Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr.
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
25 April 2017


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. This morning our resource person is Brigadier General Restituto F. Padilla Jr.

He is currently the spokesperson of the AFP.  He’s a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1985.

He joined the Philippine Air Force after graduation and earned his Aviator Wings from the Philippine Air Force Flying School in 1987.

He is happily married, blessed with five children.

Ladies and gentlemen, Brigadier General Padilla.

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Thank you, Secretary. To the members of the Malacañang Press Corps, magandang tanghali po sa inyong lahat.

I bring good news and I stand here on behalf of our Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año who we talked with yesterday and he would have wanted to be here to personally deliver all his messages but because of his busy schedule, he sent me instead. So I hope you don’t shoot the messenger.

Well, kidding and levity aside. The Armed Forces is — and the Philippine National Police is happy to inform you that the threats we faced in the island of Bohol and the other are confirmed reports that have been coming our way as well as to the public regarding dangers posed by terrorists in our tourists areas is already addressed.

The Bohol incident manifested a very deep-seated plan on the part of terrorists to sow discord and to target high-value individuals where they can earn a lot from.

And with the events that unfolded beginning Holy Week up to the last encounters last Saturday, we are confident that we have adequately addressed them. And the two or three remaining individuals — one of whom we believe to have expired because of exposure to the elements and of hunger — are now down to two who are fighting for their survival.

So the Chief of Staff wishes to convey his thanks to the Philippine National Police, to the local government, and to all our citizens who have been at the forefront of all these events that have unfolded.

The help of the local government in the island of Bohol as well as the cooperation of our citizens is a clear case and a good example that we wish to pass on to all the LGUs throughout the Philippines and in all areas where unverified reports have been received.

This cooperation and this dynamism that has been going on has created a lot of synergy among our security forces, namely the Armed Forces, the Philippine National Police, our local law enforcers, our uniformed services, and the community where we serve.

So ito po’y aming pagpapahiwatig lamang ng aming pasasalamat galing po sa ating Armed Forces pati na po sa ating mga commander sa area. Pinapangunahan po ng ating mga commander mula sa Western Mindanao Command na pinamumunuan  po ni Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez at ni Lieutenant General Oscar Lactao sa Central Command na siyang nanguna po dito sa ating naging mga pangyayari sa may isla ng Bohol.

So again, I’d like to make that announcement and assure the public and our citizens as well as those who are monitoring this press con that we value the time that you wish to spend to rest. So you… Please do not cancel your reservations in these tourist areas and go out, enjoy yourselves, have the sabbatical you most urgently need and we will ensure that you will be able to do that unhampered and well secured.

On another aspect, still related to the Bohol incident. I’d like again to call and appeal to you to please do not forget the heroes who have come out from this event, namely 2nd Lieutenant Estelito Saldua Jr., the lieutenant who led the force that confronted these terrorists and at the first burst of fire was killed together with two enlisted personnel and a policeman namely Sergeant John Dexter Duero, Corporal Meljune Cajaban, and SPO2 Rey Anthony Nazareno, who gave up their lives in service of country and people.

They unhesitatingly led the force and brought themselves up in the line of fire just to be able to do their duty of protecting our people and keeping our communities safe.

We have families that are left orphaned and we value the President’s taking time out to visit all these families and extending his condolences.

Napakalaking halaga po nito galing pa po sa Commander-in-Chief, ang lagi niyang pagbisita at pagpunta sa mga lamay ng mga — ng ating mga kasundaluhan at kapulisan.

And we would like to pass on, on behalf of the whole Armed Forces and our Chief of Staff, together with the Secretary of National Defense, our sincerest thanks for the time being given by the Commander- in-Chief for these importance visits.

It may be a small symbol but it is — it means a lot to every soldier and the families that they have left behind.

Sana po ay hindi magsawa ang ating mahal na Pangulo at tuloy po nating paglilingkuran ang ating mga kababayan.

On another aspect, there have been many questions asked of the Armed Forces and the Police, how we are addressing the threat of terrorism. What we can say is that, we have been addressing the threat very proactively.

And as a case in point, the series of focused military operations that have been going on in the ZamBaSulTa area — Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi have all been going on on schedule.

We have set deadlines for ourselves to degrade their capacities and we by ourselves think that we are going to meet our targets by the end of July.

