ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps and guests, let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
SEC. ROQUE: Good Tuesday morning Philippines, and good morning to the ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps.
Let me begin by reiterating that the President has suspended all classes in Metro Manila, and this is in view of actual and/or imminent threats posed by some groups. The President has said that he will not sacrifice the safety of our students, and that is why he decided late last night to in fact suspend classes today.
We’d also like to condemn in the strongest terms possible the shooting of a civilian aircraft which led to the killing of a civilian and this is the incident where the CPP-NPA apparently shot at an agricultural plane in Surigao. So the plane was engaged in a normal, low-flying craft-dusting mission and was fired upon at Tagbina, Surigao. Under the laws and customs of war, fighters should not be targeting civilians and civilian objects, and this is the latest instance of a war crime perpetrated by the CPP-NPA.
On good news: Dollar remittances from overseas Filipinos rose sharply in January this year to 2.7 billion, and this is according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Bulk of cash remittances came from the United States, Middle East, the UK, Canada and Japan.
Further good news: The Philippine economy was rated—well, continues to be bullish. Major Chinese credit rating agency China Lianhe Credit Rating Company has assigned its highest rating of ‘AAA’ with a stable outlook to the Philippines, 3-year Panda bonds worth 1.46 billion renminbi.
The rating agency cited the country’s robust economic growth; second, it state that the Philippines stability to earn foreign exchange; and third, it factored in the strong economic ties between Manila and Beijing, and the Duterte administration’s stable source of payment from growing government revenues. It also mentioned the implementation of the first package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or the TRAIN law.
And our final good news is that, coconut oil shipments in January expanded by 18.3% to 143 million US Dollars to remain as our top farm export. Meanwhile, the value of fresh bananas shipped during the period went up to 61.2% to 70.52 million US Dollars.
Well ladies and gentlemen today we have a guest – no other than Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II. Prior to joining the President’s Cabinet, Secretary Aguirre was already a familiar face to our people because of the many prominent cases that he handled like the Mamasapano case in Maguindanao when he was the legal counsel of former SAF chief. Ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let’s welcome our distinguished guest, Secretary Vit Aguirre.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Thank you, Secretary Harry. Good morning to all. I’m glad to be back here, and I know you have so many questions in your mind – and I’m ready.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Good afternoon, sir. Sir doon po sa kaso ni Kerwin Espinosa at ni Peter Lim. Nakapaloob po ba iyong pagre-review ninyo doon sa kanilang kaso, iyong automatic review na sinasabi ninyo, doon sa Department Circular No. 12 na pinirmahan po ni dating Justice Secretary Leila De Lima tungkol po doon sa automatic review ng drug cases? Pero habang under review daw po, eh lalaya iyong mga suspects. Iyon din po ba iyong pinagbatayan ninyo doon sa sinasabi ninyong automatic review?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Oo, iyon po iyong automatic review. But it has undergone, I think, two amendments. Kaya ang pinagbatayan ko pong automatic review ay iyong Department Circular No. 004 dated January 4, 2017. Ito po iyong—ako na po ang nag-issue nito, and the Supreme Court was able to review this and the two others prior to this and they said that this is the correct automatic review according to the Supreme Court.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Ano po iyong nakalagay doon, na kailangan nakalaya iyong mga suspects o naka-detain pa rin sila?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Nakalaya po and I could read it, the pertinent provision of this. The first paragraph states: “In the interest of the service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, the dismissal of all cases whether on inquest, preliminary investigation, reinvestigation or on appeal filed for violation of Republic Act 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and involving maximum penalty of reclusion perpetua or life, shall be subject to automatic review by the Secretary of Justice.
The entire records of the case shall be elevated to the Secretary of Justice within three (3) days from the issuance of the resolution dismissing the complaint or appeal as applicable and the parties involved shall be notified accordingly.”
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir ‘di sa ngayon po nakalaya sila, kasi December pa iyong resolution eh?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ah wala pong nakakalaya, sapagka’t iyon pong isang involved dito, iyong dalawang naka-detain, si Kerwin Espinosa saka iyong… the principal witness si Ador Co, ay sila po ay under detention. So since I already exercised my power under the automatic review, I issued an order yesterday vacating the dismissal of the case – so much so that there is no such dismissal anymore. And I ordered that the case be ordered wide open for both parties – the complainants and the respondents to file whatever evidence they have in support of their respective position.
In the meantime, sabi kong ganiyan doon sa aking Department Order, the Motion for Reconsideration filed by CIDG is rendered moot. So ‘yan po ang status ngayon, wala na pong dismissal; everybody, the case is now wide open for the submission of all evidence by both parties. And the Motion for Reconsideration pending before I assumed the power of automatic review is now deemed moot and academic.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, last na lang po. May nakita po ba kayong irregularity doon sa pag-dismiss ng mga prosecutors doon sa kaso ni Kerwin?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well kung susundin po katulad noong lahat ng mga pronouncement ko during my interview with several radio and TV stations, ang tiningnan ko lamang po ay iyon ngang automatic review. Kasi nang pumutok ito noong March 12, eh ni wala akong kaalam-alam pa dito sa case na ito, because as I have very well explained to you, the preliminary process—preliminary investigation process in the DOJ consist of 2 levels. The first level is the National Prosecution Service level, ito po iyong ating mga public prosecutors and state prosecutors sa Department of Justice dito sa main, at sila po ang nagre-receive and sila ang nagde-decide noong cases na iyon.
Dapat po nating intindihin, that at the time these prosecutors are exercising their duties under the preliminary investigation, hindi po sila—they are not acting as prosecutors – they are acting as quasi-judicial officer who should be impartial in receiving the evidence from both parties.
And then iyon pong pangalawang level, this is the appeal level – diyan po pumapasok ang Office of the Secretary. On appeal lamang po ang aming jurisdiction with respect to cases filed during the preliminary investigation. At that time na pumutok po ito prematurely, wala pa po, hindi pa po umaabot ‘yan sa Office of the Secretary of Justice. As a matter of fact, the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the CIDG was not even resolved yet, and the Office of the Secretary has not yet exercised his power under the automatic review.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Pero sir, given po na big time drug personality po si Kerwin, wala po ba kayong extra’ng pagtutok doon sa kaso niya at nalusutan po kayo noong December resolution ng NPS?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Actually hindi mo naman masasabing nalusutan eh, hindi pa nga dumarating sa akin eh. Kung iyon ay dumating na sa akin on appeal o kaya nag-exercise na ako on a automatic review… kasi kung may pending Motion for Reconsideration, the Motion for Reconsideration and the CIDG filed a thick Motion for Reconsideration, there is a possibility that the panel could have reversed itself. ‘Pag ni-reverse na ‘yan ng panel, wala nang automatic review, because automatic review will only come into play kung nagkaroon ng dismissal.
But supposing – while reviewing the case – ni-resolve ang Motion for Reconsideration favorably, in favor of the CIDG, then there is no more need for automatic review – because the case will be ordered filed.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Pero just the same po, hindi po pinaalam sa inyo na dinismiss po ng NPS iyong kaso ni Kerwin?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Pinaalam nga sa amin, but sa March 12—ah February 12 I think, nang dalhin ‘yan sa aming—sa Office of the Secretary. Ang Office of the Secretary ay hindi lamang po isang kuwan iyon, hindi lamang po isang mesa. Bago iyon dumating personally sa akin, marami pong dadaanan ‘yan – ira-raffle ‘yan. So at the time it was—and besides, hindi aaktuhan ng Office of the Secretary ang automatic review because there is still a pending Motion for Reconsideration by the CIDG.
ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Okay. Sir, basahin ko lang iyong question ni Pia Rañada ng Rappler: “What is the value of keeping Kerwin Espinosa in the WPP if the CIDG is saying he’s changing statement? Why did you not answer the CIDG in September 2017 when they raised this issue to you?”
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ah, nagkamali po ang CIDG diyan. When the CIDG wrote me asking that Kerwin be taken out of the WPP, ay mali po ang premise. Ang akala po ng CIDG, is that in this case of Kerwin and Peter Lim ay nasa WPP si Kerwin – hindi po. Wala po siya sa WPP, nandoon po siya under the WPP doon sa kaso ni Senator De Lima. Magkaiba po iyon eh, kaya nagkamali po ng premise ang sulat ng CIDG.
ROCKY/PTV4: Second question ni Pia Rañada ng Rappler: You said the Prosecutors were constrained to do the weak case the CIDG filed versus Peter Lim, Peter Co and Kerwin, but isn’t true the DOJ can be more proactive? Like, why not use the NBI in Atio’s case, you offered WPP to fratmen, until you found your key witness? In PDAF scam, you are giving state protection to the alleged master mind. Why not be as aggressive in the drug cases?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Iyon nga po ang sinasabi ko, under the scheme of things now, the National Prosecution service has some sort of autonomy or independence from the Office of the Secretary. Well, tingnan po ninyo ito: If you as Prosecutor, is the one hearing the case, tapos sinabi mo doon sa –and you are supposed to be impartial –a and then, since you are supposed to be impartial, then your duty is just to receive evidence, katulad noong sabi nga ni Judge Reyes. The panel of prosecutors has no obligation to gather evidence for you. It is the obligation of the parties or of their respective lawyers to gather the evidence since submitted.
Kaya nga po iyong lahat ng mga—well lahat ng mga news pati iyong mga social media ay sinasabi, bakit naman dinismiss ng DOJ ito, samantalang alam ng lahat na itong si Kerwin ay mayroon nang admission sa senate hearing. Katulad po noong—pag iyan ay sinabi nang any of the Prosecutors, eh ang ibig pong sabihin niyan kumikiling – when he is supposed to be impartial – kumikiling siya sa isang party. O kaya naman kung hindi niya sabihin and he is going to consider that in back of his mind, then it is a very unfair to other, because you are considering na evidence which is not known to the other party.
Kaya, it is only when these evidence are submitted to the panel, and these evidence are the ones to be considered, kapag hindi po ninyo sinabmit iyan, eh talaga pong baka hindi ma-consider iyan. Because hindi mo naman mai-expect, maaaring hindi naman alam ng mga talagang alam ng mga prosecutor, hindi sila nakikinig during the senate hearing. But ito ay in-admit na rin po ito ni General Bato kahapon, I think na talagang nagkulang. In-admit nila na talagang hindi nila isinabmit, one of the most important evidence, iyong ginawang admission. Kung iyan po ay nai-submit nila, then there will be corroboration of evidence iyong kay Adorco at saka itong kay Kerwin. At kapag may corroboration and it is submitted. Then that admission might be sufficient to have tilted the balance in favor of the Prosecution.
But of course, we do not need—hindi iyan ang nangyari and so what I did, even before, even before yesterday, last week. I said that the Prosecution still has the chance to strengthen its evidence by securing a copy of the transcripts, stenographic notes and submitting it to the panel. Now, para maging simple ang process, and the… kasi, may naka-pending motion for reconsideration, inisyu ko po iyong DO ko kahapon na sinabi ko, the the dismissal of the panel is now vacated and the case is remanded back to the new Prosecutors that I have appointed. And the parties are free and required to submit all their evidence in support of their position. The motion for reconsideration pending is now deemed moot. Iyan po ang status natin ngayon!
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just a follow on your train of thoughts, sir. So the complaint that hahawakan nung bago ninyong panel, will be what, the CIDG still?
SEC. AGUIRRE: The same case. But puwede nang magdagdag ang bawat isa sa kanila. The two parties, their evidence, i-submit nila iyang mga hindi nila na-submit katulad niyang admission sa senate hearing. I-submit nila iyong sinasabi natin dito na mga travel records nila. Travel records of Peter Lim, kasi may si sinasabi si Adorco doon, na mag-meet sila sa Bangkok, I don’t know kung Peter Lim or Peter Co. And iyong hospitalization record ni Peter Co, iyan pupuwede nilang i-submit iyan ngayon. Now, that the presentation of evidence is now again open.
JOSEPH/GMA7: So, technically, sir back to zero tayo, ano?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi naman back to zero, kasi iyong lahat ng nandiyan, nandiyan pa rin, dagdagan lang.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay, so sir iyong panel na created ninyo na supposedly magre-review noong ‘Reyes’ na resolution sila na iyong magka-conduct ng panibagong preliminary investigation, si that correct?
SEC. AGUIRRE: That’s right. The continuation, sila na nag magka-conduct ng continuation.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Continuation, so that’s it! You said, walang nangyaring ‘Reyes resolution’, yes?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi naman! Nandoon iyong—you cannot remove it. But it is now being reviewed. The Reyes resolution still there! But I have created a new panel for the purpose of reviewing that resolution and for the purpose—for giving the parties a chance to submit additional evidence in support of their respective positions.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Is it a review, sir of the ‘Reyes resolution’ or a new preliminary investigation, second panel?
SEC. AGUIRRE: It’s not a new, it’s a review.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay, klaro. Sir, why did you decide this way?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, because of the—you know what happened here because of the premature declaration that this has been dismissed, the premature publication that this has been dismissed, when in fact, it has not been dismissed at still subject to motion for reconsideration, still subject to petition for review. I have to make this DO, so that everybody will be given a chance to submit their respective evidence para –for the purpose of giving all the parties a chance to strengthen their evidence both the prosecution and the defense. I think that’s fair enough.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, hindi naman, sir because of public backlash?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Iyon na nga ang sinasabi ko, because of the uproar, nationwide uproar. Actually, iyon ngang—because of this backlash kaya nga pinaimbestigahan ko pati iyong aking mga Prosecutor, iyong na-involved dito. But of course iyong iba, iyong karamihan sa kanila naghihinanakit sa akin. Papaano raw sila! Ganun ba, Secretary na kapag kami ay nag-isyu ng ganitong resolution ay palagi kaming paimbestigahan? Naiintindihan ko iyong where they are coming from. But they should also understand that because of the backlash caused by some people with ill-motives coupled with politics, nagkaroon po ng hindi magandang perception ang public dito sa isyung ito.
JOSEPH/GMA7: All right. Sir, what did the President tell you about this?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ang sabi sa akin ng Presidente, then dapat Vit, while the rules are there, you must, your department, has also to feel the pulse of the people. Tulad ng sinasabi ninyo, that in this kind of cases, malalaki, so that hindi mangyari ito. But of course, the President was thinking, then akala niya ay tapos na iyong kaso, hindi pa naman tapos iyong kaso eh, We have not yet finished. So, nobody could say that this has been finally dismissed.
JOSEPH/GMA7: So without the public uproar sir, Kerwin would not have been judged as a drug lord?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi mo masabi iyan. Because it’s still going to me, we’ll have an automatic review. I could have done the same thing, once it reached me.
TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, good afternoon. Sir, pardon me for saying, pero para kasing déjà vu. Last year you also ordered a review on the case of Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino tapos this involves 300 million worth of shabu, na-dismiss din. Tapos the PNP, many PNP officials who are at the forefront of the drug campaign of the President have also been very—expressing na dismayed sila. So ano ang assurance natin na with this case naman in Kerwin Espinosa case eh mababantayan ang kaso ng DOJ? Kasi twice na sa PNP nang parang feeling nila ang lalaki ng operations namin, we get the blame for alleged extrajudicial killings pero pagdating sa DOJ nadi-dismiss, palpak ba talaga silang magbigay ng ebidensiya or ano sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Actually hindi naman ganoon eh. Kasi unang-una, anong nangyari doon kay Colonel Marcelino? Is it correct? Iyong unang question diyan ay tama ba ang nangyari o hindi? Kung hindi tama ang nangyari, did anybody appeal the resolution? Anong nangyari sa appeal? So hindi porke nangyari ito ngayon, ganoon na rin ang nangyari kay Marcelino. Katulad halimbawa noong 6.4 billion ng smuggling case sa drugs dito sa—na ifinile sa Valenzuela. Nagtataka iyong mga Senador because they have been holding hearing for that drug case of for that smuggling case for—siguro more than one month, napakatagal, napakaraming hearing niyan.
Bakit daw wala kahit isang Customs man na naisama? Eh sabi ko, ang sabi noong aming mga prosecutor ay ‘Anong isasama namin, wala naman kayong ebidensiya?’ Did you know that the complaint filed by the PDEA is only 29 pages while isa—mahigit na isang buwan itong pinagtatalunan diyan sa Senado. At may sinasabi naman sila doon na—pati sila eh, pati itong mga Senador na ito ay nagtatanong kung bakit walang na-file-an na Customs man. Ang sabi ko doon noong mangyari iyon, sabi ko, PDEA—I think call the PDEA. Mayroon pa kayong chance para palakasin ninyo iyong—itong ebidensiya ninyo!
In the same manner, ganito rin ang ginawa ko dito. Anong ginawa! Despite my appeal to the PDEA na palakasin nila iyong kaso, wala naman silang idinagdag na ebidensiya. So walang—wala talagang mangyayari na idedemandang Customs people kung mayroon silang ebidensiya. Kaya walang nademanda eh! Pero talagang sa totoo lang, if this was also a subject of the house investigation—anong nangyari sa house investigation? Wala ding findings kahit isang Customs man na dapat isama. As a matter of fact, if I remember right, parang—although, I have not read the committee report, ang nakalagay doon possibly lamang daw, puwedeng guilty iyong some of this law enforcers of planting of evidence. Walang sinasabing smuggling of anything! Kaya ang ginawa ko? Anong ginawa ko? Ang sabi ng RTC branch ng Valenzuela: “This case should be dismissed because this case should have been file at the RTC of Manila.” Kasi smuggling ito eh! Once this has been received by the Customs, tapos na ang smuggling. So hindi—wala na kaming jurisdiction dito. Sabi ko doon sa NPS, kasi hindi naman ito sa akin eh. Iyong sa aking National Prosecution Service. Parang tama kako si Judge eh! Bilisan ninyo, ilipat na ninyo iyong smuggling, talagang smuggling, dapat tapos na iyan sa RTC ng Manila.
So nag-file sila, in-accept ng Manila, nagkaroon ng warrant of arrest doon sa mga pending, doon sa mga dating akusado. Pagkatapos sinabi ko na mag-file pa tayo ng isang kaso sa Valenzuela ulit. Anong kaso, transporting of illegal drugs! Tinanggap din po iyan ng Valenzuela at nag-issue rin po ng new warrant of arrest. So sa halip na isang case lang nito ng i-dismiss siya ng DOJ, naging dalawa na po ang kaso, parang non-bailable.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA ONLINE: Sir regarding your order for the NBI to investigate Judge Reyes, fiscal Humarang and even their boses sa NPS. Shouldn’t there be a presumpti0n of regularity on the part of these prosecutors? Kasi they only depend their resolution doon sa kung ano iyong ebidensiya na pinresent nila—
SEC. AGUIRRE: Tama ka, kaya nga sabi ko dito ay naunawaan ko iyong aking mga prosecutors. Kaya noong sabihin nila sa akin na hindi maganda ang ginawa ko, nauunawaan ko talaga sila sapagka’t there is must be always a presumption of regularity in the performance of duty sa government officials.
VIRGIL/GMA ONLINE: Sir your order—
SEC. AGUIRRE: At iyong presumption na iyan should be made applicable here.
VIRGIL/GMA ONLINE: Ah okay. Sir kasi parang inuutusan ninyo iyong panel nila—at sila JP Nabera ba ito sir? Itong bagong panel nila?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ito iyong bago.
VIRGIL/GMA ONLINE: Ah okay, nai-reveal iyong resolution na created by the Reyes panel. Sir, ii-stop ninyo na ba iyong investigation against them? Doon sa mga prosecutors na nag-dismiss? In connection—
SEC. AGUIRRE: What’s your question?
VIRGIL/GMA ONLINE: Iyon nga sir parang since you ordered na parang to vacate or whatever iyong dismissal. Does this mean na iyong order ninyo for the NBI to investigate this prosecutors for possible malfeasance or whatever. Stop na ba iyon or—
SEC. AGUIRRE: No, it does continue…
VIRGIL/GMA ONLINE: Ah will continue. Okay sir.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir last na lang po. Sir, ano po iyong dahilan bakit kailangang ire-release iyong mga drug suspects po habang isinasailalim sa automatic review iyong mga kaso nila? Bakit po may ganoong—
SEC. AGUIRRE: Unang-una po, noong una mayroong… iyong DOJ circular noong panahon pa yata ni Secretary De Lima ito. Pag ikaw ay may drugs case at mayroong automatic review, hindi ka muna mare-release at hanggang hindi sinasabi dito sa automatic review, that you are absolve of any liability. Tapos na-kuwan po iyon, kasi masyadong maraming kuwan eh, iyong isa hindi na-release while automatic review hanggang sa namatay ano. Mayroon isang kuwan diyan! Tapos ang ginawa niya parang medyo binawasan niya ng harshness, ang ginawa lang 90 days.
So pag hindi na-resolve ang automatic review na-file-an ka. Then after 90 days, you should be released, iyon iyong pangalawang revision. Ito iyong pangatlo! This was—this revision, itong Department Circular number 004, January 4, 2017, ito iyong ginawa ko. Ang sabi ng Supreme Court, this is the correct procedure. Kasi dinismiss mo na, what’s the reason why you are holding on to it. Ngayon kung halimbawa naman sa automatic review sinabi ko na, ‘Hindi may findings dito dapat ma-file ito. Then, that’s—dapat arestuhin ka. Pero while this is undergoing automatic review, dapat i-release ka.
ROSE/HATAW: Kasi po pag halimbawang sa resulta ng automatic review ay ano pala, may probable cause po pala. Eh papaano kung nakatakas na iyong suspect, saan pa po natin hahanapin siya?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Doon sa—kaya nga nagkaroon ng automatic review, ibig sabihin dinismiss. Pag ibig sabihin dinismiss ibig sabihin walang findings of probable cause! Ngayon sa automatic review halimbawa, wala ngang findings of probable cause, you should be immediately released. Pero sa automatic review, halimbawa, after my automatic review nakakita ako ng findings sa probable cause, ipapaaresto ka, ipa-file iyong case and you will be arrested.
ROSE/HATAW: Habang may automatic—
SEC. AGUIRRE: Iyan pinagtalunan ng mahigpit iyan sa Supreme Court. It’s only about—I think 3 months ago. Bisitahin ninyo sa Supreme Court at sinabi ng Supreme Court, ‘Tama itong kay Secretary Aguirre, of the three.’
