Press Briefing

Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

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

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV:  Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps. Happy Monday. Welcome sa regular press briefing ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Good morning, sir.

SEC. ROQUE:  Good morning. Good Monday morning to the Malacañang Press Corps and to the rest of the country.

So simula po tayo sa mga mabuting balita. Mabuting balita sang-ayon po sa National Capital Region Police Office or NCRPO, napakalaki po ng binaba ng mga krimen na na-record nila ‘no. There was a 17.96—18% decrease in crime volume recorded last year compared to the year before; murder decreased by 23.38%, from 1,976 in 2016 to 1,514 in 2017; homicide decreased by 26.69%, from 577 to 423; physical injuries reduced by 7.62%, from 4,830 to 4,462; and, rape decreased by 17.49%, from 1,098 to 906 incidents; robbery decreased by 16.04%, from 3,603 to 3,025; theft decreased by 19.92%, from 8,059 to 6,454; carnapping decreased by almost 50% – 48.9%, from 317 to 162; and, motorcycle theft also decreased by 31.04%, from 1,221 to 842. And this is of course, as a result of our renewed effort not only to go against dangerous drugs, but against all forms of criminalities ‘no.

Another good news: The Build, Build, Build continues to rollout. In fact, the Department of Transportation led the commencement of work ceremony of the Philippine National Railways Project or the Manila-Clark Project Phase 1 under the auspices of JICA ‘no. The project is estimated to cost a hundred and five (105) billion pesos.

Phase 1 of the PNR-Clark Project entails construction of the rail system along the 38-kilometer segment from Tutuban to Malolos. It will have 10 stations, and is expected to service around 340,000 passengers daily during its opening years. It is estimated that this new line, will take only 35 minutes ‘no from Tutuban to Malolos.

NEDA has also approved the second part of this project – a 70-kilometer stretch, from Malolos, Bulacan to Clark, Pampanga. It will be further extended to La Union, Tuguegarao and Subic Freeport. We expect itong Phase 1 noong PNR Project, Tutuban to Malolos, to be completed in 2021; and the Phase 2, Malolos to Clark, by 2022.

Another good news: We are pleased to inform our kababayans abroad that the Overseas Filipino Bank is set to open this week, on January 18. If you would recall, the establishment of the Overseas Filipino Bank is a commitment made by the President to the members of the Filipino communities everytime he would meet them in his trips abroad ‘no. Last September, the President signed EO No. 44, approving the acquisition of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank by the Landbank of the Philippines and its conversion into an Overseas Filipino Bank.

We recognize the contribution of our Overseas Filipinos to our economic growth that we are now enjoying. And related to this, we acknowledge their financial needs. We therefore aim to provide financial and remittance services tailored to the needs of our kababayan. Tara na po at hikayatin natin ang ating pamilya, kamag-anak, kilala na magbukas ng bagong account sa Overseas Filipino Bank.

On Mount Mayon Volcano – The alert level has been raised to Alert No. 3. The Bicol Region Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council through the Office of the Civil Defense 5, with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and Albay Local Government are closely monitoring communities around Mayon Volcano. 1,198 families or 4,537 persons have been taken to temporary shelters in 10 evacuation centers in Guinobatan, Camalig, Malilipot – all in Albay Province.

The DSWD Field Office in Region V has 5.6 million in standby funds and a stockpile of 13,352 family food packs and non-food items consisting of 37,342 pieces malong, 382 rolls laminated socks, 7,327 dignity kits and 54,832 blankets.

Dahil Level Alert 3 na po sa Mayon, lahat po ng nakatira sa 6-kilometer permanent danger zone at 7-kilometer expanded danger zone, eh lumisan na po kayo panandalian at pumunta po sa mga evacuation centers. Uulitin ko po, iyong mga nakatira sa 6-kilometer permanent danger zone and 7-kilometer expanded danger zone, lumikas na po kayo panandalian.

I’d like to confirm that the President will attend the India-ASEAN Summit from the 24th to the 26th of this month. We place great importance on our relationship with India which is considered an emerging economy. President Duterte’s participation is an outcome of his bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of India at the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit.

