Press Briefing

Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing
Location Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañan Palace


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Good afternoon and welcome to good news Monday.

Beginning our good news this Monday:

The United Nations calls the Philippines a rising star in foreign direct investments ‘no.

The Philippines is expected to have significantly better trade prospects for 2017 according to United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) in the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2017: Channeling Trade and Investment into Sustainable Development.

The positive outlook is a result of the improved services export performance, 58.6% year-on-year increase in the telecommunication services and 11.3% growth in the number of international tourist arrivals.

In addition, UNESCAP considered the Philippines as a rising star because of the 60% growth in the county’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and simplified procedures for foreign investments contributed to the positive forecast. Further, the report approved of the streamlining of services such as the releasing of business permits and licensing system of the country.

Another good news is that the Philippine manufacturing sector is ahead of ASEAN countries:

The Nikkei Philippine Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reported that the country’s manufacturing sector got a score of 53.7 for the month of October, which is higher than last month’s score of 50.8. This makes the Philippines on top of ASEAN countries in overall growth ranking in manufacturing sector.

The growth in manufacturing sector is attributed to the strengthened domestic demand and maintained export sales, increased volumes of firm production and availability of more capital.

Third good news is that the UNHCR compliments the Philippines support for refugees:

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees commended the Philippines for its continuous support to protect refugees.

The Department of Justice, which leads 15 other agencies of the government, signed an interagency agreement that would give legal ground for asylum seekers, refugees, stateless persons and other persons of concerns to avail of government services they need in the country.

This proves that Filipinos are hospitable people who would warmly welcome travellers and tourists extend the same warmth and support to refugees and asylum seekers.

I’m ready to take your questions.


Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi. Sir, good morning.


Ms. Novenario: Sa presscon po kanina ni General Bato sa PNP, ipiniresent (present) po niya ‘yung arrested Indon terrorist at ang sabi po niya, kaya siya napasama rito siya ISIS inspired Maute group ay dahil sa kanyang expertise sa pagpapatakbo ng — pagpapatakbo ng drone planes. Sir, ano po ‘yung magiging patakaran po ng gobyerno, specifically DOST doon po sa monitoring po nang lumilipad na mga drone planes po sa bansa dahil apparently, lima daw po ‘yung pinalipad niyang drones during the Marawi siege. Hindi po ba ito namo-monitor ng gobyerno?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, I will inquire from the DOST if it is in fact the DOST that has jurisdiction. I will also inquire from CAAP ‘no, because they are flying objects ‘no.

So perhaps there should be in fact be a policy. But the arrest of the Indonesian proves that despite the fact that fightings have stopped and we have declared that the war has been won in Marawi that we must remain ever vigilant against modern-day terrorism.

The fact that we caught an Indonesian national fighting alongside the ISIS proves that the ISIS threat is very real, not just in the Philippines but in the rest of Southeast Asia and in the rest of the world.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, ano po ‘yung pwede nating i-recommend na immediate action po para ma-prevent po ‘yung similar incidents po, para ma-prevent din po ‘yung mga terror — possible terror attacks, lalo na po at darating na ‘yung world leaders sa ASEAN?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I think, there should, for the time being ‘no, particularly in areas where ASEAN activities will be held, an absolute no-fly zone which should include [anong tawag dito?] drones ‘no.

I understand in Malacañang, Malacañang being a no-fly zone, you cannot also fly drones in the sky above Malacañang. I think, we should have the same policy for all the venues of the ASEAN activities.

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Hi, sir.


Ms. Ranada: Sir, you already had a statement on the survey which was released over the weekend but I just wanted to press further on the issue of the 33-point drop in Mindanao. Mindanao is the, typically, the strongest base of the President in terms of support. What would the Palace say or to what would the Palace attribute this large drop? And what would the President be doing about this decline in people’s expectations?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, I think, it’s normal that after about a year in office that people will say that the election promises may not be met ‘no.

But having said that, the same survey indicated that the people still rated the President with “very good” in terms of performance.

And I would say that going beyond surveys, we have shown that the — President Duterte has shown political will, he has won the battle in Marawi, we have substantial gains on the economy.

As I said in the good news, we now lead ASEAN as far as manufacturing is concerned and as far as investments are concerned.