BELLA CARIASO/BANDERA: Sir, almost 2 years na po iyong campaign natin against drugs, parang lumalabas ang PNP nagbibigay ng mga statistics, but apparently puro mga pushers and users iyong mga nakakasuhan. Masasabi ninyo ba na successful nga kung ganitong… iyong mga cases against drugs, suspected drug lords hindi umaabot man lang sa file ng case sa Courts?
SEC. AGUIRRE: You’re referring to this case? Actually, ‘di ba matagal na naman itong kaso, itong war on drugs ng ating Pangulo, at hindi mo masasabi na ito’y puro lamang doon sa maliliit. Kung hindi ko—tingnan ninyo iyong mga nakasuhan, iyong mga taga-Albuera, Leyte; iyong mga taga-Iloilo, sina—sino ba iyon? Mabilog.
Q: [OFF MIC]
SEC. AGUIRRE: I think nakasuhan but he is now in Canada. I don’t know kung mayroon ng kaso. But hindi naman totoo na walang nakakasuhang malaki. As a matter of fact, hindi ba mayroon diyang isang galing din sa Leyte na nakipagbarilan when he went doon … may sinakyan siyang bangka. So hindi po totoo na sa mga maliliit lamang. Nalilimutan lang natin iyong ating mga malalaki. Iyong mga pulis, iyong mga tinanggal ng ating Pangulo, hindi ba malalaki iyan?
BELLA CARIASO/BANDERA: Sir, hindi sila malalaki, sir. Kasi ano lang sila, sir, part lang sila ng mga galamay. Kasi, sir, ang nangyayari ngayon, kailangan pang makialam ni Pangulo para lang matuloy itong kaso against Kerwin Espinosa, against Peter Lim and other drug lords, ‘di ba? Kung talagang malakas iyong ebidensiya ng pulis, bakit kailangan pang makialam ng Pangulo para lang—
SEC. AGUIRRE: Unang-una, doon sa tanong mo: Kailangan pa bang makialam ang Pangulo? Hindi na kailangan kasi in my level, on my level, hindi na lalampas iyong mga ganoong klase.
BELLA CARIASO/BANDERA: Pero nakialam na nga, sir, ‘di ba kaya may review, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Nakialam siya in a sense na iyon nga, iyong nagkuwan siya ng sense ng displeasure. But, kinakailangan bang makialam pa ng Pangulo para ma correct ito? Hindi na kailangan. As a matter fact, I corrected this already, ngayon, kahapon.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Secretary, magandang hapon po. Sir, doon sa bagong binuong panel, mayroon ba tayong ide-dedicate na piskal na constantly ay makikipag-coordinate doon, halimbawa, sa CIDG at ibang hahawak doon sa prosecution na magde-determine ng probable cause?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Iyan ngayon ang ginagawa ko kasi parang iyan ang kinakailangan. Kasi mayroon dalawang bill – isa sa Senate, isa sa House – pareho lang sila na nagsasabi na dapat mayroon nang naka-embed na isang prosecutor or isang abogado, ang lahat during—ang pulis, during their time of investigation. Sapagka’t katulad na – ito’y ginagawa na sa Amerika, iyong sa DA nila, District Attorney – mayroon po silang isinasama sa mga pulis investigation na nagga-guide sa mga pulis, because many of them are not lawyers.
But katulad halimbawa nitong nangyari rito kay Kerwin sa CIDG, kung mayroon itong isang abogado na nagsasabi na talagang nag-aantabay sa kanila at tumutulong sa kanila, I’m sure that that’s so basic evidence of getting a certified true copy of the transcript, stenographic notes from the Senate; hindi makakaligtas iyon. Sasabihin niya, “Uy, Chief, kulang pa tayo ng transcript, stenographic notes,” o kaya, “Kulang pa tayo ng mga records nitong mga ito, travel records ng mga ito,” very easy to get it from the Bureau of Immigration. O kaya iyong hospital records of some of the accused, madaling kunin iyan sa BuCor.
But, hindi pa nangyayari sa atin dito. As a matter of fact, when we were in conference, parang ayaw ng mga police agencies natin na mayroon silang kasamang abogado.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, okay! So klaro na while under review – sa question ni Rose – they can be released. But ang question ko, sir, anong basis for detaining Kerwin again at this point?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, may kaso siyang iba.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. What is that again, sir, sorry? I’m not—
SEC. AGUIRRE: I am not familiar to it. But I believe that the case in Metro Manila … in Manila, RTC Manila.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So as far as Kerwin is concerned, he cannot be released under, I mean, while you’re going—
SEC. AGUIRRE: That’s true. That’s correct.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, last na lang po. Sa iba pong drug personalities. Kapag na-release po sila kahit under automatic review, magkakaroon po ba ng … ilalagay ninyo sa look-out bulletin ng Bureau of Immigration para hindi sila makalabas?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Kung kinakailangan. Depende kasi kung…halimbawa, tapos na ako ng automatic review and I released him because there’s no probable cause, siguro hindi ko ilalagay iyon sa—
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Eh kapag ano po, habang ongoing pa po iyong automatic review?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Puwede, puwede pa iyon.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Ilalagay ninyo po sa look out bulletin?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Opo.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Other issue na, sir. Sir, I want to get your side on the recent post of Cebu Mayor Tommy Osmeña. He is saying that he is eyeing or he is planning to file graft charges against you for allegedly meddling in the tax evasion cases that the local government filed against SM and BDO.
SEC. AGUIRRE: I’m not meddling. I’m exercising my power as a Secretary of Justice. And ang problema kay Mayor Osmeña palagi niyang sinasabi, “Sigurado ako, tumanggap ng pera iyan si Secretary Aguirre.” Nasaan na iyong ebidensiya niya? Ako ang magpa-file sa kaniya ng kaso. Ako ang magpa-file sa kaniya ng kaso.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Anong kaso, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Malalaman ninyo.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Sir, he’s been citing this … iyong department order ninyo, basically, you’re placing the Cebu prosecutor initially handling the BDO case with the Manila-based prosecutor. Can you give us a reason why you made that move?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, napaka-broad ng power ng Secretary of Justice. In danger of national security or to prevent miscarriage of justice, iyong dalawang iyan, iyan ang puwede ko ng … iyan ang paghuhugutan ko kapag ginawa ko iyong aking the power to transfer or power to get the cases.
In this case, alam naman ninyo that in Cebu, napakahigpit ng labanan ng Office of the Mayor and ng SM! And they are … iyong isang grupo diyan is saying that some of the prosecutors are under the influence of some local officials. Kaya let him file a case. There’s no problem with it.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Sir, President Duterte has repeatedly said that he won’t tolerate a whiff of corruption. Does this issue where you … do you feel the need to maybe talk to him, to the President about this especially now when the President is said to be thinking about changing some members of his Cabinet?
SEC. AGUIRRE: There’s no… in my talk to him, there’s no such. I could not feel any feeling, that feeling of whiff of corruption as perceived by him.
LEILA SALAVERRIA/PDI: Good afternoon. Could you detail to us what exactly prompted you to allow Janet Napoles to be… provisional entry in the WPP? What exactly did she offer you?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Janet Napoles, through her relatives and through her lawyer, approached the Department of Justice saying that Janet Napoles is now ready to tell all, to tell everything what she knows about the PDAF scam. And initially, she said that she is going to execute an affidavit and other affidavits later.