Also, the Indian-ASEAN Summit is the first summit event under the Singapore chairmanship of ASEAN which has been supportive of the Philippine’s ASEAN chairmanship last year. The fact that the President decided to attend is also because of a personal appeal by the Indian Ambassador that in 2012, the Commemorative Summit held in 2012 in India, the Philippines was the only country that was not represented by a Head of State ‘no, and that is why he has confirmed his attendance.

Now, there’s talk about abolition of the Vice President under Charter change – that’s beyond the control of the Palace. As you know, it is Congress sitting as a constituent assembly that will propose amendments. However, I’m sure, that because any proposed amendment to the Constitution will be subject to ratification by the people that ultimately it is the people who will judge this matter.

And finally, I wish to announce that the President has received the resignation of CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan and that it will be accepted by the President.


MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Hi sir, good morning. Sir can you confirm, is it true that ES Medialdea has called Chair Licuanan over the weekend and asked her to resign?

SEC. ROQUE:  I have no information on that regard.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  But what was the reason behind her resignation, sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  I have not seen the resignation. It was received at 8 o’clock in the morning by e-mail. A hard copy is forthcoming. I’ve not seen the copy of the forthcoming. I’ve been advised though, that since it’s been received, it will be accepted.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Mayroon na po ba tayong sir ina-eye, who will replace Chairman Licuanan?

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala pa po, but as is the procedure, the most senior of the commissioners will takeover in an acting capacity.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, na-consider po ba iyong sinasabing excessive foreign travels ni Chair Licuanan?

SEC. ROQUE:  This is an act of resignation. It was a decision of Chairperson Licuanan herself.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Thank you, sir.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, ito po bang si CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan, ito po iyong sinasabi ni President Duterte that he will fire because of graft?

SEC. ROQUE:  This was a resignation, an act of Chairperson Licuanan herself. Her resignation has rendered all controversies be moot and I don’t feel compelled to issue any statement in that regard.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  But has President Duterte noted the allegations against Patricia Licuanan, sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  Yes, of course he knows about the allegations.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  What did he say, sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, it doesn’t matter really what he says or thinks because Chairman Licuanan has resigned.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, iyong sinasabi po ni President na tatanggalin po niya because of graft, puwede na po ba nating ma-announce today?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, all I know is that there is a resignation – Secretary Licuanan—and I’d like to highlight that there’s two chairmen who resigned. What I’d like to highlight is, General Corpuz was personally—of the PCSO was personally recruited by the President, and he had to resign because of health reasons.

There is a letter that was sent by Chairman Corpuz to the President. We did not release it only because it contains the medical abstract of his conditions. But the President noted that the resignation of General Corpuz was upon advice of his doctors.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  So mayroon pa po ba sir, na tatanggalin si President?

SEC. ROQUE:  For now, I do not know.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Ito pong si ano sir, si Chairman Corpuz, ito po ba iyong sinasabi ninyo na tatanggalin ni President—

SEC. ROQUE:  General Corpuz resigned on his own because of health reasons.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  But you mentioned sir iyong sa briefing ninyo sa Bukidnon, that he will be replacing another chairman not because of graft.

SEC. ROQUE:  Yes, not because of graft.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  So ito sir, you are referring to Chairman Corpuz?

SEC. ROQUE:  I was referring to… Chairman Corpuz was not the chairman that the President wanted to remove because of graft. He resigned voluntarily because of health reasons, and in fact, the President accepted that resignation, that irrevocable resignation because the resignation was upon the advice of General Corpuz.

PIA/ABS-CBN: So sir si Chairman Licuanan iyong tinutukoy ninyo sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Again as I said, all controversies about Licuanan has been rendered moot by her resignation.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Sir any other announcement kung sino pa iyong mga tatanggalin—?

SEC. ROQUE: None for now.

Q: Sir follow-up ko lang po iyong doon sa tatlong general sir na tatanggalin daw po. May go signal na po ba kung puwede ng pangalanan?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pa po sa akin. But I’ll be the first to receive the information and you would be the first to report on it.

