Press Briefing Of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella (August 9, 2016)

PRESS BRIEFING OF PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ERNESTO ABELLA
August 9, 2016 (11:49 A.M. – 12:14 P.M.) 

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. Good morning, sir.

SEC. ABELLA:  Good morning. We just like to make references to a few newsworthy items this morning.

Number one, is the statement from the US State Department – last Monday, the United States showed concern about the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, where officials say more than 400 suspected drug dealers have been killed by the police since President Rodrigo Duterte took over.

In reference to this, we just like to make a statement that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte repeatedly expressed that he does not condone extra-judicial killings. However, he has also admitted that certain individuals may have been salvaged, but in the light of this the NAPOLCOM Chair, the DILG Secretary Ismael Sueño has already directed PNP Chief General Dela Rosa to investigated drug-related killings.

Also in reference to this, the militant group Bayan on Sunday insisted that President Duterte should not be blamed for the recent surge in the number of suspected drug personalities killed in police operations – that it might be too premature. Sabi nga niya, “masyado sigurong premature na isisi iyong mga nagaganap na pagpatay doon sa hindi pa naman nauupong gobyerno during that particular time,” sa kauupong gobyerno.

The other item that we’d like to make reference to is with regards to the—referred to the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos. Based on certain regulations, that of those who may be qualified to be interned in Libingan ng mga Bayani, it does make reference to Presidents or Commanders-In-Chief of the AFP and veterans of the Philippine revolution of 1896, World War I, World War II, and recognized guerillas. And… at this rate, the President’s position is that the whole nation—the whole matter should be laid to rest and that we can move on. In other words, the President has apparently based his position regarding the burial on certain legal basis, on certain regulations.

Next, I’d like to make reference also to Justice Sereno’s statement. I response to Justice Sereno, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has referred the matter to the Supreme Court, and has asked that the judges make reference to the Supreme Court and that they relate within their own… within their own branch. However, in order to just clarify exactly where President Duterte is coming from, he is in a sense… he is taking the position of ‘parens patriae’, as parent of the nation.

He is calling attention to the clear and present danger of drugs, and that it is his moral obligation to make sure that the public is properly warned of the drug menace. It is part of his duty to warn the citizens against those who present a clear and present danger to society. This is not a judicial process, it’s simply a calling attention. He is in a sense really taking the moral responsibility to be able to warn the people.

Lastly, in reference to oligarchs, President Duterte has always made know his position that he is against online gambling and that it is also his position, it has been his position to make sure that the economy is more inclusive, and that those who influence government policy and government decisions should be properly dealt with. And that the monopolies are dismantled, and that the economy becomes more inclusive, socially inclusive – socially and economically inclusive.

Thank you. I’d like to open the floor to questions.

JP BENCITO/MLA STANDARD:          Good morning, sir.

SEC. ABELLA:   Good morning.

JP/MLA STANDARD:  Sir, will the Palace have a second look on the spate of extra-judicial killings now that many countries and many organizations have expressed their concern or some kind of opposition to the recent—to what is happening now in the country, sir?

SEC. ABELLA:  As I said, the NAPOLCOM is already been—has already made extra efforts, has already made initial steps in investigating these matters.

MARLON RAMOS/INQUIRER:  There has been a concern regarding President Duterte’s intrusion into the matters concerning the Judiciary – that these, iyong desisyon niya to name a few judges supposedly involved in the illegal drug trade would result to a constitutional crisis.

SEC. ABELLA:  As I said earlier, that his… in a sense, his position as a parent of the nation transcends this particular legality that you referred to. That he is actually exercising his position as father to the nation, and calling attention to what is an extra-ordinary situation facing society.

So in other words, it’s something equivalent to shouting “fire” — there is a fire in the house. And it is his moral duty to be able to warn people that there is fire in the house. So, it goes back to that what is usually called the doctrine of “parens patriae” – that it is his moral duty to be able to warn… to be able to warn the society of what is actually happening presently.

MARLON/INQUIRER:  Sir, should the Judiciary or even the public consider this as parang pakikialam ng Pangulo and some kind of intervention in the matters of the Judiciary?

SEC. ABELLA:  Ah siguro kung may sunog, kailangang makialam, hindi ba? That is the position he is taking. Now, we are facing an extra-ordinary danger and these are—in other words, these are not normal times. This is are… abnormal times and it calls for a radical action.