So we accepted it. And she requested that she be put under the provisional coverage of the WPP. We agreed to it. But I said to the lawyer, it is your duty to get Janet Napoles out of the Taguig jail and you should file the appropriate motion before the divisions of the Sandiganbayan. So iyon nga, so ang gusto niya kasi is that… mayroon siya kasing… there’s another opinion that as long as… once you are covered under the WPP, the prisoner or the applicant – in this case, Napoles – could be taken out already of the Taguig detention cell because the threat to her life, and be put under the safety of a safehouse outside of the Taguig jail.
So, parang hindi ako pumayag kay Atty. Stephen David, sumulat siya sa akin ng ganoon. Sabi ko iba ang aking opinyon at sabi ko kinakailangan natin ng favorable order from the three divisions of the Sandiganbayan where the cases of Janet is pending. So parang–iba rin ang kanyang pananaw!
So, he asked the Executive Secretary, Medialdea na kung puwedeng parang baligtarin iyong akin, but the Executive Secretary have the same position. As a matter of fact, just this morning, si ES ay ganundin ang opinyon, pero iba ang opinyon ni Atty. David. Sabi ko, that’s a novel interpretation of the WPP and but, I am willing to study, titingnan ko kung talagang pupuwede rin. I have an open mind, pupuwede naman talagang ako ang mali o siya ang tama eh.
LIELA/PDI: Sir, sorry pakilinaw, sir. Did Atty. David consult both you and ES Medialdea?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Sa akin muna. Kasi sa akin, I believe that when the President was asked about this, sinabi niya “ay bahala na si Vit diyan”. So ako lang ang talagang nag-manage nitong process na iyan and one of which is I extended a provisional coverage of the WPP too.
Ngayon, gusto niyang i-appeal kay ES Medialdea, eh pareho lang kaming opinion, sabi namin eh, i-file mo na lang iyan at bahala na iyong Sandigan. So, iyon ang ginawa ni Atty. Stephen.
LIELA/PDI: Sir, you mean, was there a meeting between you, ES and?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Was there?
LIELA/PDI: What did ES tell you, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ganoon, nung magkaharap kami na ganun din ang opinion ko. It’s better that you file the case, o file the motion, the appropriate motion before the Sandiganbayan.
JOSEPH/GMA7: When was the meeting, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: I don’t know, siguro mga two weeks ago or three ago. I am not exactly. I could not remember anymore.
JOSEPH/GMA7: But you did, kayong tatlo iyan sir, ni Atty. David with the ES correct?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Yes.
JOSEPH/GMA7: In Malacañang, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Dito, dito niya pinuntahan eh.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Referring to ES Medialdea, not Deputy? ES Medialdea, sir, yes? Okay, I just want to make it that clear. Tapos sir – regarding Janet – can the Prosecution right now, Janet is being held under detention because of the Sandiganbayan cases, yes?
SEC. AGUIRRE: That’s right.
JOSEPH/GMA7: All right. So if there is going to be a coverage and there is WPP provisional coverage na gustong ilipat sa safe house, which will prevail, the Sandiganbayan or the DOJ?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Atty. Stephen’s interpretation is that, it should be the WPP of the DOJ which should prevail. Sabi niyang ganiyan, because according to his other supporters – lawyers din, magagaling din – ay iyong WPP is a law which should prevail, sabi niyang ganiyan over the rules of court na siya nang pinagbabasehan ng ating Sandiganbayan.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Your opinion?
SEC. AGUIRRE: My opinion is, iyong kaya siya nag-file doon that he needs to have the authority or permission from the Sandiganbayan. But I told him that I will have an open mind on your theory. I will study that kung talagang… Basahin muna niya, sabi niyang ganoon, walang sinasabi doon sa WPP na kinakailangan doon ng order or sanction by the Sandiganbayan justices.
JOSEPH/GMA7: You mean, Atty. David telling you what to do?
SEC. AGUIRRE: No, it’s just an academic discussion among good lawyers.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Of course. Sir, let’s go back to ES Medialdea. Just to be fair to you, sir ‘no. Because we did ask him kaninang umaga if the meeting took place and he gave – according to Atty. David – a legal advice and he denied it.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Who denied, who denied?
JOSEPH/GMA7: Es Medialdea, sir. And if I may quote: Why would I give a legal advice to a lawyer, for his client. If I were his client, I will fire him. But you did say the meeting took place!
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi naman, legal advice iyon eh. Actually he talked to ES Medialdea to appeal my opinion that he should—we could not that—we at the DOJ could not. He would want to say that since I am under the Office of the President as a Department Secretary, he could appeal my opinion to the Executive Secretary. Kaya, that’s a simple as that!
JOSEPH/GMA7: All right, I mean lawyer speaks. So, what do you call that action of the ES if it is not giving legal advice?
SEC. AGUIRRE: He was asked by Atty. David if he could overrule me. He said, he could not, because he is of the same opinion as mine.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay, and that’s what he did. He went up to the Sandiganbayan precisely to follow what you had said.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Precisely, but it’s not giving legal advice.
JOSEPH/GMA7: What is it, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: He is just giving his opinion.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay all right, whatever. Sir, what is the basis sir, of the provisional. This provisional what are the terms of the provisional grants, 60 days, what else?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Iyong, you are even –during provisional coverage, puwede ka ring mag-ask ng security, puwede ka ring mag-ask ng food, transportation. But the other na –the full coverage will not be given to you, until and unless you have executed your affidavit and you have executed with the government your memorandum of agreement.
JOSEPH/GMA7: All right, sir. She is not going to be asking provisional. The government will not be granting provisional coverage of the WPP kung wala namang ibibigay si Janet, yes?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Of course. Kaya nga inilagay natin diyan, sinabi niya, sasabihin ko na ang lahat. Iyon ang—we are expecting that and if she would not fulfill that – kasi nagkaroon kami ng face to face niyan – hindi mangyayari iyon.
JOSEPH/GMA7: When did you meet her?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Two months ago. Iyon ang nangyari sa amin, wag na iyong mga detalye, hindi naman kinakailangan iyon, basta nagharap kami, sinabi niya sa akin. I’m going to tell all, lahat ng may kinakasangkutan dito sa PDAF scam na ito, sasabihin kong lahat iyan.
JOSEPH/GMA7: PDAF and DAP or PDAF only?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Eh hindi pa niya sinasabi eh, basta DAP, PDAF. Malalaman natin iyan kapag nag-execute na ng affidavit.
JOSEPH/GMA7: All right, so sir right now, the theory of the—you said before that it’s not going to affect the cases in the Sandiganbayan, yes?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Yes, that’s correct.
JOSEPH/GMA7: How again?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, because it will only affect the new cases if ever, new cases have to filed. But the cases now pending where she is now on trial and she has been detained, hindi maapektuhan, it will not change a bit.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Eh hindi magche-change eh.
JOSEPH/GMA7: No, but you can’t change the theory, yes?
SEC. AGUIRRE: I don’t know what theory you are talking about.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Theory of the Prosecution, right now, sir. It’s the Ombudsman who is prosecuting Janet Napoles, yes?
SEC. AGUIRRE: When Janet Napoles will be put under the full coverage of the WPP and we will file the appropriate case, it will be—we will not mind anymore whatever pending cases is pending against her. Doon lang kami sa pa-file-an namin na bago. But as I told you, it will not, in anyway affect the current cases or pending cases against here.