Q: Pero automatically wala na po sila sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Well I think the investigation has been concluded and it’s a matter of being announced.

Q: Follow up, sorry sir. Pero ongoing iyong—for what ground iyong pagtanggal sa kanila, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: All for cause.

Q: Okay, sir. Thank you.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Okay, itanong ko muna iyong tanong ni Bella Cariaso on excessive trips. Kasama daw po daw sa masisilip iyong lahat ng departments including iyong sa PCOO officials?

SEC. ROQUE: I have no idea, but the President—in the one-on-one interview has said that the Cabinet members must seek his approval for their travels ‘no.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, good morning. May mga dating pinuno ng AFP at PNP iyong ilan ay mga heneral na humihiling na palayain si General Jovito Palparan dahil sa kanyang pakikipaglaban din sa mga NPA. Ito ho ba ay umabot ho sa Palasyo at ano ang sabi ng Palasyo tungkol dito?

SEC. ROQUE: Well unang-una, hindi ko po alam kung umabot na iyan sa Palasyo. Pangalawa, he is being detained pursuant to a warrant of arrest po. So it is the judicial process that will determine whether or not he can be freed. The President’s options are limited ‘no. He cannot grant amnesty without the concurrence of Congress and he can only grant pardon or parole after conviction.

HENRY/DZRH: Okay, kaugnay din po sa isyu ng NPA. Ano ho ang talagang sinabi ng Pangulo ba talaga doon sa—gusto niya ba talagang makausap si Ginoong Joma Sison, pauwiin para magkausap daw ho sila ng one-on-one?

SEC. ROQUE: Now, ilalagay ko lang po siguro sa tamang konteksto ‘no. Kasi iyong konteksto ng sinabi ni Presidente ang tanong, “Ano ba talaga, may pag-asa pa na mag-resume of peace talks at kung mayroon ano iyong gusto mong mangyari bago mag-resume ang peace talks?”

Ang sabi niya, “Eh kasi ang yabang ng mga NPA gusto kong magpakumbaba sila ‘no.” So the general answer is kinakailangan munang magpakumbaba ang NPA bago magpatuloy ang peace talks ‘no. And then tinanong lang siya, “Si Joma Sison, kakausapin mo ba?” “O sige, one-on-one, ‘no.” Pero in other words, contextually, it is not as if the President said, he is willing to resume with peace talks after he talks to Joma Sison. No.

What he said was kailangang magpakumbaba muna ang NPA. And the possibility of a one-on-one meeting was proposed by the journalist and the President said, ‘One-on- one, puwede siguro.’ But that is not a precondition for the resumption of peace talks.

HENRY/DZRH: Hindi ho ang Pangulo mismo ang nagsabi na umuwi siya para magkausap silang dalawa?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po. Hindi po. It’s not as if the President wanted the talks as a precondition for resumption, no. Kailangan magpakumbaba muna iyong NPA and I will be releasing transcript of the interview.

HENRY/DZRH: Anong klaseng pagpapakumbaba, last, Secretary? Anong klaseng pagpapakumbaba?

SEC. ROQUE: Eh sabi kasi ng NPA talagang masyadong mataas ang paningin ng NPA sa kanilang mga sarili. At nandiyan na rin iyong usapin na gusto nila ng power sharing na imposible ‘no. So he wants the general acknowledgement ‘no na the NPA are human beings, are Filipinos ‘no. And that they respect I guess the sovereignty of the Philippines.

HENRY/DZRH: Thank you.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Secretary, so does this mean the President is not totally closing the doors to the peace talks?

SEC. ROQUE: Well you know my remark has been famous. It is closed for now. [laughs] Ang precondition niya magpakumbaba.

ACE/PHIL. STAR: So there’s the possibility that it—

SEC. ROQUE: I will release the exact wordings of the President within the day I hope ‘no. I hope the transcript could be ready. But iyon ‘no—

ACE/PHIL. STAR: So there’s a possibility that it can still resume kung na-attain iyong condition na sinasabi ninyong magpakumbaba?