So I think, surveys will come and go. The President has once said that he doesn’t look at surveys but the surveys nonetheless are “very good” ‘no as far as the people’s approval of his performance are concerned.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just for Mindanao. Would you say that the non-passage of BBL, so far, maybe the economic progress in Mindanao, do you think that these could have been one of the reasons why there was a decline?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: It’s hard to speculate ‘no because the survey did not ask the respondents on what particular promise he has not delivered.

But I think, one very good thing about the campaign strategy of the President was he kept his promises very simple and very few.

And there was, of course, the war against drug, there was the pursuit of independent foreign policy and there’s the zero tolerance to corruption.

And if he were to be gauged ‘no on those three promises, I would say he should have an excellent rating.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, just on another topic, ‘cause you have this innovation to hold briefings in the provinces every week. Sir, what is your budget for this and how would you justify the cost given that a lot of these reporters in local — in the provinces have their own specializations and as a Malacañang official, you are expected to give statements in Malacañang and the President does have this determination to keep the budget simple and to not spend so much when a lot can be done without the expense?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I don’t think it will entail too much cost. To begin with, I don’t know what my budget is because my designation is as a secretary of the PC — of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson.

I finally have my appointment, so it is available now for the public to see. But I think, it will not entail too much expense because we already have infrastructure nationwide.

If not, the PIA then RTVM, if not RTVM then PTV-4. I was in Cebu, in fact, yesterday and the press briefing there for the local media was organized by RTVM and PTV-4, which both have offices in Malacañang.

The rationale really is, in the course of answering calls from the media, some are saying, “Please, don’t stop your current policy of answering everyone because past spokespersons have ignored the local media altogether.”

So, I told them that, “I go by the policy of first come, first serve if I can answer, so I would not discriminate between the Malacañang Press Corps, international media or the provincial press corps.”

I think it’s equally important to keep the public in the provinces informed.

Ms. Ranada: And, sir, what would you say to concerns that you are using your position for early campaigning for the 2019 elections?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I don’t think so. There is no — there is no election period yet ‘no. But if the people really don’t want me to go to the provinces, I will heed that. But let’s see how the public will first respond to it.

Certainly, on the basis of my first trip to Cebu, the local media has seemed to be very appreciative of the initiative.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Sec., magandang hapon.


Mr. Ganibe: Sa Miyerkules, pang-apat na taon na ng Yolanda. Last year, nung pangatlong anibersaryo pumunta si Pangulong Duterte, nadismaya siya dun sa mabagal na pabahay. Bumalik siya nung January at nadismaya ulit siya dahil hindi na-fulfill ‘yung mga binabanggit niya. Babalik kaya siya or any update on the housing projects?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I do not know about his schedule, but remember, the President will be very busy in the next few days because of APEC and ASEAN ‘no.

So I do not know when it will actually — the anniversary actually is, what date is that?

Mr. Ganibe: Eight, sir, Wednesday.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: November 8. Well, unfortunately November 8, we will be in Vietnam where the President would be attending APEC and afterwards, of course, is ASEAN.

But on Yolanda, there are very good lessons learned. The delay in the reconstruction of Yolanda devastated areas is simply unacceptable as far as the President is concerned.

He has appointed Secretary del Rosario and Wendel Avisado as point persons in the rehabilitation of Yolanda.

At the same time, he promises prosecution no’ for the subhuman housing that were constructed in the Yolanda devastated areas, which came out as a result of investigation conducted by the Committee on Housing of the House of the Representatives.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, regarding the SWS survey, do you think that part of decline on his ratings dito sa recent SWS survey would have something to do with President Duterte’s admission that he cannot solve the drug problem within 6 months because of the enormity of the drug problems. Does it have anything to do with it, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Again, we can’t speculate because the survey did not ask the people what specifically did they feel the President failed to live up to.

So, I can’t comment on something that we don’t know no’. But perhaps in the next survey the SWS should ask respondents on what these promises are.

Ms. Gutierrez: Pero, sir, considering that solving the drug problem is his main campaign agenda, do you think that it has — still has something to do with it?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, I think no one will say that the campaign — the war on drugs — has not resulted in positive results for the Philippines.

We have unprecedented individuals who have surrendered. We have unprecedented volumes of drugs seized. And we now are seeing values of shabu at their peak ‘no indicating a sharp decline in the supply of drugs in the country.