MARLON/INQUIRER:  And that despite the constitutional na provision on the separation of the three branches of—

SEC. ABELLA:  He’s not interfering with the judicial process. He is simply calling attention to it. He is not actually making accus—he’s not… this is not the judicial process yet. He is simply calling attention.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  Secretary, what do you say to Justice Sereno’s statement that judges should not surrender without warrant?

SEC. ABELLA:  And that’s exactly what—I believe PRRD has already made reference to that and told them to go to the Supreme Court and clear their names there. He was not actually arresting them, there was no action to arrest them. It’s simply for them to be able to clarify their names. Simply because also their have come up. What he is referring to is what intelligent has discovered; and if their names are cleared, then they are cleared.

ALEXIS/PHIL. STAR:  Okay. What do say to comments that many of the names there were actually dead already or many of them are inaccurate? For example, iyong isa daw hindi naman congressman. Mukhang hindi malinis iyong information.

SEC. ABELLA:  Ganito po iyan ‘no, and I think Secretary Andanar has made reference to that when he said that actually the lists are combination of old and new, old and new. And that things made and—on the whole, they were put together and these are the lists that have been made reference to. And if they cleared their name, then they’re cleared.

ALEXIS/PHIL. STAR:  Can we still say that the list presented by the President is credible?

SEC. ABELLA:  I would say so. I would say it’s credible. On the other hand, if… if there are mistakes, then it is… the onus now is upon the individual to be able to express and to clarify his actual situation – based again on the fact that he is a… iyong sinabi kong doctrine kanina, that he is simply calling a warning. That there is such and such a situation facing society.

MARLON RAMOS:  Ah, sir, are you saying na now that the governments’ – that the government now is trying to – iyong kalabaligtaran ng presumption of innocence, instead presumption of guilt among those individuals who were name in that list?

SEC. ABELLA:  Let me go back to what I said, okay. The situation is that, there is a clear and present danger facing the nation and that intelligence reports of such magnitude of such “bread and depth” that are extraordinary and that is why he is calling for a public outcry, and this is a – the naming is part of the process of the warning, that there is such and such a situation and then he is asking for the cooperation of these people to come out and clear their names.

MARLON RAMOS:  Sir, why not just file charges against these individuals, then after filing charges and the government—had already named them in public—

SEC. ABELLA:  Simply because there is already the – the length and breadth, you know, he has already – is of such magnitude. It needs extraordinary measures.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO:  Sir, pag… briefly lang Sir, what the President is doing naming names before filing charges, is that actually some sort of a trial by publicity or justice by publicity, just so, they will be named and they really put to shame?

SEC. ABELLA:  I doubt it though, that the President is prone to gimik. He is not that kind of a person.

REYMUND TINAZA:  Sir, on the Marcos heroes’ burial—

SEC. ABELLA:  Yes.

REYMUND TINAZA:  Sir, with all those directives and I think the decision of the President himself, to allow the burial of the former President at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, as we speak, none can change or can stop the burial of Mr. Marcos?

SEC. ABELLA:  Let’s put it this way, he – the President is aware there are protests and that he allows for the process. He allows people to make a… make their own comments, and make their own political stance, make their own statements, and he accept that, and he recognizes that. However, from his point of view, it is necessary to move on, if is now time to move on.

REYMUND TINAZA:  So, it’s a go?

SEC. ABELLA:  The process continues.

REYMUND TINAZA:  Sir, are we confident that there would be no legal problem with that?

SEC. ABELLA:  From where he is coming from… from where he is coming from, the process continues ‘no. And everybody and anybody is free to express in their protest.

REYMUND TINAZA:  Thank you so, sir.

SEC. ABELLA:  Thank you.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Sir, good morning.

Sir, some analysts are saying na iyong decision ni President Duterte to allow iyong family na Marcos ni ilibing na nga sa Libingan ng Bayani si former President Marcos, is a wrong decision or wrong move. Kung ang motive naman ng Pangulo is for the country to move on, we cannot move on daw, sir, according to the analysts, yung mga experts are saying na unless maging accountable ang family ng Marcos doon sa mga pagkakamali na ginawa nila during – iyong panahon ni Marcos noong naging Pangulo siya ng bansa, unless magkaroon ng accountability hindi po daw tayo makakapag-move on.

SEC. ABELLA:  In which case, those who feel that there is a – there is a particular objection, then they should raise it. They’re free to raise it.