The attempt to degrade them is bearing fruit. In fact, prior to Holy Week, we received good word that 11 members of the ASG in the island of Tawi-Tawi surrendered with their firearms personally to the JTF Tawi-Tawi Commander Brigadier General Parcon, one of our Medal of Valor awardees.

General Parcon and his men have been exerting a lot of efforts to reach out to the community and it has borne fruit.

Not only there but also in the areas of Basilan. General Galvez has unveiled to us that many of the efforts that we have been doing to reach out to the communities have also borne fruit, not only in Tawi-Tawi but also in Basilan and in Jolo.

This is proven by the number of surrenderees and the feelers that we are getting. The feelers that you may have heard coming from the camp of Radullan  Sahiron is among those feelers that we have received. We are working on it and we hope and pray that it comes to fruition.

So many of our citizens who have been involved with these lawless elements hopefully are waking up to the realities of the times that this government, our Armed Forces, our Police, are serious in treating this threat.

In the area of Lanao, under the leadership of Major General Rolando Bautista of the 1stInfantry Division and JTF ZamPeLan led by the 103rd Brigade of Colonel Nixon Fortes, we have successfully addressed a very valuable and critical information that we received which is the threat that may come from a big band of lawless — local terrorists and lawless elements of Piagapo area in Lanao Del Sur.

And beginning early morning of Saturday, we launched an operation to proactively engage these elements. They numbered about 162 based on the information we got. And we conducted a series of joint operations using assets from the Philippine Air Force to bomb targets carefully without — ensuring that no collateral damage will happen. So these surgical airstrikes occurred early morning of Saturday and went on to happen up to yesterday afternoon.

We used Air Force assets like OV-10s, MG-520s and our latest aircraft the FA-50.

We used combined forces from our personnel from the Navy, from the Army, and elements of the 1st Infantry Division under 103rd Brigade.

And based on the report that they sent out yesterday, and I’m sure you have received it, 36 are believed to have been killed but validation is still continuing.

Among those killed and still being checked is the presence of foreign terrorists who were among those who were killed.

We were also able to target one particular sub-leader, an Imam whose body was recovered. And brings to count two body that have been recovered in the area.

The camp that has been bombed and where these terrorists have been staying was already reached by our troops yesterday. And according to their reports, it was an extensive installation that could house about 200 personnel with running trenches and bunkers and support facilities.

So with this news that I have been bringing to you today along with the resolution of the Bohol incident, we are just proving to our people that you can rely on your Armed Forces, your Police and other security forces to continue to protect our people, continue to preserve our integrity and our sovereignty.

So at this point, I am opening myself to questions if you have any related to those that I have unveiled before I go to ASEAN.


Benjie Liwanag (DZBB): Okay, sir, good afternoon. First, ‘yung PNP, nahuli nila ‘yung isang si Police Superintendent Maria Christina Brugada Nobleza na karelasyon umano ng isang Abu Sayyaf. Are we also looking doon sa hanay ng Armed Forces of the Philippines? Magkakaroon ba kayo ng pag-assess din sa mga tao ninyo na baka meron ding kagawad ng Armed Forces of the Philippines na maaaring may ugnayan din sa Abu Sayyaf, sir?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Benjie, alam niyo po, ‘yung issue po, ang tawag po natin dito ay counterintelligence. Ang pagtingin po sa loob ng ating organisasyon kung merong mga maaaring tinatawag natin na “sleeping with the enemy” ayon sa pagkabanggit ng ating Chief PNP ‘no.

So ito po’y patuloy at hindi humihinto. At base naman sa ating mga naging effort nitong mga nakaraan, wala naman po tayong nakikita na ganito kaseryosong partisipasyon ng ating mga tauhan base po sa ating mga efforts na ‘yan.

Mr. Liwanag: Talking about counter-insurgency — counterintelligence — I’m sorry, counterintelligence. Hindi ho ba mas paiigtingin natin ang counterintelligence ngayon dahil isa pa, magkakaroon tayo ng ASEAN then aside from that maraming threat — sinasabi na mismo ni Pangulong Duterte na mayroong threat coming from outside like the ISIS?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Ang counterintelligence ay nakatuon sa organisasyon kung may mga espiya sa loob, kung may mga tumutulong sa kalaban tulad ng aking nabanggit.

So bilang sagot sa inyong katanungan at tulad din ng — base din sa aking sinabi earlier, ito’y patuloy. This is a continuing effort. This never stops.