Other countries are looking to us for best practices in the anti-drug campaign. So my conclusion is there are maybe other reasons for the respondents who say that the President will not be able to live up to his campaign promises, certainly that — the campaign against war can’t be one of them.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, also can we get your reaction on Bishop Soc Villegas’ homily yesterday doon sa — doon sa event yesterday, he said — he asked for — to stop the killings and to start the healing, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, as I said in the statement that we issued in time for the prayer for healing, we join the nation in praying for healing.

I think the country needs prayer. And we express solidarity in the desire of the Catholic Church for the nation to pray for healing.

Ms. Gutierrez: Thank you, sir.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Hi, sir. We all know, sir, that the President cancel the peace talks with CPP-NPA-NDF. But recently, sir, parang nagbigay siya ng pag-pabor doon sa initiative ng anak niya na si Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for a localized peace talks. So ano po ba ang real score dito sa usapin ng pangkapayapaan, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: The President has not completely ruled out resumption of peace talks. What he wants to see is sincerity on the part of the CPP-NPA.

Hindi naman po pupwede na nag-uusap ng kapayapaan tapos non-stop ang ambush sa ating mga kasundaluhan. Kung sinsero po tayo sa kapayapaan at talaga namang tumatanda na ang hanay ng liderato ng CPP-NPA, ay dapat po siguro habang nag-uusap tigil muna ‘yang mga ambush na ‘yan.

So as I said, the doors are not completely closed but he wants to see sincerity on the part of the CPP-NPA.

Ms Niu: Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: And he has said it over and over again. He wants all fightings to stop during his administration.

Ms. Niu: Yes, sir. Another issue, sir. Mayroong I think internal or internal problems sa Kabayan party-list and mayroon po silang statement now na parang saying na iko-quote ko lang, sir, si Representative Salo. Ang sinasabi po niya is “you threaten daw po to you—‘yung Kabayan party-list na gagamitin niyo ang impluwensiya ninyo and the power and resources as presidential spokesperson para harangin po ‘yung pag-proclaim sa inyong kasamahan doon si Atty. Ciriaco Calalang para maging kapalit ninyo sa pwesto.” Can you please react on this, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Obviously, Ron Salo is delirious because I don’t know what power and influence he is referring to.

However, I confirmed that we have an intra-party dispute pending in the Commission on Elections and I have eight ethics complaints against him. I am repeating my call to the House Ethics Committee: “Expel Ron Salo because he is unfit to become part of the Congress of the Philippines.”

Ms. Niu: Follow-up lang, sir. Ano po ba ang magiging—linawin ninyo lang sa amin, sir, ano. Ngayon po na Presidential Spokesperson po kayo automatic po ba na kalas kayo as Representative ng House o magre-resign kayo doon paano po ba magiging sistema po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: As soon as I take my oath, it’s ipso facto. But it’s not ipso facto that the third nominee will take over. Because the Kabayan congress… Kabayan had a congress and they voted to annul the designation of the third, fourth, and fifth as being illegal. Let the COMELEC rule on that.

And I would say that my successor — the issue of my successor will inevitably be resolved by the COMELEC which will have jurisdiction on who the third, fourth and fifth.

Problema diyan sa mga taong ‘yan akala nila sila na, salita nila eh pupwede na. Ilang beses nilang sinabi na inexpel nila ako sa Kongreso, beh buti nga never nangyari ‘yun.

Kung ako ay aalis sa Kongreso, it’s because I will leave as a matter, of course, because of a — as a consequence of accepting another position in government or because I resigned not because of them. So stop spreading fake news.

Ms. Niu: So ang kailangan lang, sir, hintayin lang nila ‘yung tamang proseso?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Dumaan sila sa proseso gaya ng paghingi ko na patalsikin siya sa Kongreso. Ako’y dumadaan sa proseso at nag-aantay ng resulta.

Now, kung ako’y hihingi na patalsikin siya dahil hindi siya karapat-dapat na manatili sa Kongreso, what influence am I exerting? It’s a fact.

Ms. Niu: Thank you, sir.

Celerina Monte (Manila Shimbun): Good afternoon, sir. Sir, there’s this statement by Chief Justice Sereno, she’s apparently saying that there’s a resurgence of political forces that have threatened and harassed the independence daw of the judiciary. Does Malacañang share the same view?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Certainly not. I do not know what Malacañang has done or at least the Executive has done to undermine independence of the judiciary.