MARLON RAMOS:  Sir, the late President Marcos is long regarded as a dictator, authoritarian ruler, a tyrant. Does this government believe otherwise?

SEC. ABELLA: Believe that what?

MARLON RAMOS:  That he is not a dictator, that he is not a tyrant during his time?

SEC. ABELLA: Well, all I can say is this, according to the regulations that have been referred to – there are at least two reasons for him to be able to be buried accordingly, and that is that he was an ex-President, that he is also a veteran — war veteran. So, I think, it does not—there is no reference to his… whether he is a dictator or not. It’s simply is that, according to the regulations he seems to be qualified.

MARLON RAMOS:  And also the human rights abuses during the martial law, hindi niyo rin po iyon iko-consider… could not matter on the decision of the President to—

SEC. ABELLA:  I think, there are two different—according to this, they are two different matters: The burial and the supposed accusations, and the supposed short comings of Mr. Marcos.

TED TUVERA:  Sir, good morning.

SEC. ABELLA: Yes.

TED TUVERA:  Sir, iyong sinasabi ni President Duterte parati, is if ever magpaputok iyong mga NPA ng land mines, hindi na matutuloy iyong peace talks?

SEC. ABELLA:  According to him, yes.

TED TUVERA:  And kahapon din nag release ng statement iyong CPP na ine-encourage pa nga nila iyong mga NPA na gumamit ng mga command detonated explosive, which are land mines. Sir, ito po ba ay nagpapakita ng threat na mapo-postpone or hindi na matutuloy iyong peace talks?

SEC. ABELLA:   Well, let’s put it this way, if both parties are aware of the parameters, then they are also aware of the consequences of violating those parameters. So, let’s let it unfold. Let’s see how it goes. Because PRRD has already made… has made the statements that “no land mines.” And if not particularly aware of the situation, but if the other party says go ahead with land mines, then they are the ones is responsible for endangering the process.

TED TUVERA:   Sir, follow up din po, related pa rin doon sa peace talks. Sir, nagsabi po iyong NDF na if ever po na – last Saturday, if ever hindi ma-release iyong 22 political prisoners nila, hindi raw matutuloy ang peace talks. Ano iyong reaksiyon po natin dito, sir?

SEC. ABELLA:  I’m not aware of the details regarding that but I know that there have been efforts to make sure that they – those who need to be in Norway have been allowed or are being allowed to have travel passes as far as I know.

TED TUVERA:    So, sir, iyong GRP Panel ready na po sila, sir?

SEC. ABELLA:   As far as I know, they are ready.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL.STAR: Secretary, the President mentioned in Catbalogan that with or without Sison, the peace talks will proceed. Does it mean there’s a possibility that you can proceed with the talks without Joma Sison?

SEC. ABELLA:  As far as—if that is the statement of the President, in which case, he is actually considering that the local CPP or the local representatives will be… will be able to negotiate their own – this is not an official statement. I’m just saying that “if” that is exactly what he said and that is the context, then the President seems to be confident that the peace talks can proceed.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: So, puwedeng i-itsapuwera si Sison?

SEC. ABELLA:  I’m not saying that puwede ha, I’m not saying na itsapuwera siya. I’m saying that according to that particular statement, that it may be a possibility.

ALEXIS ROMERO:  But, what he made him say that statement?

SEC. ABELLA:  I’m not entirely sure about the process why.

JONNA YU:   Sir, tanong ko lang magkano iyong budget sa peace talks? Kasi sinasabi ng Pangulo na ‘pag hindi natuloy irere-allign na lang niya sa mga sundalo iyong budget.

SEC. ABELLA:  I don’t have the exact number, but it is sizable.

DEXTER GANIBE:  Hello, Secretary, isang ma-ulang tanghali. Nag suspend na noong… mga city governments ng mga pasok sa mga eskuwelahan. May announcement ba ang government – sa Executive?

SEC. ABELLA:  Mayroon ba? Wala? As of now, wala.

DEXTER GANIBE:  Sir, previous days, lagi tayong nasa binggit noong kakulangan ng suplay ng kuryente sa Luzon. Ano na ang ginagawa ng ating pamahalaan?

SEC. ABELLA:  I think that the question is should better referred to DOE, Secretary Cusi.