So the effort of counterintelligence and checking our ranks for any possible informants or those who can be working with the enemy never ceases, never stops. So it’s done in a 24/7 basis, it is continuing and it is focused on specific areas that could be possibly threatening to our security.

So sa aming nagiging effort na ito, tulad ng nabangit ko, wala naman tayong nakikita pa. So kung meron man tayong na-identify na maaaring pagmulan ng mga posibleng maaaring tumulong sa kalaban, lagi po itong ina-address immediately at the highest priority.

Mr. Liwanag: Thank you very much, sir.


Maricel Halili (TV-5): Sir, just on the Bohol issue. Can we now say that the AFP is in control of the situation in Bohol right now when it comes to security?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Yes, we can say that even at the end of Holy Week because we were able to foil their plans. And these plans are no joke.

The group that we confronted, that was led by this Abu Rami is an elite group of the ASG. This group has been the one behind the long distance abductions. When I say long distance, they were part of those that may have hatched and been involved in the Sipadan case, in the Samal case, in the Dos Palmas case many years ago. So the Chief of Staff mentioned this already, General Año, when he said that this is an elite force that we have already given a deathblow.

So ito’y mga up and coming na very aggressive na miyembro ng ASG na nagsasagawa nitong mga long distance activities na ito. At iisa lang ang alam namin, ito lang.

So based on that, that’s why we safely bring the good news that we have addressed it adequately.

Ms. Halili: How about, sir, the two other members of ASG? Were you able to locate them?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: We know where they are, generally in what area and effort is still being done to pursue them. But as I mentioned a while ago, the assessment of the Central Command, particularly the one given to me by General Oscar Lactao is that these two are fighting for their survival. So they don’t pose any serious threat anymore.

Cedric Castillo (GMA-7): Sir, good morning po. I understand mamaya ka pa doon sa ASEAN na topic ano. Pero sir, doon sa —

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Yeah, if you wish to ask then it’s all right.

Mr. Castillo: Okay. Sir, I suppose magii-scale down na ‘yung forces diyan sa Bohol kasi dalawa na lang ano po kasi may preparations rin po sa ASEAN. Pero, sir, gaano na lang kaunti ‘yung matitirang forces diyan para doon sa pag-hunt nung dalawa po?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Ito pong mga particulars ng operasyon, hindi  po namin pinapakialaman. These are the purview of the commanders on the ground. So if they say that the threat has been addressed, then at their call, they may reduce forces and shift them elsewhere where they are needed.

But on the issue of ASEAN, simulan ko na lang, the Armed Forces is part of the task force. The security and the one in charge of safeguarding and ensuring the events under ASEAN hosting goes on well is composed of a lot of agencies. If I’m not mistaken about 21 agencies, which includes the Armed Forces and the big bulk of which are the police. So kasali din diyan ang Bureau of Fire, emergency responders and similar uniformed services like the Coast Guard and the like.

So we are all part of this team that are entrusted to ensure that the activities are held without any hitch. And you may have heard, sabi nga ni — ng Chief PNP, eh kung may mangyari eh kakalbuhin niya lahat ng mga pulis na binanggit niya as a matter of jest. But we are serious about our job.

And on the matter of whether there is a threat that is being seen in the holding of all these events, wala po. We don’t see any threat right now, no serious threat that is in the radar screen but our planning is always based on worst-case scenarios.

So whatever worst-case scenarios that we anticipate that could happen, then adequate preparations and plans are laid down to meet these scenarios.

So on the part of the Armed Forces, we have — in Metro Manila leading our force is the JTF-NCR, Joint Task Force–National Capital Region. And they are based in Camp Aguinaldo but all their forces are now deployed in — all over Metro Manila and the hosting events.

The JTF-NCR is fully equipped with whatever they need and the AFP has provided whatever it is that they will still need just in case of any contingency.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, if I may, sir, balikan ko lang ‘yung events leading to the Bohol incident, sir. Iyong intelligence gathering, with respect to the travel advisory na inilabas noon ng US, sir. Did we provide human intel sa US kaya sila nakapaglabas ng ganoong advisory? Or was it because of the advisory that our forces knew na merong ASG elements na pumunta sa Bohol or sa area na ‘yon ng Visayas, sir?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Thank you for asking but this was clarified by General Año during his press con last Holy Week. So I’d like to clarify, the countries that issued out their travel advisories based it on the information we provided. Tayo po ang nakakaalam nito, tayo po ang nag-share nito dahil may protocol po tayong sinusunod dahil may network po tayo na kinabibilangan na lumalaban po sa global terrorism.