SEC. ROQUE: For now ang sinasabi ko nga, the doors are closed.

ACE/PHIL. STAR: For now.

SEC. ROQUE: For now.

ACE/PHIL. STAR: It does not necessarily mean na it will remain closed?

SEC. ROQUE: Anything can happen in this world, I guess ‘no. But for now it is closed.

ACE/PHIL. STAR: So iyong magpakumbaba is he just referring to the rhetoric of the NPA or maybe he is referring to offensives?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, also in terms of sincerity nga remember it was called off because in the first place while talking peace, they kept on targeting our soldiers. In one instance, a turning point was when a soldier sustained 30 gunshot wounds. So what’s the point of talking peace when you will shoot 30 times at a soldier while talking peace?

And of course in another instance there was a collateral damage, an infant. How on earth could you have an infant as collateral damage? A collateral damage in the first place is hindi sinasadya pero hindi maisip ng Presidente, paanong hindi sinasadya iyon ‘no eh infant nga iyon?

ACE/PHIL. STAR: The President was quoted as saying that it might require more than good faith on the part of the rebels. What did he mean by that, iyong more than good faith?

SEC. ROQUE: You know in that context, in the totality of context, walk the talk, okay? Iyon na iyon.

ACE/PHIL. STAR: Thank you, Secretary.

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES: Hi sir. About them be humbling themselves, the NPA. How do we expect them to do just that when the President already said that they are terrorists and the DOJ is already readying the motion for the cancellation of bail?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, since you brought it up, they have also said that they will not appear in the court proceedings ‘no. Which is too bad because that would be their opportunity to dispute that they are terrorists ‘no. They are waiving their right to be heard. Of course the law provides that they should be heard and since they are waiving it, we can’t do anything about it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, si Joma may statement na… I think he wants to meet first in a neutral country and then saka sila mag-uusap ni Presidente, meaning he’s open — ?

SEC. ROQUE: Sorry to burst his bubble, he’s not that important.

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES: Sir, about my question po yesterday. Is it wise for.. — about the Benham—the Philippine Rise. Is it wise for us to grant China the permit for a research in this area considering China’s long history of occupying our exclusive economic zone, disrespecting our EEZ and also in the context of the JMSU before, when after that Joint Maritime Seismic Undertaking, the aggression of China within our exclusive economic zone increased and even attack our soldiers with—our fishermen with water cannons. So how would you describe this move of the DFA, sir? Is it wise, strategic because it doesn’t appear that way?

SEC. ROQUE: The President implements the law. When the law talks of sovereign rights, that includes the sovereign decision to share the sovereign rights with others. And this has been decided already by the Supreme Court in La Bugal.

So when you question the wisdom of the law, go to Congress. Because if this is not a wise move of the President, then a law could probably be enacted to prohibit it. But until Congress decides that it is unwise, the President is only the implementer of the law. He does not provide for wisdom of the law, that’s how it is in our separation of powers ‘no.

And that is why in this context, I would hope that our colleagues in government from the other branches of government could be faithful to their Constitutional mandates. So the judiciary must actually rule on justiciable controversies involving interpretation of the Constitution and existing laws. Leave the matter of wisdom of the law to Congress.

Nakabarong si Deo. Mukha kang congressman.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN: Your honor. Wala lang akong ma-i-suot. Sir, ‘di po ba pinapanawagan ni Presidente na modesty amongst government officials since his first day in office. And then here comes the second day, birthday celebration of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez na sinasabi naman po ng iba na nagpakita ng masyadong magarbong pamumuhay ng House Speaker. How is the Palace going to react on this?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well fortunately nandoon po ako, nakita ko. Hindi naman po extravagant iyong birthday party ni Speaker. Unang-una, doon po ‘yan sa Tagum City Hall, iyon po ang venue natin. Totoo po maraming naimbita, kasi halos lahat ng miyembro ng Kongreso naroon, halos lahat ng Gabinete nandoon at nandoon ang Presidente.