JOSEPH/GMA7: I’m going back to my train of thought. The OMB is right now prosecuting Napoles and other Senators in the Sandiganbayan divisions, 3. And Ombudsman Morales will be retiring, yes?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Yes, I think in July.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay, so given if we have a new Ombudsman who may be open to what Janet maybe saying to exonerate herself in the three cases in the Sandiganbayan. The Prosecution can change. Question: Can the Prosecution change the theory of the Ombudsman such that she will not be the mastermind, but just one of the- layers?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, hindi naman kinakailangang i-change na because sa ngayon, the cases she’s facing are plunder cases. Kapag plunder, sino ba ang dapat idemanda diyan, hindi ba government officials? So, kung government officials ang idedemanda diyan, then si Janet would be just a co-conspirator. And being a co-conspirator, she is not the most-guilty. Kaya, since she is not the most-guilty, then she is qualified to be put under the WPP.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Just one last—I’m sorry. So before she can benefit from the WPP, you would have to do something about the cases in the Sandiganbayan?
SEC. AGUIRRE: No, I will not do anything. As a matter of fact, if—this is contrary to the position of Ombudsman Morales—if ever we’re going to put Janet Napoles under the full coverage of the WPP and thus she will become a state witness, that coverage will be binding upon any in all courts including Sandiganbayan.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, paano po si Benhur Luy, na-discharge na ba siya sa WPP?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi pa po yata.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So papaano po iyon? Whistleblower si Benhur Luy against Janet Napoles, tapos si Janet Napoles ay papasok din sa Witness Protection Program, hindi po ba iyon magbabanggaan?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Puwedeng magbanggaan. As a matter of fact, nagbanggaan na nga iyan when the SolGen filed a case for the release of Janet Napoles on the ground that iyong testimony ni Luy is not credible.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So, sir, puwede pong i-apply iyon dito sa … halimbawang matanggap si Janet Napoles sa WPP, iyong ganoong teyorya po na hindi credible iyong testimonya ni Benhur Luy against her?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Basta ang mangyayari dito, ipagpalagay nang credible or incredible iyong si Benhur Luy, magdedepende lang kami dito kay Janet. Siyempre before we admit her, dapat ma-explain niyang lahat, “Oh papaano itong kay Benhur Luy na sinasabi?” Iyan ay hindi ko masasagot iyan, premature pa iyan.
But once we put Janet Napoles under the WPP, then we have to rely on her. In other words, bumilib na kami sa kaniya bago namin siya ilagay sa WPP.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So mawawala nga iyong bilib ng DOJ kay Benhur Luy kapag nangyari po iyon?
SEC. AGUIRRE: That is kuwan eh, iyang … premature iyon eh. Hindi pa nangyayari iyon eh! Kasi lahat ng sasabihin ni Janet Napoles, lahat ng gagawin niyang affidavit will be assessed by the WPP, and that is the only time when we are going to decide whether to accept her or not, under the WPP.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE: Sir, as we speak, wala pa siyang ini-execute na affidavit para maging part siya ng WPP? I mean, full acceptance of the law.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Mayroon na po.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE: Ah, mayroon na. Sir, itong affidavit niya is in connection with iyong sinabi ninyo last year that you will order a re-investigation doon sa PDAF and DAP?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Last year po … I’m sorry I could not answer that because the proceedings in the WPP are strictly confidential in character, unless the Secretary of Justice order its release.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE: But this is in relation pa rin, sir, doon sa DAP at PDAF. Kasi sabi ninyo last year—
SEC. AGUIRRE: Basta this … iyong kaniyang affidavit would be in relation to some violations of law by some government officials.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir okay, when you said that when Janet is covered fully by the WPP, iyong relevance of her testimony will be binding to all cases, including the Sandiganbayan, tama?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi, hindi ganoon ang sinasabi ko.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, ano, sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ang sinasabi ko is that once she is put under the full coverage of protection of WPP, that act of putting her as a state witness will be binding upon all courts, including Sandiganbayan.
Ngayon, as to the statement of Janet, that would be a matter of credibility and hindi natin masasabi iyon.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: All right, in the Sandiganbayan cases, sir, can you downgrade the role that Janet Napoles played in those cases when you admit her as a state witness?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Downgrade… actually, iyan na nga ang nangyayari sa ibang cases ha. But anyway, iisa lang ito, para maging clear ano: Bago ka ma-admit sa WPP, itong basic, you shouldn’t appear to be the most-guilty. In other words, hindi matatanggap si Janet Napoles if she appears to be the most-guilty.
Now, as between two conspirators, both almost equally guilty, one is guilty of inducement while the other is guilty of direct participation or indispensable cooperation – para iyong principal iyan. Ang ruling ng court diyan, more-guilty iyong principal by inducement!
Example: kung ikaw ay nagbayad sa isang hired killer para patayin si ganoon, at napatay nga, sino ang more guilty sa inyo? Iyong nagbayad o iyong actual na nag-pull ng trigger? Sabi ng Supreme Court, iyong nag-induce, iyong nagbayad. Kasi sabi ng Supreme Court, kung hindi mo binayaran, walang namatay.
At the other one, as between two almost equally guilty! Who is more guilty: The public officer or a private person who has just finished high school? So if I put—dito lang ha, parang may depekto na natin na nadiskubre ngayon ang charges sa Sandiganbayan sa kaniya eh, kasi ang charges dito is plunder. And plunder is a charge against government official. Kaya kung ikaw ay nasama dito sa plunder na ito and you are private person, then you are just an ordinary co-conspirator. I believe that under the circumstances, the public official is more-guilty. Thus, Janet Napoles in both instances could be put under the coverage of the WPP because she does not appear to be the most-guilty.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Even if it’s like, I think, conspiracy to commit plunder?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Kahit na. Sinabi ko na, conspirator, mere conspirator eh. Lahat naman iyan, sila ang nag-conspire kaya sila ay nadedemanda ng plunder.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So right now, sir, iyong plunder is determined by the amount, right?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Right.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Correct.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Isa lang.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So puwede bang bumaba iyong amount na iyon such that she can be freed?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi pupuwedeng bumaba kaya kung 49 million—ewan ko kung bakit iyong kulang na isanlibo, pinagbibintangan ang DOJ. When it was being counted by the people, by the staff in DOJ, naka-video iyan! Nakita nila—kaya kung 50,000, huwag ninyong gagawing 49. Kung 50 million, huwag ninyong gagawing 49,999,000! We must follow the law.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, what if hindi pumayag ang Sandiganbayan to transfer Napoles to DOJ custody? And another thing, sir: Reaksiyon ninyo sa sinabi po ng Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval sa hearing kahapon sa Sandiganbayan, “There’s no such thing as provisional coverage sa WPP.” It’s either denial or admission.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Okay, first doon sa unang question mo. What if hindi pumayag? Then, you go up to the appropriate court. You have until the Supreme Court to raise the issue, and the Supreme Court will be the final arbiter.
Ano iyong second! The second is… iyong kay Special Counsel, sinabi niyang ganiyan that there is no such thing as provisional coverage? Itong Article 5 ng IRR, Article 5: Types of Admission. Section 1: Regular Admission – a witness who has submitted or complied with all indispensable requirements and such other additional documents required by the implementor and whose application has been approved shall be granted regular admission.
Section 2: Provisional Admission – a witness who has complied with all indispensable requirements for admission, but lacks the additional requirements required by the implementor, may be granted provisional or conditional admission.
SEC. AGUIRRE: So it’s very clear eh. Kaya iyon ngang iba, sinasabing wala naman iyang such animal as provisional admission! There is such an animal.
Q: Sir, may looming revamp daw sa Palace and mostly among Cabinet Secretaries. Are you confident sir na hindi kayo masasama doon sa mga puwedeng matanggalan?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Ah iyong kay—actually with respect to this resignation. Alam mo iyong resignation na iyan nagpatong-patong diyan iyong gustong magpa-resign sa akin eh. Unang-una ay iyong nag-umpisa diyan iyang kay Kerwin and then hindi pa natutuyo iyong kay Kerwin sinundan naman itong kay Janet Napoles.