And if I may refresh your memories, we also caught two foreigners somewhere in Taguig recently and the BID took care of this and already deported one of them.

So that information also came from these countries to have been helping each other fight against global terrorism. So it was provided to us, we acted on it, and successfully arrested these two individuals based on that information.

So as a part of our responsibility in that network, we share whatever we have so that it can be of help to them. However, they… However they treat it, however they want to use it, it’s up to them. They are a sovereign country who can decide on it.

So on the part of the countries that issued out the travel advisory, we clearly understand that they needed to do this because their citizens are among the most traveled. So they needed to send out precautionary advisories to them just to be on the lookout.

And ito lang po ang masasabi namin ‘no. Dapat po nagpapasalamat tayo nang malaki sa mahal na Panginoon dahil sa tagal na po na kinokompronta natin itong mga bantang ito wala po tayong mga nangyayaring pagkakataon na tulad ng nangyari sa ibang bansa. Knock on wood.

So iyan po ang aking panalangin na patuloy na mangyari dahil ang inyong mga pwersa, sundalo, pulis, ay nandiyan po upang antabayanan at huwag pabayaang mangyari itong mga ito.

At ang amin pong patuloy na pakikiusap sa taumbayan ay gawin ‘yung parang ginawa ng mga taga-Bohol, mga Boholano, na laging mapagmasid, laging maging alerto, maging vigilant at lagi po tayong nakikipagtulungan sa ating mga awtoridad kasi ito po ‘yung ugat ng pagkakaroon nang maayos na lipunan.

‘Pag lahat po tayo ay united at nagtutulungan, ang atin pong lipunan is magiging ganap na safe. So this is like putting in every person a pair of eyes that act as a CCTV camera and a quick communication radio that reports whatever it is that are seen, suspiciously lurking around or suspiciously being placed all over. So in that process, our security forces are able to react as quickly as possible.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, last on my part, sir. Sir, tama po ba July ‘yung target para ma-obliterate ang ASG and does this include ‘yung Maute Group, sir?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Iyan lang po ang ating self-imposed deadline para ho ma-adequately address at ma-degrade ‘yung kapasidad ng mga grupong ito.

So we have also been pushing and claim — and saying all along that the solution to all these problems is not purely military. We are not the answer to all these problems.

What we are trying to push is a comprehensive approach that will go down to the roots of all this problem and address it adequately. So this is going to entail a political, social, economic solution that will require the cooperation of everybody.

So iyon po ang pinu-push natin ngayon at meron po tayong tinatawag na integrated area development plan na pinaguusapan ngayon ng ating pamahalaan upang maging — pagtugon sa mga ugat  ng mga problemang ito para hindi na po mangyayari at mauulit at mabubuhay itong mga issue na ito.

Mr. Castillo: Maute group, sir, included?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Kasama ‘yan, kasama ‘yan.

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Sir, good morning po. Sir, we’ve been mentioning earlier ‘yung sa Bohol po pero was it already discussed po ‘yung other movement ng ASG sa Visayas, sir? Ano po kaya… Kasi earlier, sir, may reports na meron daw ibang sub-leaders sa ibang parts ng Visayas. How are we addressing this?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Just like what I mentioned earlier, all of this information that came our way and came to the police attention were duly checked and verified and found to be untrue.

So, these are part of disinformation as we see it to put a lot of worry on people’s minds so it will affect probably our key industry, which is tourism. So that’s why we make this announcement to assuage the fears and the worries of our citizens as well as those coming, wishing to come to our country that everything is well-monitored. We are doing our part and all of these places are safe to go to.

Mr. Bencito: Sir, last na lang po on Lanao. Sir, may foreign… You were mentioning earlier meron daw — ‘yung foreigners po na napatay. Sir, were these foreigners training the Maute group at some point and then ano po ‘yung potential threat kaya nung facilities that they were building in Lanao?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Well, it’s definitely a training facility and whatever they are doing, what kind of training they are undertaking is a matter of investigation pa. Pero based on the materials that are being caught — that have been recovered, I would say, from the area, madami dito na nagi-indicate na ito ‘yung mga skills sa terrorism like detonating chords, some triggering devices et cetera.

