  Okay. So let’s fine tune your statement sir. So, given the COA audit and then the Ombudsman’s job, you’re saying that Ombudsman should file including the ones noong findings on the DOT, yes?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, kung sapat. Kasi sometimes hindi sapat, hindi tumatayo sa Korte, okay. Sometimes you have to dig deeper. They can only give you indicias. So the Ombudsman has to investigate and has to do its own case buildup. You just can’t go to Court and say, here’s the report convict. No it doesn’t work that way.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN:  Good morning, Secretary. Sir, sinabi ninyo po kanina na may track record si Presidente na sinisibak iyong mga government officials na may whiff of corruption sabi nga niya. Pero mayroon din pong track record si Presidente na iyong mga sinibak niya ay hindi naman din nakakasuhan at may track record din ang Presidente na iyong mga sinibak niya ay ililipat lang din sa ibang tanggapan. Ano po ang inyong—

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala pong track record na ganoon ang Presidente. Unang una… Unang una ang pagpa-file po ng kaso sa mga lebel ng mga sinesante ni Presidente ay nasa exclusive jurisdiction na nga ng Ombudsman. Hindi ninyo ba naintindihan iyon? A certain salary grade, it is the Ombudsman that must investigate. Number two, iisa lang po iyong tao na na-reappoint. Wala na pong iba. Sino pa? Isa lang.

Q:  Pompee.

SEC. ROQUE:                   Pompee lang, iyon lang wala ng iba.

Q:  Faeldon.

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi naman nasibak si Faeldon, hindi ba inilipat lang talaga? He never resigned.

Q:  He was removed.

SEC. ROQUE:  No, he was not removed.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, follow up po. Excuse me. Sir, pero may itinayo pong Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission si Presidente so parang motu proprio din po sa kanila na mag-imbestiga maliban po sa Ombudsman hindi ba?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, bago pa naman sila ‘no. So itong mga lumalabas naman ito dahil sa COA report, hindi ba? Lahat naman ito sa COA report. So iba pa iyon, second level iyan. So please I take exception na may track record na re-reappoint. I don’t think so.

Q:  Thank you sir.

SEC. ROQUE:  Sueño has not been reappointed? Sino?

Q:  Mga walang kaso sir.

SEC. ROQUE:  Ang alam ko lang—eh kasi nga ang kaso nasa sa Ombudsman na iyan. Secretary iyan eh, exclusive jurisdiction is Ombudsman. Ano rin iyan, iyan na-imbestigahan na nga ng Ombudsman, o ano pang gusto ninyo? Nirekomendahan nang sampahan ng kaso, oh hindi ba? Ganiyan ang nangyari kapag ginawa ng Ombudsman ang trabaho niya. That’s the demarcation of functions.

Q:  Sir, ngayon po mayroong—nag-recommend po ang Ombudsman na sampahan ng kaso si Faeldon. Ano naman po ang gagawing aksiyon ng government dito?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala, eh dedepensahan niya kapag hindi niya nadepensahan makakasuhan siya. Hindi siya—

Q:  Pero hindi po ba—

SEC. ROQUE:  Kapag nakasuhan siya at na-found guilty siya, makukulong siya pang habang buhay. O anong gagawin natin diyan?

Q:  Hindi po ba ito ifo-force into leave ng Executive Department?

SEC. ROQUE:  Alam mo kapag nakasuhan iyan may automatic iyan.

Q:  Okay sir.

SEC. ROQUE:  Automatic iyan—

Q:  Force into leave?

SEC. ROQUE:  Kapag nakasuhan iyan sa Sandigan bayan may automatic iyan. Hindi ba alam ninyo iyan, 90 days?

Q:  Force into leave siya. Okay.

SEC. ROQUE:  At saka mayroon ding administrative iyan. Ombudsman has the power to dismiss him, administratively hindi lang criminally, hindi ba? Ganiyan talaga iyong—in our scheme of government, it’s really the Ombudsman that has this constitutional power.

Q:  Sir, good morning—

SEC. ROQUE:  Ang importante hindi po iyan kinikilingan ng Presidente. Hinahayaan ang Ombudsman, sige depensa kayo kung hindi kayo makadepensa makulong kayo, matanggal kayo. Ha?

Q: Ninong pa naman si Pangulo ng anak ni mister Faeldon. Paano iyan? Kawawa naman ang future ng baby, makulong ang tatay. Anyway sir may statement din—

SEC. ROQUE:  Masyado na kayong nag-e-enjoy sa press briefing natin ha. Nakikinig ang buong Pilipinas ha [laughs]. Nanonood sa atin ang buong mundo ha.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  Sir, si Presidente may statement the other day na magri-reach out siya kay Nur Misuari regarding the release of two female police captives. Any statement at mayroon daw ransom demand of 5 million. Ano po bang role ng gobyerno dito?

SEC. ROQUE:  Eh kasi ang balita ko ASG naman iyan eh. So—but we all know that the MNLF still has a presence in Sulu. So I think the President would want the MNLF to assist in the recovery of this two hostage victims.

TINA/PHIL. STAR:  Sir, there’s a demand of a 5 million ransom, will we bow to that pressure?

SEC. ROQUE:  As far as I know, we don’t pay ransom.

Q:  Sir, on EO 51 po. Reaction ninyo lang po to the claim of labor groups na walang teeth iyong EO and that they say na hindi nasunod iyong kagustuhan nila na maging general norm in hiring iyong direct hiring, hindi raw nasama iyon doon sa provision noong EO?

SEC. ROQUE:  Whether or not it’s there. That’s the norm under the Labor Code hindi ba? The Labor Code protects the right of security of tenure; it’s not just the Labor Code, it’s the Constitution that provides for the right to security of tenure. So I do not know why they are saying that. Ang hindi talaga nila matanggap is the prohibition on contractualization really has to be expanded and the expansion cannot be done through an Executive Order. It can only be done through law.

Q:  Wala daw hong ngipin sir, kulang daw.

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, tell Congress na kinakailangan mas may ngipin. When I was a Congressman and my version of the bill which was consolidated into the security of tenure, ang provision na nilagay ko doon pagkakakulong. Pero, it’s only Congress that can prescribe that not the executive.

Q:  Sir, another issue. Sir, nag-install daw po ng cruise missiles iyong China sa South China Sea sa mga outpost nila? Ano pong reaksiyon natin?

SEC. ROQUE:  I have no information on that. Let me verify that.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Okay, no question, MPC? Okay thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

SEC. ROQUE:  Thank you very much. Good afternoon.

ROCKY/PTV4:  Okay back to our main studio sa Radyo Pilipinas and People’s Television Network.


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