The President is still an officer of the court as a lawyer. He has taken an oath to uphold his duties as an officer of the court.

And crucial to that duty is to uphold the independence of what really is the weakest branch of government although we consider as a co-equal branch of government.

Ms. Monte: Do you think she made this observation because of the impeachment complaint against her?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, an impeachment proceeding cannot be a means by which to undermine the independence of the judiciary because it’s a constitutional procedure.

If at all, perhaps what will undermine the independence of the judiciary would be acts committed by judicial agents that would lead to the initiation of the impeachment proceedings.

She has only to blame herself if she feels that the impeachment proceeding has affected the independence of the judiciary.

Ms. Monte: Do you think she needs to resign?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I believe so. [laughter] No, I’m now serious as a senior lawyer, as a law professor, I do not think the judiciary can survive another decision that would remove an incumbent Chief Justice.

I think it is high time now for Chief Justice to reexamine very carefully the effect of another removal to the institution itself.

It cannot be that there will be a second instance that a sitting Chief Justice will be removed as a result of decision of the Senate.

We cannot wait for that. If we were to wait for that, it is the finding of guilt that will undermine the independence of the judiciary.

So I call upon Chief Justice Sereno to really consider resigning if only to spare the institution from any further damage.

Ms. Monte: It is safe to assume that this is also the position of the President, since you’re the spokesperson of the President?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Of course, the President wants her to be removed altogether ‘no, by all means.

And, of course, like Andy Bautista, she could spare the court from further damage by voluntarily resign.

Ms. Monte: Sir, on another issue. Kasi there’s these reports before na circulating in the social media regarding you being the lawyer of Banco Filipino who allegedly earned 200 plus million pesos along with former Secretary Yasay, even parang same amount or higher than the deposits of those depositors supposedly. Why do you think this news is being revived?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I do not know. But if it were true, I wouldn’t be working now.

Ms. Monte: So it’s not true that you earned…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I would be spending away the 200 million in retirement.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Hi, sir, good noon. Sir, just to follow up. You’re call for the Chief Justice to resign is — just to clarify, based on — to spare the country from damage for another impeachment? Or because you are convinced that there is a merit to her impeachment or removal from office?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I would say it’s both. But what I said earlier is, it would be very difficult for the judiciary to recover from a second Senate decision to remove a sitting Chief Justice because of a finding that that Chief Justice is guilty of an impeachable offense.

I don’t think the court can afford that so soon after the removal of former Chief Justice Corona.

Mr. Tinaza: Okay, thank you, sir.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Secretary, siguradong ang susunod na reaksyon sa inyo is nakikialam ang executive sa ginagawa ng judiciary because ‘yung binabanggit ninyo na dapat na siyang mag-resign. Kung ‘yun ang ipupukol sa inyo, anong isasagot niyo rito?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Ano ang… Ang ipupukol sa akin is nakikialam ako sa judiciary.

Mr. Uri: Yes.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Of course, not. I’m commenting about an impeachment proceeding and it has nothing to do with the judiciary. It’s about the personal liability of an impeachable officer. And the issue there is whether or not she committed impeachable offenses.

So I’m not undermining the judiciary. I’m not intervening in the affairs of the judiciary. I’m asking the Chief Justice to spare further damage to an institution by resigning.

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Sir, as a follow-up. Sir, you mentioned earlier, to spare the judiciary from further embarrassment by a decision of the Senate to remove…


Ms. Mendez: Further damage by the Senate decision. So para bang at this point, we are sure that the Senate will decide that the CJ will be impeached?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: We’re not. But I’ve seen the evidence because I was a member of the House Committee on Justice. I read the complaint. I read her answer. I read all the reply.

And I’m very bothered by the allegations which to my mind are supported not just by substantial evidence but very convincing evidence that some of the grounds may, in fact, be impeachable.

Ms. Mendez: But does that not preempt already the Senate from deciding in this case?


Ms. Mendez: Knowing fully well that you are now the Presidential Spokesperson and the alter ego of the President?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Certainly not. All I’m saying we should not even speculate on how the Senate will decide.

I’m saying that the best way to protect the institution is to forego with the trial altogether and save the institution from further damage.

Ms. Mendez: Thank you, sir.

Joseph Morong (GMA-7): Hi, sir.