There was also… Early today a recovery for another firearm in the ongoing clearing operation. So clearing operation na po ngayon pero… Maingat po ‘yung ginagawang clearing operation ng ating mga tropa diyan ngayon dahil madaming iniwan na mga patibong itong mga teroristang ito.

So this is something that we are addressing before we allow members of the community. And by the way, the local government in the area has been cooperating very well with our security forces and we hope to create a lot of synergy here so that we can prevent any growth on the part of this extremist organization.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Good afternoon po, sir. Update lang po sa natitirang pwersa ng AFP sa kabila po ng intensified operations po ng military?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Sapat naman ang ating pwersa. Tulad na rin ng nabanggit ng ating hepe ng siya ay tinanong tungkol dito. Naka-deploy ang ating pwersa in accordance with the requirements we have in the threats that we face.

But in the context of all this pati na ‘yung mga ibinibigay sa ating mga responsibilidad ng ating mahal na Pangulo, hindi tayo nakakakita ng kakulangan. So far, okay pa naman tayo. Sapat ‘yung mga pwersa na nakatoon ng pansin sa anti-terrorism effort natin. Sapat din para sa ASEAN, sapat din sa counter drug support natin sa PDEA at saka sa pulis.

So far, we are okay. But we requested additional troops for the replacement of all those who are retiring and those that are leaving the service after finishing their tour.

And also potentially, kung papayagan ay magdagdag tayo ng mga special hire na mga CAFGU para maiwan doon sa mga kanayunan na nagbabantay kung wala tayo.

Ms. Coz: Ilan po ‘yung nalalabing pwersa ng Abu Sayyaf?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Sa Abu Sayyaf, ang huling… Kung aking naaalala nang husto base sa ating mga naging pangyayari ng nasawi na sa panig nila, nasa bilang na lang po siguro sila ng mahigit tatlong daan.

So from a high of 500, close to 500, they are about 300 or less.

Ms. Coz: And ‘yung concentration po ng pwersa nila ay nasa anong parte?


Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Sir, kamusta ‘yung security natin for other tourist destinations? I understand last week nagkaroon ng panic because of alleged sightings of Abu Sayyaf in Coron, Palawan, sir?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Yes, as I mentioned, many of these reports that came and have been checked, have been found to be untrue.

So, the security preparations in these areas are adequate, they are okay. What we can say is that we have learned so much from the previous incidents like in Dos Palmas, in Samal, in Sipadan et cetera.

So the lessons learned from all these incidents has given way to the creation of adequate systems and organizations that will address any possible threat that may lead to the repeat of any of these incidents. And we don’t like that to happen that’s why these protocols, these systems, these organizations have been put in place.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, follow up lang ‘yung doon sa mga foreigners na napatay. Could you give us more details, sir? Are they Asians?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: I’d like to validate. Chine-check pa rin ‘no ‘yung mga personality lalo na ‘yung na-recover na mga cadaver. They may be foreign-looking but they need to be checked. That’s why we are working closely with our SOCO from the PNP to comb the area for all potential evidences and potentially or probably do a DNA test on the recovered cadavers.

So, but the information that was on hand indicated that there could be foreigners from Indonesia and Malaysia that are with this group.

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Good afternoon, sir. Sir, malaman lang po namin kung meron po bang follow-up na ginagawa ang AFP since si Colonel Nobleza is reportedly a wife of a police attaché in Pakistan? Anong complexities nito, whatever, sir?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Tulad nga po ng nabanggit ko, patuloy ‘yung CI na tinatawag natin, ‘yung counterintelligence. Itong effort na ito ay may mga dedikadong mga tao, may dedikadong mga units na walang ginagawa kung ‘di tumingin at pag-aralan ang kapaligiran, pag-aralan ang mga profile ng ating mga sariling tao, para kung merong indication na ito’y maaaring tumutulong sa kalaban o nagbibigay ng anumang impormasyon, malalaman natin.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, outright, is there any recommendation to recall this police attaché considering it’s Pakistan and the involvement of Abu Sayyaf previously — trainings in Pakistan?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: This is a matter that the police leadership will have to work on. Unfortunately, I cannot answer for them, I am a part of the Armed Forces, pasensiya na.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, as a follow-up, we are all curious about the love angle but then sir, romantic angle. But then sir, hindi ba… Kasi parang  ano na ba ‘tong consideration — sleeper cell na ba ‘to, infiltrated na ba ang military or the police, kasi this is the first time that we heard about this, sir.