Pero simple lang naman po. Simple ang programa, simple ang pagkain, marami lang talagang tao dahil kinakailangan ding… I guess ‘no, isama sa pagsasaya iyong kanyang mga constituents doon sa Tagum City. There was nothing lavish about the affair, I can assure you that.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN:  Yes, sir. On another issue naman po. Mayroon pong mga private sectors workers po—grupo po na nagpapanawagan na gusto naman nilang itaas din o maitaas din ang sweldo sa pribadong sektor. How is the Palace going to react on this, sir?

SEC. ROQUE:  Mayroon pong mekanismo diyan, iyong Regional Wage Boards. They can petition the Regional Wage Boards if they want to.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN:  Thank you, sir.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  Sir, good morning.

SEC. ROQUE:  Good morning.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  Sir, good morning. Specific… Doon lang issue noong sa Benham Rise. Specific comment lang from the Palace doon sa statement ni Associate Justice Carpio that it would be “dumb” for Manila to allow the Chinese to do research there while they have not recognized the arbitral ruling?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well unang-una po ‘no, hindi ko maintindihan why China should recognize the arbitral ruling? This is a difference between international and domestic law.

In domestic law, you need to implement decisions of tribunals. In international law, the decision itself is the implementation of the law because that’s a statement of the rights of the parties which cannot be extinguished and which does not depend on any country accepting its binding nature.

‘Yan ang nature of international law. So hindi ko talaga maintindihan, with all due respect to Justice Carpio, he really is recognized as the intellectual heavyweight in the court ‘no, why he insist that any country including China must accept it? Whether or not they accept it, it’s there and that’s the binding nature of international law. Why is it binding on China whether or not it accepts? Because it’s there.

Secondly, uulitin ko po iyong panawagan ko. Mayroon po tayong karapatan ng malayang pananalita, pero mayroon din po tayong kanya-kanyang katungkulan dito sa ating gobyerno sang-ayon sa ating Saligang Batas. Iyong issue po, kung itong pagpapahayag ng DFA na mag-survey ang dayuhan sa Benham Rise, eh isang bagay po ito na pupuwedeng maidala sa Kataas-taasang Hukuman.

Ang hinihingi lang po namin, eh ‘pag dumating sa issue, doon po natin pagbotohan at pagbigyan ng opinyon. Pero sa ngayon po, respetuhin natin na sa ating Saligang Batas, ang foreign policy, ang Presidente po ang siyang architect pa rin ng ating foreign policy. At gaya ng aking sinabi kanina, wisdom of the law naman pertains to Congress.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  So are we saying sir, na we don’t—we no longer expect Beijing to recognize iyong arbitral ruling or is it to be okay for us?

SEC. ROQUE:  I do not understand why you’re even asking that? Because the issue of whether or not China accepts the ruling is immaterial under international law. What is material under international is it’s there. It’s there, that’s the unique feature of international law. You cannot deny what is there.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  Pero what about, sir, iyong implementation noon?

SEC. ROQUE:  What is there to implement? What is there to implement? The only issue is the issues presented ‘no. Is there such a thing as historic claims to historic waters? Tribunal said, none.

And who has the right to build artificial islands? The tribunal said, they are located — some of them are located within our exclusive economic zone, then it pertains to the Philippines.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  So is it okay if the Chinese don’t recognize it? Parang non-issue na lang ba iyon?

SEC. ROQUE:  Under international law, it matters not what countries do with rulings which are accepted. Alam mo kasi ang rulings ng arbitral tribunal, number one, the ruling of the UNCLOS – according to the UNCLOS itself is binding on parties to the UNCLOS, okay? Whether or not they accept the jurisdiction.

Number two, it is considered as subsidiary means – a subsidiary source of international law, which means that it is evidence of the application of the relevant customary rule of international law.

And when you talk of a customary rule of international, it’s binding on everyone whether or not they agree to it. So that decision, aside from being a treaty decision, is also an evidence that under customary law, the rulings of the arbitral tribunal are the binding legal principles whether or not countries agree to it.