But before these, mayroon ng nakisawsaw diyan, iyong mga—nadagdagan nitong mga politicians eh! Gawa ng iyong isang Congressman diyan sa House ay nang malamang iyong aking anak ay tatakbo doon sa kaniyang distrito and we will fight their dynasty, nag – Suarez, yes – binanatan na ako. And of course iyong iba noong sabihin kong hindi ako tatakbo, aba, puta hindi pala mababakante itong DOJ eh.
Eh kaya lang sumama na tayo sa pagbomba dito. So iyon, iyon ang nangyari! Kaya everybody—but, sabi kong ganiyan. Nakausap ko na ang ating Pangulo and I could not feel that whiff of no trust—no trust and confidence from him. But—and besides there is no reason why I should resign because wala naman akong kasalanan. But even if wala akong kasalanan, if the President says so o iyon nga nakaramdam ako na kulang na iyong pagtitiwala sa akin. Mabilis pa sa alas kuwatro, resign tayo. Sapul at sapul iyan ang sinasabi ko. Hind ako kapit-tuko sa puwesto.
GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Hello sir. Sir, balik lang tayo doon sa meeting. Sir, sino-sino po iyong nasa meeting doon sa Palasyo?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Meeting?
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, iyong kay David—
SEC. AGUIRRE: Actually, hindi naman meeting iyon eh. Pumunta lang doon—mayroon lang kaming meeting doon kay—pumunta lang si Attorney David. Nakikiusap kay ES na kung puwede na baligtarin iyong aking position. Hindi naman pumayag si—
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, nandoon kayo sa meeting, kayong tatlo?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi nga meeting iyon eh. Actually nakatindig lang kami.
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, wala—sir?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Mayroon akong—mayroon akong meeting, kaming iba but dumating ito si kuwan, hindi naman namin alam na darating iyon eh.
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, sino po nag-request na makipagkita sa inyo? Si David po ang nag-request?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi, I think bigla na lang siyang dumating doon eh. Eh palagi naman iyan, malimit naman iyan sa kuwan eh. Malimit naman iyan sa kuwan eh since the beginning. Malimit iyan dito sa Palasyo eh.
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: So sir, you don’t see anything wrong with that apparent Palace intervention in the Napoles’ case?
SEC. AGUIRRE: Intervention?
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: With such consultation with the ES specially.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Hindi nga consultation iyon eh. Gusto niya i-overrule ako ng—a seeming representative of the Office of the President. Kasi ayaw kong pumayag na kukunin ko na lang si Janet Napoles doon sa kulungan at ilalagay ko sa WPP. Hindi ‘kako pupuwede iyan! Mag-file ka ng motion sa Sandiganbayan. Ganoon din ang opinyon ni ES. So iyon ang ginawa niya.
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: So sir, how will you address speculations that the government has apparently forge a compromise deal with Napoles and sir dito.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Speculate—sorry ha.
GENALYN/MANILA BULLETIN: How will you address speculations that the government has for, it’s a compromise deal with that Nap0les camp. And you are giving her special treatment just to pin down your rivals.
SEC. AGUIRRE: Well, maling lahat iyan. Actually silang lumapit and I believed that justice will be done if Janet Napoles will be allowed to speak and tell the whole truth about this. Kasi napakarami ng panahong nagdaan pero—kung matatandaan ninyo hindi ba noong panahon ni Secretary De Lima na kayo mismo, I’m sure that some of you are asking that the next batch of the accused or respondents be—file-an lang ng kaso. Tapos magpepreso ulit si Secretary De Lima! In next week lalabas na iyong second batch, next week lalabas na iyong third batch. Hindi na po lumabas iyon. Kayo tandaan ninyo iyan at alam kong—sa palagay ko, you could still remember that.
ROCKY/PTV4: Okay, thank you, Genalyn. Thank you, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Secretary Roque…
SEC. ROQUE: Well, few more notes. The President yesterday, March 19 presided a special meeting of the National Security Council Executive Committee in Malacañang which ended at 3 a.m., this morning. The President issued the following directives: One, the President directed the creation of the Task Force from Mindanao, IP convergence to address the plight of the indigenous people of Mindanao; Two, the President directed the Department of Environment and National Resources to revoke the licenses, permits of mining companies violating explosive handling rules or reported to be supplying explosives to Communist Terrorist groups. Military and police who also found violating laws and explosives will face automatic expulsion.
Also at yesterday’s meeting, security measures against threats or violence by terrorist, particularly at Ports and Terminals and efforts to secure and develop the Philippine Rise were discussed. So question on the NPA as well as on the National Security Council meeting and on other issues not otherwise touched by Secretary Aguirre, please.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sagutin natin iyong mga estudyante na nasa eskuwelahan na when you announced the suspension. And you said, doon sa statements eminent threats. Can we be specific? Kasi may mga ibang—
SEC. ROQUE: Well, I will quote: Memorandum Circular number 42 in view of the organized transport strike, and in order to minimize the inconvenience to the riding public, classes in public and private schools at all levels in Metro Manila are hereby suspended on March 20, 2018. The suspension of classes in other affected areas shall be left to the discretion of their respective local government unit. So, hindi po natin hahayaan na magkaroon ng aberya sa ating estudyante dahil po sa transport strike na iyan.
JOSEPH/GMA7: No sir but the memo was signed yesterday but why was it released and announced mid-day today?
SEC. ROQUE: Well the date is already 3/20/2018 and I think this is because the meeting of the National Security Council Executive Committee lasted till 3 and the President participated in that meeting.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, doon po statement ninyo—
SEC. AGUIRRE: [off mic]
SEC. ROQUE: 3:30.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Parang may hugot sir. [laughs]. Anyway, sir you said in the statement, ‘eminent threat.’ Could you be specific with what did you mean by that?
SEC. ROQUE: Well iyan pong mga threats na iyan nanggagaling kapag walang masakyan ang ating mga kabataan. So iyon po ang ating iniwasan. At hindi po mag-aatubili ang Presidente na suspindihin na naman ang klase kung sila ay magbabanta na naman ng transport strike. Hindi po iyan pagwawagi ng mga transport groups na kumakalaban sa gobyerno. Iyan po ay para sa kapakanan ng ating mga kabataan at mga estudyante.
JOSEPH/GMA7: To transport lang sir. Hindi naman iyan—
SEC. ROQUE: Opo, wala naman po, transport.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay, thank you.
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Pero sir sabi ng Piston wala naman po silang transport strike today, so bakit po kailangang kanselahin?
SEC. ROQUE: Well hindi po namin alam kung ano ang plano ng Piston. Inanunsiyo nila isang linggo nga iyan ata eh ‘no or nagbabanta sila na patuloy na mga strike ‘no. So naniniguro lang po ang Presidente.
ROSALIE/UNTV: Pero sir ang sabi ng Piston is taktika lang daw po ito ng Malacañang para magalit ang taong bayan sa kanila?
SEC. ROQUE: Hindi ko po alam kung anong taktika ang sinasabi nila. Pinangangalagaan po namin ang mga estudyante at siyempre po may masasakyan ang mga tao kung hindi sila nag-i-strike.
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sir, sorry. Iyong timing po kasi ay finals week po ngayon and marami po iyong mga kailangan talagang pumasok dahil nga po kailangan pong mag-exam so malaki pong aberya?
SEC. ROQUE: Finals or no finals, kapag wala pong masasakyan, walang masasakyan at magkakaroon ng posibleng mga aberya. Iyan po ang punto de-vista ng ating Presidente.