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Well, this is the first time we heard it as well from the police that’s why in yesterday’s discussions that I have been monitoring, madaming anggulong lumalabas.

So, hopefully, this is just an exception to the rule. But on our part sa Armed Forces, tulad nga ng sabi ko, may dedicated effort para siguraduhin na itong mga ganitong pangyayari ay hindi po mangyayari.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, one last question. Sir, you mentioned earlier that this group is involved in the Sipadan hostage taking incident?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Yes, some of them perhaps. Our assessment is this is an elite group that has been conducting the long distance abductions. What they do is they identify potential targets where they can earn so much from.

Ang focus po ng grupong ito is tingnan kung saan sila maaaring kumita nang malaki.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, who in the particular group kasi si Dongon is just 25 years old, if you count it mga eight years old lang siya noong 2001?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Iyong sa grupo po na napatay natin, ‘yung sa Bohol, ‘yon ‘yung pinag-usapan. Iyong si Dongon, hindi po related dito.

Ang relasyon po ni Dongon, ‘yung pamilya po nila kasi talagang immersed na sa grupo ng mga terorista, kasi ‘yung kanyang mga kapatid na babae ay asawa ng mga kilala at tanyag na mga terorista.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, how about… How’s the update on Mr. [Ahmad?] Santos? I think he’s operating in Luzon?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: I don’t have any information on this yet. I will get back to you. I will check.

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): General, how do you say that you have already resolved the Bohol threat when in fact there are two more Abu Sayyaf members in the province?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Well, we say that because the two who are still being hunted is known to be in an area where we are already closely guarding and have encircled.

And that because of their long exposure to the elements, what they are doing now is to fight for their survival.

So we have information, things that I cannot reveal as of the moment until such time that we have completely arrested them and taken them.

Mr. Romero: So it will only take time before you catch these — ?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Yes. That’s what CenCom has given as an assessment.

Mr. Romero: Okay and then you said the target of July — ?


Mr. Romero: For Maute and the Abu Sayyaf. But then you’ve set targets before, you have Bayanihan, you have Oplan — marami ng Oplan before.


Mr. Romero: So how, what’s the assurance that you’ll meet it this time considering that you’ve met — you have targets in the past and you have failed to meet those targets?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Well, Ace, this is what I’ve been saying ‘no, we set targets to significantly degrade their capabilities. We’re not saying to completely obliterate them down to zero. So it’s two different things.

So we do set targets because we want our people to work on a set deadline and to focus their efforts towards that end. Unless we do that, our efforts will be scattered, they will be dissipated.

But now, everybody knows that we have to meet this and we have to do this, so all our efforts, all our resources are concentrated on this current [inaudible].

Mr. Romero: Sir, can you define substantially degrade their capabilities?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA:  Substantially degrading their capabilities means to us that they will not be able to launch significant activities that will bring harm to our population and create chaos in our communities.

So which means to say, they may go down to petty crimes of bandit activities, a small thing here and there, but not unlike those that they can significantly affect a big community like Cagayan De Oro or the likes.

Mr. Romero: So far ‘yung status nila ganon na ba or on your way pa lang towards achieving that?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: We believe we have, we are on the way of degrading them significantly because if we will go by statistics, they have not been able to launch significant disturbances.

So we’re on our way, except that we cannot really say yet until such time that we have addressed and gone to the root of many of the things that we still need to address within the next three months.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Sir, good afternoon.


Mr. Ganibe: Sir, may mga kumakalat na intel report, hindi ko alam kung maiva-validate niyo po ito. Kahapon or the other day, may meeting na isinagawa itong grupo ng mga Abu Sayyaf sa Barangay Kitango Datu Piang, Maguindanao. Parang nagpa-plano sila in retaliation doon sa mga nangyari sa kasamahan nila sa Bohol. May mga pitong pangalang lumalabas na sinasabing nagpa-planong ng pagsasagawa ng mga activities in Mindanao. Any words on your part?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Hindi ko pa… In all honesty, Dexter, hindi ko pa nakikita

itong balitang ito. Pero patuloy naman nagmi-meet iyong mga ‘yan kung tutuusin. Tapos itong partikular na ‘to, Maguindanao kamo, ASG? Mukhang malayo sa lugar nila eh, usually ang BIFF ang nariyan sa mga lugar na ‘yan.