So I do not understand why Justice Carpio belabors the point that China hasn’t accepted it. In the first place, it’s not for the Philippines to compel any state to accept it. If he can point to any mechanism by which we can compel a state to recognize anything, let me know. But the last I heard, sovereignty is they are entitled to think what they want.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  But China, sir, is a signatory of UNCLOS ‘di ba?


PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  China is a signatory of UNCLOS ?

SEC. ROQUE:  That’s what I said ‘no. The dispute settlement procedure of UNCLOS is clear. They have agreed to ad hoc arbitration in case they have not selected a mode of resolving disputes.

The tribunal acquire jurisdiction, exercise jurisdiction – whether or not China will — according to the word of Justice Carpio, adhere to it is up to China. But as far as international law is concerned, it is there.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  So sir, may value pa po ba para sa atin, for the Philippines ang arbitral ruling?

SEC. ROQUE:  Of course, because it is there. It is subsidiary means of the relevant applicable principle under customary international law. It is a source of international law. ‘Pag hindi ninyo pa ba naman nakuha ‘yon, ewan ko na… Public International Law 101 na ‘yan ha.

PHILIP TUBEZA/INQUIRER:  One last lang, sir. So, ire-raise pa ba ito ng Pangulo given iyong… Kung ganyan na pala na…?

SEC. ROQUE:  Why should he raise it? You know, it’s there. Hindi ninyo nakikita na walang international police that will enforce these international decisions. What is the self-implementing nature of international law is the fact that the decision exists – that’s it.


LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES:  Sir, given that under existing laws, we can—

SEC. ROQUE:  And incidentally, I do not know the relevance really of the arbitral decision to Benham Rise because that’s not part of the controversy. So, to even confuse the arbitral decision with Benham Rise is wrong. It has never been contested. It was awarded to us by the UN Commission on the Extended Continental Shelf.

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES:  Sir, you mentioned iyong 2012 na declaration ng UN be—the — of this Philippine Rise being part of our extended continental shelf. Given that, it is allowed for us to engage in a—

SEC. ROQUE:  Of course…


SEC. ROQUE:  Of course…

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES:  But sir, must it be China? Why not other countries? Why China first?

SEC. ROQUE:  Because the President decided so as chief architect of foreign policy. I’m sure as stated by Secretary Alan Cayetano, other countries if they wish, may also apply. Have they applied? I do not think so.

HENRY URI/DZRH:  On the Charter change, Secretary. Saan ho ba pabor ang Pangulo that the Senate and House voting separately or the Senate and the House voting jointly’?

SEC. ROQUE:  I will ask him. You know actually in all candidness, it was my first time to know also that the President wanted a unicameral. I remember being asked about this and I cited a PDP-Laban draft which [inaudible] for bicameral. It was in the one-on-one interview that I first heard him say it was unicameral. I will ask him, but I think I will see him already in the India trip ‘no, unless I go—

HENRY URI/DZRH:  And, another one. May report na daw po ba sa Malacañang, umabot na ba iyong report—may report na ba ang Department of Energy na may mga oil companies na nagva-violate na sa sunud-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis?

SEC. ROQUE: Alam ko po DTI ang tumitingin sa bagay na iyan ‘no dahil hindi dapat madaliang nagtaas. Pero I understand na by now parang ubos na talaga iyong initial inventory ‘no for purposes of TRAIN. If that’s what you’re asking about ‘no.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So may report na po sa inyo sa Palasyo, wala pa?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pa po. But the DTI naman at their level is monitoring prices ‘no.

HENRY/DZRH: Alright. Thank you.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Okay thank you. From Ina Andolong, first: Sir, ‘In an interview yesterday evening, you said admin will prioritize BBL first before cha-cha pero may previous statement si President Duterte na cha-cha first before BBL, which echoes the stand of former CJ Reynato Puno.’ Just to clear which one will really be prioritized?