BELLA CARIASO/BANDERA: Sir, kasi sino ba ang nag-advice na i-suspend iyong klase ngayon kasi wala naman talagang advice from Piston. So kanino tayo kumukuha ng advice before deciding kung magkakaroon ng suspension? Kasi ang laki ng naging effect sa mga estudyante na 10:30 pinauwi ninyo nasa schools na, parang kailangang sunduin, kailangang—talagang lahat ng—pati teachers nagrereklamo kung ano ba talaga ang—kanino ba iyong—nanggagaling iyong advice para late na iyong suspension ng klase?
SEC. ROQUE: Well ito po’y napagkasunduan noong gabi na ‘no—umaga na pala kanina ‘no. Wala po ako doon sa pagpupulong na iyon, pero ang mga desisyon pong ganito nanggagaling po sa ating Presidente, lalong-lalo na po ang memorandum na in-issue po for the suspension was issued no less than the Executive Secretary by authority of the President.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, hindi po ba ‘to conflicting sa statement na ng LTFRB kahapon na wala raw epekto iyong transport strike ng PISTON kasi less than 1% of the commuters in Metro Manila ang naapektuhan. So bakit now, we’re saying na—
SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po natin sinusugal iyong kapakanan ng ating mga kabataan.
TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, ano bang imminent threat or danger na nakita ng Palasyo, ng Presidente at saka ng—at napag-usapan ba ‘to sa National Security Council, sir?
SEC. ROQUE: Nasagot ko na po ‘yan, ‘pag walang masasakyan ang mga kabataan, posible na kinakailangan maglakad ‘no, at ‘pag ika’y naglalakad, eh maraming posibleng aberya.
TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Is there anything above that na situation na hindi lang makasakay? I’m sure kaya ng mga estudyanteng maglakad, mag-ano… Pero, ano bang threat posed by this—
SEC. ROQUE: Sa suspension, iyong possible strike po dahil ang PISTON naman hindi natin alam kung kailan talaga sila mag-i-strike.
TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Is it related sir sa pag-classify ng court sa kaniya na NPA, as ano na nagdeklara rin ang Pangulo na…
SEC. ROQUE: Well ang issue lang po ng pag-suspend ng klase ay iyong posibilidad na walang masakyan ang ating mga kabataan at estudyante.
TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: But then it’s also discussed sa National Security Council?
SEC. ROQUE: Hindi ko po alam, wala ako doon [laughs].
LEILA SALAVERRIA/INQUIRER: Sir, good morning. Sir do you still maintain that Malacañang or the President is not involved in any way in what’s happening with Napoles, considering that the Executive Secretary was giving his opinion to the lawyer of Napoles?
SEC. ROQUE: Naku, obviously you just heard the Justice Secretary. Atty. David was there to appeal that Secretary Medialdea should reverse the position of the DOJ Secretary – he did not succeed. So that’s proof that Malacañang is not behind anything as far as Napoles is concerned.
LEILA SALAVERRIA/INQUIRER: But, is the President apprised of what’s happening, kasi the Executive Secretary is the ‘little president’?
SEC. ROQUE: What does he have to apprise the President about ‘no? He did not act on the appeal to reconsider the position of the DOJ Secretary. Should the Executive Secretary consult the President on a matter where he merely affirmed the decision of the Secretary of Justice? I don’t think that was necessary.
LEILA SALAVERRIA/INQUIRER: Even if this is Napoles and her testimony could open a can of worms?
SEC. ROQUE: Well alam ninyo po kasi, ang sinasabi namin there’s a law governing admission to the WPP. And the law says, it is the DOJ that will decide these matters. The President does not micro-manage. He will allow the line agencies to perform their duties according to the law. He will reserve of course exercise of supervision and control if need be, but right now it’s a provisional coverage into the WPP. It is for the purpose of examining her affidavits, whether or not she should in fact be discharged from any case ‘no. So at this point, the President did not do anything. He trusts that Secretary Aguirre is doing the right thing.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, a quick one before I go to my real question. I am wondering, why is Atty. David going in and out of Malacañang as mentioned by the Justice Secretary? Anong ginagawa niya sa Palasyo, sir?
SEC. ROQUE: I have no information on that.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. My question, sir: Did the President give his ‘go’ signal sir doon sa contract signing for the provisional license doon sa casino to operate in Boracay? It’s supposedly going to happen tomorrow.
SEC. ROQUE: The President has said, that he does not sign anything as far as contracts are concerned. This is a PAGCOR contract then it must be PAGCOR that will sign this.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: No. I mean, but he—is he aware of it? Because I’m wondering whatever happened to his earlier directive. Hindi ba may moratorium po doon sa pagtatayo ng mga bagong casino?
SEC. ROQUE: I can only surmise that this must have been discussed, and possibly approved before the moratorium declared by the President.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. Sir, when does the Palace expect this to—I mean, what guidance would this new casino have as far as construction is concerned considering the possible closure of Boracay? Would this happen after?
SEC. ROQUE: I think at this point, because the President has not given any specific directive on what to do with Boracay, they invest in the Philippines subject to the caveat that the President may decide to include in his decision, a possible closure of Boracay. So the investor is forewarned that, of course, the decision on whether or not they can actually conduct business will depend on the decision of the President on what ultimately to do with Boracay.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir on the casino, sir. Does the President’s decision to close Boracay have anything to do with the plans to construct the casino there in Boracay, sir?
SEC. ROQUE: Number one, there is no decision made by the President yet. There is a recommendation! The President will act on the recommendation and I see no link between the casino and whatever decision, the President will make. His decision will depend exclusively on what is best to protect the environment of Boracay.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So kasi sir iyong mga criticism, especially online say that iyong decision na iyon is just… parang a plan or a ploy to pave the way for the construction of the casino, sir.
SEC. ROQUE: Wala pong katuturan ‘yan. Wala pa nga pong desisyon ang Presidente, at—sinabi na po niya ‘no noong siya’y nagkaroon ng pribadong interview with select opinion writers, that it is the protection of the environment in Boracay that will determine his course of action.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Also, sir if the government is concerned with Boracay being over capacitated, why approve a casino there which will possibly bring more tourists or a different market to Boracay?
SEC. ROQUE: Kasi ang problema naman, Boracay ay mayroong mga solusyon diyan na hindi lang sinusunod siguro ng mga ilang kumpanya. Mayroon naman dapat diyang waste water facilities as in fact it’s in the law. Puwedeng magkaroon ng zero discharge diyan, sa lahat ng tubig na idi-discharge ay nati-treat. So iyong size ng investment, wala pong hadlang iyon ‘no kung papayagan, provided the proper technologies to protect the environment particularly against discharge into the oceans are all in place.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, two super short questions. SSS 14% contribution! Approved, not yet?
SEC. ROQUE: No news.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Divorce bill, sir Speaker Alvarez says that the President will still support the Divorce Bill.
SEC. ROQUE: I think I made public his personal views on divorce, but he has not indicated what he will do officially as president. So he articulated his personal perceptions on the Divorce Bill.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: ‘Pag dumating na lang sa kaniya ‘no? If it reaches him!
SEC. ROQUE: Of course. Ultimately, he’ll have to decide if it’s sent to him for signature what to do. But we’re far from there.
ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
SEC. ROQUE: Thank you very much, and see you later this week.
ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Thank you, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
SEC. ROQUE: Thank you, Secretary Vit Aguirre. Thank you, Secretary Meynard Guevarra. Thank you, Usec. Balmes. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Mayor Ceno ‘no, yes.
ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Thank you, Malacañang Press Corps.
SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)