So kailangan pa natin tingnan nang mabuti kung may basehan nga. Pero be that as it may, kung ano man po ang bantang idinudulot ng mga galaw na ito, I can assure you that our people on the ground are adequately addressing it.

Mr. Ganibe: May mga cities daw silang nasa agenda nila sir, na target nila. Six cities were named and may mga pangalan na naka-assign kung sino ang magsasagawa ng atrocities doon sa anim na cities in Mindanao. Most likely BIFF nga po ito, may mga names.

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Opo, so BIFF nga po ‘yan. So ‘yan po ‘yung isang naging impormasyon na siguro ang buhay — tumagal na ng mahigit na isang linggo ‘yan.

At dahil hindi natin tinatrato ng — at binabalewala ito, nagbigay tayo ng abiso sa lahat ng ating mga puwersa at lahat ng ating mga nagmo-monitor sa iba’t-ibang lugar na tingnan at suriin ito nang mabuti at sundan kung saka-sakaling merong pagbabasehan.

So so far, ‘yan pa lang ang mailalahad ko at on going ‘yung pag-check. So hindi ko pa maibibigay ang total picture.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, lastly, panawagan niyo na lang doon sa mga residente doon sa anim cities na sinasabing, binabanggit na target.

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Ano man pong banta na nakikita natin, kung ano man po ang lumalabas, tulad ng nabanggit natin kanina, ang critical ingredient o ang pinaka-ugat na para ma-guarantee o ma-assure na tayo ay ganap na safe sa ating mga lugar ay ‘yung ating nagiging kooperasyon.

So kung ang ating mga kababayan sa mga lugar na ito, ‘yung mga cities na na-identify na ito ay laging nagiging alerto, nagiging vigilant, nagiging mapagmasid sa kanilang kapaligiran.

Alam naman nila kung sino ’yung mga  kasama nila diyan sa komunidad. Kung may bagong mukha, ipagbigay-alam ninyo kaagad na dapat tsine-check.

Kung may mga malalaking dala itong mga gamit, dapat medyo maging suspetyoso na kayo.

So may mga paraan upang gawin po ito nang hindi naman overly pumapasok doon sa privacy ‘nong mga indibidwal kasi baka sabihihn paranoid tayo.

So hayaan niyo po na i-share niyo, ilahad niyo ang mga impormasyon na ito at ang ating mga security forces na nariyan, maging ang mga tanod na ka-partner natin ang siyang maga-address nito para ng sa ganon ay matugunan natin kaagad.

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Hi, good afternoon, sir. Sir, ano po ‘yung aral na nakuha ng AFP o PNP doon po sa pagkaka-bulgar nung relasyon ni Colonel Nobleza doon sa isang Abu Sayyaf member at posible po bang magpatupad ng debriefing ‘yung AFP at PNP sa mga kagawad po ng PNP at militar na nakikipag-interact po sa mga arrested terrorist, katulad po ‘yung Nobleza, para hindi po, dati po siyang taga intelligence group eh, apparently hindi po siya dumaan sa debriefing so, at hindi siya na-monitor after that, so kaya parang nagtuloy-tuloy po ‘yung kanyang  pakikipag-ugnayan sa Abu Sayyaf member?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Rose, medyo iba kasi ang procedures natin sa Armed Forces at saka sa police. Pero sa totoo lang, hindi namin tinitingnan kung anong makukuha nating aral, kung hindi sinusuri naman natin lagi kung ano ang naging ugnayan.

Ang ating procedure sa Armed Forces, pag ka mga ganito, hindi lang ang nag-iisa ang nagsasagawa ng interogasyon o ang pagtatanong, may kasama siyang team, kabahagi ng team na ‘to, may nagdo-document, may nagre-record.

So kampante kami na ‘yung ating sinusunod na mga procedures, lalo na sa intelligence organizations natin ay sapat. Pero kung meron man siguro kailangan pang suriin at pag-aralan dahil hindi pa natin ganap na alam kung ano talaga ‘yung breadth and extent ng ugnayan at partisipasyon ni Police Superintendent Nobleza sa mga bagay na ‘to.