Mr. Morong: Bakit? I like to go back to the homily of Bishop — Archbishop Villegas ‘no. And I’d like to read some parts of it. Sabi niya: “Naligaw na tayo ng landas at pinili natin ang kadiliman kaysa liwanag. Bakit tayo pumapalakpak sa patayan? Pinili natin ang karahasan kaysa kapayapaan. Pinili natin ang magsinungaling kaysa katotohanan.” Would you concede that that is true — the observation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, I do not know if I will concede. I will say that well people should be alarmed that there are killings ongoing because we do not know who the next victim will be.

The President was certainly alarmed with the killing of Kian and as a result of which, he ordered the immediate arrest — he asked General Bato to arrest immediately the policemen suspected to be behind the killing of Kian.

I guess the good prelate was saying that the people seemed to have accepted the killings because there’s not enough protests to accompany the killing.

Well, I’m not sure I’m in a position to validate that view. But what I do know is that the people are supportive of the drug war because for the first time, their communities are actually safer. The kids can walk home at night without the fear of being accosted by some drug-crazed individual ‘no.

So that must be the reason why people have not condemned the war against drug and the collateral death arising from the collateral — from the — arising from the war against drug ‘no.

It’s because people found the war against drug as effective and they value the new found peace and order that they enjoy in their communities.

Mr. Morong: Sir, in your… You always mention the free market place of ideas. Do you think that the Church in this administration still has a voice given what the President had said before na he kind of like maybe attacked the credibility of the Church?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Yes of course ‘no. The freedom of expression is accorded to everyone including the Church.

And of course, the Church, whether we like it or not, is very important in this nation as forming part of our culture and our sense of identity.

Mr. Morong: Sir, just on the survey. Do you think that there’s some kind of buyer’s remorse in the public?


Mr. Morong: Yeah.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I don’t think so because as I have said that’s the trend for all administration.

So it did not just happen in the administration of President Duterte. All administration suffered from similar.

Mr. Morong: Okay. Do you think that that’s something that you have to solve and you being the new spokesperson is one way of curing maybe ‘yung strategy of communicating the programs of the President wasn’t as effective as before? You think that’s — you being the new spokesperson, do you think that’s part of the tactical move of this administration to maybe combat that slide or not naman slide but dips in the ratings?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I don’t want to be presumptuous. I do not really know why he chose me.

He, in fact, declared it’s a personal decision. But I know my job and I intend to do it well.

Mr. Morong: Thank you.

Ms. Novenario: Sir, follow up ko lang po ‘yung sa Church. Sir, ano po ‘yung tingin niyo na magiging tunay na paghihilom po para po magkasundo ang estado at ang simbahan tungo po sa pagwawagi ng war against drugs?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I can give you a whole lecture on that ‘no. But you know, we do have separation of Church and State.

But because we’re both serving the interest of our countrymen, so naniniwala po ako na mas mabuti na magkaroon nang pagkakasunduan sa parte ng simbahan at ng ating gobyerno ‘no.

Pareho naman po tayo nagnanais na itaguyod ‘yung moralidad at pareho naman tayo nagnanais po na itaguyod din ‘yung mga karapatan ng ating mga kababayan dahil lahat po tayo ay hinirang ng Panginoon sa kanyang imahe.

I don’t think there should be a conflict and from now on, I think what I have been reading from the President himself is that he’s exerting all efforts ‘no to have complete conciliation with the Church and all religious group.

Ina Andolong (CNN Philippines): Sir. Hi, sir. Sir, you mentioned earlier that there’s not been enough protest against the killings. How then would you describe, sir, the rally yesterday?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, it wasn’t a rally. It was a prayer for healing. So I take the organizers’ words literally.

It was not meant to be political. It was meant to be a religious activity. I’ll leave it at that.

Ms. Andolong: Even if they were calling for the end to the killings at the same time?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I don’t think that’s a political statement because no one, even the President, condones unnecessary and illegal killings.

The President has said it over and over again. He will stand by his men if the killings are as a result of legal engagement and he will throw them behind bars if the killings are illegal.

Ms. Andolong: And lastly, sir, there’s… Some people are — look at the prayer rally yesterday as you mentioned as an initiative of the so-called Yellow group. As far as Malacañang is concerned, do you also see it that way?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, you can’t divorce the fact that many of the organizers are in fact identified with the political opposition.