SEC. ROQUE: You know I invite you all to read the transcript of the interview because it will verify that I have been speaking for and in the behalf of the President. The President wants to enact BBL first. In his words, ‘mahirap na kung magsimula ang Charter change para mapatupad pa iyong BBL.’

So he is clear, he wants BBL enacted. In fact, well, the discussion on EO 10 was completely separate context and that was on Charter change. Pero ang paninindigan talaga ng Presidente even in that one-on-one interview is that we must enact BBL first.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, I guess iyong question kanina was on the mode of changing the charter, Con-Ass or Con-Con?

SEC. ROQUE: Well malinaw na po ngayon. Mukhang Con-Ass na, nagdesisyon na ang Kamara ‘no. Hindi naman para sa Presidente iyong pagdesisyunan iyan. At sumasang-ayon din ang Presidente dahil iyan naman po ay ang pinaka-economical na paraan ‘no.

JOSEPH/GMA7: And given that. Ano ng papel ng EO 10 because that’s a —?

SEC. ROQUE: Advisory naman po talaga ang EO 10. It is ultimately Congress that will determine what it will propose by way of revisions to the people.

JOSEPH/GMA7: As he appointed members?

SEC. ROQUE: He says. You know he knows who will constitute and that they will be available to Congress if Congress wishes to listen to them.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, what did he say about proposal of the federal system kasi medyo maliit iyong number niya 50 as opposed to 400 plus three senators per region as per the—?

SEC. ROQUE: That’s what he said, he wants about 50 representatives.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Why only 50?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know but that’s what he said.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay. Sir sa transitory provision noong sa PDP, hindi kasama sa documented but si Attorney Lambino is the Vice President for International Affairs said that they can elect all the members in 2019 except for the President who may be able to finish his term until 2020—ano ba—hanggang kailan siya? 22.

SEC. ROQUE: Well wala pong nasabi—

JOSEPH/GMA7: You will have a role in the—

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pong sinabi si Presidente but I will have to repeat what he says. He is willing to serve out his term until 2022, absolutely against extending his term. May be willing to cut short his term.

Na-late ka Rose, wala ka sa iyong chair. Kamuntik ka ng ma-absent.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Traffic. [laughs] Ah, good morning sir. Sir anong klase pong sincerity iyong hinihintay ng administrasyong Duterte sa parte po ng kilusang komunista para po umusad ulit iyong usapang—

SEC. ROQUE: Iyong sinseridad na kapag makikipag-usap ng kapayapaan hindi babarilin ng tatlongpung beses ang isang sundalo. Iyon lang iyon.

ROSE/HATAW: So ano ho iyon parang ceasefire talaga po, bilateral?

SEC. ROQUE: Eh iyon na nga eh noong Pasko nag-ceasefire, eh may mga instances na nambulabog pa sila ng ating kasundaluhan ‘no.

ROSE/HATAW: Pero po noong panahon po ni dating Pangulong Fidel Ramos, umuusad po iyong usapang pangkapayapaan kahit po walang ceasefire, kahit po nagbabakbakan sila tuloy po iyong peace talks?

SEC. ROQUE: Eh Rose alam naman nating wala ding nangyari doon sa peace talks na iyon.

ROSE/HATAW: So ayaw ninyo pong mangyari ulit iyong ganoon?

SEC. ROQUE: Eh kasi naman kung walang good faith and good faith is always a cornerstone of all agreements, wala talagang pupuwedeng magpagkasunduan.

ROSE/HATAW: Sir may naikuwento po si Presidente kung ano po iyong assurance sa kanya ni Professor Joma Sison noong kanilang pag-uusap noong panahon ng ceasefire?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala po.

ROSE/HATAW: Sabi po niya sa MindaNews interview nakausap daw po niya si Joma Sison. Wala po siyang naikuwento kung ano iyong napag-usapan nila?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po recently iyan. Siguro dati pa. Baka noong professor pa niya si Joma Sison, ewan ko ba.

ROSE/HATAW: Pero mayroong po silang direct communication ‘di ba?

SEC. ROQUE: Ewan ko po, I dispute that. Walang hawak na telepono ‘yung Presidente, paano sila magkakaroon ng direct communication?