DEXTER GANIBE/DZMM:  Pero may direktiba ba from Malacañang na maging priority ito? Kasi for how many days na na laging kulang o masyadong manipis iyong reserve?

SEC. ABELLA:  I’m sure they have conversation going between PRRD and DOE.

MARLON/INQUIRER:  Sir, since July 1 according to some reports sa GMA, they placed it 500 people have been killed, and ABS-CBN since June 30 – 800 plus. Sa Inquirer, close to 500 na iyong tally namin doon sa listahan. Is the President happy that hundreds of Filipinos are being killed because of the drug war?

SEC. ABELLA:  I think that implies a certain sadistic tendency. That’s… (laughs) No, I don’t think he’s happy it. I don’t… I hardly think happiness is the right word to use. I think he’s very concerned, and in fact he’s bothered and troubled. But referring to happiness, I think he is… he appreciate the fact that there is… that the people are more and more aware of the situation. If there is anything at all, it is the fact that the people are now aware of the depth and the breadth of the clear and present danger of the drug menace. But no, he is not happy. He is deeply and profoundly concerned.

MARLON/INQUIRER:  In previous speeches, the President admitted that there had been extra-judicial killings involved dito sa giyera laban sa droga. Hindi ba contradictory sa sinasabi ninyo ngayon, sir, that he’s concerned, that he’s not happy with what is happening to our country right now?

SEC. ABELLA:  He is in fact admitting that there are mistakes and that’s why pinapa-imbestigahan. And I’m sure he is not happy about that.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO:  Sir, pinapa-clarify lang po. Iyong mga ire-release na political detainees na a-attend sa peace talks sa Oslo, Norway. Sino po ang magsho-shoulder ng budget po?

SEC. ABELLA:  I think it’s a shared expense. It’s a shared expense.

HANNAH/SONSHINE RADIO:  Government and?

SEC. ABELLA:   Their counterparts.

HANNAH/SONSHINE RADIO:  Sir, phone-in lang po. Kailan po daw—may possibility pa ba or… na pangalanan din po ng Pangulo iyong mga nasa private sector or celebrities, personalities, businessmen na may koneksiyon or involved po sa droga sa Pilipinas?

SEC. ABELLA:  ‘Pag mayroon pong intelligence report, I’m sure that there will be announcements made.

HANNAH/SONSHINE RADIO:  Papangalanan din po ng Pangulo?

SEC. ABELLA:  If there are intelligence reports, validated intelligence reports.

HANNAH/SONSHINE RADIO:  Sir, another phone-in. Pinapatanong po ni Joseph ng GMA: “Will Marcos be buried as President or as a soldier?”

SEC. ABELLA:  Well, he qualifies as both.

REYMUND/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, push ko lang iyong—follow up lang sa drug menace doon sa industriya namin.

Sir, pero iimbestigahan iyong supplier or iyong nagbibigay din ng droga sa mga artista? Kasi hindi naman lingid na marami nang mga artista na nabaliw na rin iyong iba, nasira iyong career dahil sa ilegal na droga. Kasi, ever since may mga circulating reports na na may mga concerts, may mga nagsu-supply na sindikato sa mga artista.

SEC. ABELLA:  So, ano po iyong tanong ninyo?

REYMUND/BOMBO RADYO:  If they are also part of the investigation to pursue the one’s supplying that industry.

SEC. ABELLA:  Like I said, like I responded to the ladies, if there are intelligence reports, then there will be announcements made – validated intelligence reports. “If”. Okay, thank you.

MARLON/INQUIRER:  Sir, where will the late dictator be buried as a hero? Sir, in the Libingan as a hero?

SEC. ABELLA:  He will be buried. Thank you very much.

TED TUVERA/RAPPLER:  Yes sir. Iyong—ano po iyong reaction natin doon, sir, sa mga sinasabi nila na iyong mga pinapatay lang daw iyong mga maliliit po na small time. Pero iyong mga mayaman, hindi naman daw po napapatay.

SEC. ABELLA:  Maybe you should look at it from a different perspective also ‘no. There have been some comments, there have been some—and this is simply answering it from a different perspective. That most probably—a number of the killings may have be occurring on the level of those who supply and those who retail. So, maybe that is where most of the killings are happening, apparently. Okay.

So, thank you very much.

ROCKY/PTV4:  Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. Thank you Malacañang Press Corps. Back to our main studios sa Radyo ng Bayan at PTV.