But we respect the right to peaceful assembly and as I said ‘no, we join them when it comes to the matter of praying for healing for the nation.

Ms. Niu: Sir, follow-up lang. Nabanggit niyo na kanina na the President is doing his effort para doon sa magkasundo ang gobyerno at ang ating simbahan. Would you advise him, sir, na gawin ito agad or the soonest possible time para okay na lahat?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: There’s no need to advise kasi feeling ko ‘yun ang gusto niya. So why advise when he’s already doing it?

He could have spoken up against the prayer rally if he wanted to. He did not.

Ms. Niu: But ano…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: And please take not that although I’m a spokesperson, I do get approvals for statements that I make in this podium.

You would not believe the amount of the procedure that I undergo to verify statements that I will make in this podium.

Ms. Niu: Yes, sir. But as of yet, sir, wala pa namang schedule for that dialogue, sir? Wala pa naman?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, you know, you’re implying that the reconciliation requires a dialogue. There’s different approaches to having reconciliation here.

Ms. Niu: Okay. Thank you, sir.

Mr. Morong: Sir, before I go to the main question. Short lang. Since you mentioned. How’s your procedure now with the dynamics with you and the President in terms of the statements, what time do you get the approval?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, I’ll just say that… Okay, I’ll be candid about it. I was careful with my comments on the telecoms and I was careful with my comments on — [ano ba ‘yung isang issue?] telecoms and — [what was the other one?]

No, no, no. The telecoms, I had to really make sure that he stands by his statement that unless the improvement — there’s any improvement in the telecom sector, he will cont — he will allow a third party to come in.

So I had to clarify that ‘no and confirm that. I can’t remember the other issue that I really had to clarify with him.

Mr. Morong: [inaudible]

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: No, no, no. I can’t remember. I‘ll remember. [laughter] Next time. Tomorrow, you ask me again, I’ll remember.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, you confirm through SAP Bong Go about these statements?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Bahala na kami doon. [laughter]

Ms. Ranada: Sir, curious lang, through him? Because he’s the one who’s close to the President, so?

Mr. Morong: [inaudible]

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, it depends. When I have the occasion, I confirm directly. If — if not, then I confirm it through Secretary Go.

But I will be seeing the President again and there are other matters that I want to confirm with him personally.

Mr. Morong: Sir, sa APEC lang. We know naman na may mutual admiration si President Duterte and President Trump, and they will have their first face-to-face in Vietnam. How do we — what do we expect from the first, probably, meeting or encounter?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Well, you know, don’t expect too much because that’s APEC. There’s a lot more heads of states participating compared to ASEAN. And unlike ASEAN he’s not chairing APEC ‘no.

So while I understand there will be bilateral talks, I don’t think it will be as extensive as his bilateral talks here in Manila, plus the fact that he will be spending a whole — an extra day in Manila ‘no.

So I expect that they would have more opportunity to interact with each other here in Manila.

Although, I’m sure they would have an occasion to have bilateral talks in Vietnam as well.

Mr. Morong: [inaudible]

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: Not… Well, in the sense that they will have to relate to each other physically ‘no.

But I’m not sure if there’s actually bilateral — bilateral meetings scheduled because they have not released the final schedule ‘no of APEC.

In fact, as a matter of security, they don’t actually release the time, by hour-by-hour schedule of the President in the overseas trips ‘no.

Even in — accompanied them as accompanying delegation, we don’t know ourselves the actual schedule until the day itself because they slip it under the door of our hotel room ‘no. And if there’s, of course a tag, it’s confidential.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, over the weekend or, I think, earlier this morning, si Secretary Andanar said that Sir Ernie Abella would still be in PCOO as a Usec. Could we just get more details of what his position is, what will he be doing as Usec?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: He will be Undersecretary. He continues to be Undersecretary of PCOO.

There hasn’t been any movement at all, as far as the position of Secretary Abella is concerned.

Ms. Ranada: So, sir, what is he doing now? What is his role as the Usec, because he was Usec and spokesman? Now, you are the spokesman, so what is his portfolio?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I do not know because I am — I can tell you this with all honesty, I don’t have time to deal with anything else other than being spokesperson right now.

Ms. Ranada: Sir, is there truth to any of the talks that si Sir Abella might be offered a post as an ambassador?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ROQUE: I am in no position to comment on presidential appointments. Only the President can confirm that.

— END —