ROSE/HATAW: Ah ganoon ba? Eh kasi siya ang nagsabi si Presidente nagsabi noon eh sa interview niya sa MindaNews noong Friday na nakausap niya.

SEC. ROQUE: Ha? Wala. Wala siyang sinabi noon, nandoon ako sa interview eh. Kaya nga sumama ako doon sa interview.

ROSE/HATAW: Pero lumabas po sa isang broadsheet na may sinabi si Presidente.

SEC. ROQUE: Wala po na ganoong sinabi ang Presidente. As I said, Rose before you arrive I will release the transcript either today or tomorrow.

ROSE/HATAW: Ah, okay. Thank you.

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi naman ako nagta-type noon, kayo talaga oo. Texting nga lang I’m so bad, pata-type-in ninyo pa ako. No, because you have to remember, you have to respect also that was an exclusive interview. So—kayo naman weekend naman iyon ‘no. Pabayaan ninyo na iyong mga transcribers. Kayo talaga. No if you want I can release the audio tape and listen to it for two hours.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Good noon, sir. Sir, para magpunta lang sa dapat kinauukulan iyong—lalo iyong sa TRAIN iyong additional 200 pesos na cash transfer kasi wala bang balak i-review ang Duterte administration iyong polisiya o patakaran ng ‘pag-select ng mga beneficiaries ng mga CTT, kasi hanggang ngayon ay marami pang—napupulitika pa rin dahil marami iyong mga nandoon na hindi naman dapat dahil iyong kumpare ni kapitan, kasi mga barangays—barangay captains iyong namimili tapos iyong mga nararapat na mga poorest of the poor ay hindi naman sila iyong mga karamihan hindi tumatanggap ng conditional cash transfer, para lang totoong mapakinabangan naman iyong mga benepisyo, iyong sa mga gobyerno sir.

SEC. ROQUE: Ipararating po natin iyan kay acting Secretary Leyco.

REYMUND/BOMBO RADYO: Para iyong sistema ba ng pamimili at hindi ipapaubaya sa mga—lalo na sa barangay level iyong pag-select?

SEC. ROQUE: Right after this, I will call acting Secretary Leyco.

REYMUND/BOMBO RADYO: Thank you, sir.

LLANESCA PANTI/MANILA TIMES: Iyong about voting po for sa Con-Ass. The Senators already said that they are opposed to joint voting because it would render the Senate vote useless. Considering that the Constitution is silent about it, what would be—as a lawyer what would be the safer action to take given this existing provisions sir?

SEC. ROQUE: I do not know but it subject to two interpretations: One is you accorded its literal meaning; the other is you construe it — you construe the Constitution as a whole in which case you discern the true intention of the drafters ‘no.

So the court eventually will decide this matter. The position of the Senate that they will oppose a joint voting shows that if the House will insist on joint voting, there will be a justiciable controversy that will be resolved by the Supreme Court.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, umabot daw rin ba ho sa Malacañang iyong report na willing ang Sanofi na ibalik iyong pera na kinakailangang ibalik nila sa gobyerno?

SEC. ROQUE: That’s good news if they are. Para mapadali na iyong proseso ‘no but we have not heard of that. As in fact the position of Secretary Duque which is the position of Malacañang is that they must refund.

HENRY/DZRH: Thank you.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Iyong ano lang, sir, iyong reaction to the statement of Chairman Licuanan that there was a… Ano ba ito, mukhang prinoject siya ng mga—?

SEC. ROQUE: No information. I only announced that she resigned. Resignation is always a voluntary act.

JOSEPH/GMA7: So immaterial whether she is saying, you know, some groups worked for her resignation or for—

SEC. ROQUE: It was her decision to resign.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay po.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Okay thank you. Thank you Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque—

SEC. ROQUE: Thank you.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Thank you, Malacañang Press Corps. Back to our main studio sa Radyo ng Pilipinas and People’s Television network.



Source: PCOO – NIB (News Information Bureau)