Ms. Novenario: Last na lang po. Iyong activities po ‘nong Rajah Sulaiman Group kasi po nag-ugat po ito sa Pangasinan eh, ‘yung mga Balik-Islam. Meron po ba tayong namo-monitor na activities nila within Luzon?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: So far, wala pa naman. Maliban doon sa mga nakaraan noon, ‘yung sinasabi mo na pinagmulan, na-address natin ito dahil kung maaalala niyo nagkaroon tayo ng mga events na kung saan sila ang nakikita nating threat. Pero inaddress natin ito kaya hanggang sa ngayon wala pa rin.

Ms. Novenario: Thank you po.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, may ano ba, may tawag doon, threat ba for ASEAN? May nasagap po bang threat for ASEAN? Destablization?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Nabanggit ko kanina na wala tayong nakikitang seryosong banta sa mga gaganapin nating mga ASEAN activities. So ‘yan din ang nakuha natin sa ibang mga ahensya na nagmamatyag at wala, wala, wala.

So safe to say maayos po at hopefully leaning forward kami na tuloy-tuloy at maging maayos ang conduct ng ating mga activities.

Rocky Ignacio (PTV-4): General Restituto Padilla, any statement for ASEAN please?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Well, ASEAN is a national hosting. Isa po itong dapat ipagmalaki natin dahil hindi madalas o bihira lang tayo mag-host ng event. 

Katulad ng nangyari ‘nong nakaraang taon sa APEC. Umiikot po ang hosting at ngayon na napunta po sa atin ang pag-host ng ASEAN, dapat po bawat Pilipino, bawat mamamayan maging proud at makita nila na may kakayahan tayo na magsagawa ng ganitong klaseng mga events.

At bukod doon, ang mga kasama po natin dito sa ASEAN is ‘yung mga karatig nating bansa, ‘yung ating talagang barkada dito sa ating rehiyon. Iyong 10 mga bayan na ‘yan kaya ‘yung ano mang ginagawa natin programa, kailangan maintindihan po ng lahat na magiging kapaki-pakinabang sa bawat mamamayang Pilipino.

So ano po ‘yung mga ito na lagi nating sinasabi, na ‘yang iba ang nangyayari na. Kung kayo po ay may mga kilala o may mga anak na millennial o kayo’y millennial, ‘di po ba kayo’y nakakabiyahe na ng tuloy-tuloy. You can go to any of the ASEAN countries without any visa.

Later on, we are trying to align the educational system in the schedules, that’s why we had to launch K-12 because all ASEAN countries are already K-12.

And the schedule is to have them specifically at the certain time of the year, so lumilipat po tayo na ang simula ng klase maaaring July or August. Kasi ‘yun po ang cycle ng sa ASEAN para nang sa ganoon kung gusto pong magbakasyon ng ating mga estudyante, pare-parehong schedule pwedeng gawin.

At ‘yung pagkakaroon ng cross enrollment sa mga educational institutions sa ASEAN, pinagaaralan din po ito at madami pang bagay na maaaring magbigay ng mas dagdag at mas maayos na paghahanap-buhayan sa ating mga kabatan, sa ating mga kababayan.

So ASEAN is a significant event that we ought to be proud of and where every cooperation of every Filipino is needed.

So ang kooperasyon na ‘yan ay kinakailangan ibigay po natin sa pag-suporta sa activities natin, sa pag — siguro sa social media kung meron kayong group, i-like niyo lahat ‘yan at suportahan niyo ang effort natin.

At pangalawa, ‘yung sa seguridad. We want to be proud of our hosting. We want it to go unhampered and uneventful. And your participation as a citizen, being alert to the conditions in your environment, and watching over all those that we are conducting and safely looking after each other’s welfare is a very critical ingredient to make our hosting a successful one.

Kaya hinihimok po namin at pinakikiusapan po namin kayong lahat na magtulong-tulong tayo. Tulad ng nangyari sa Bohol kamakailan, ‘yung tulungan na ‘yan, malayo po ang ating mararating.

Maraming salamat po.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, good afternoon ulit. Sir, minention (mention) niyo na walang destabilization. How about efforts to disrupt political stability of this administration? May ganon po bang report?

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: I cannot comment on matters political. Hindi… Hindi namin nakikita.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, how are you assessing the filing of ICC charges against the President — charges against the President before the International Criminal Court? Because no less than–

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: I am not the authority siguro to answer that. It is something that’s legal so best to answer siguro DOJ.

Just one last word, many of you don’t know the statistics that are behind the sacrifices of your men in uniform. I would just like to share with you that from the period of January this year up to yesterday the 24th of April, you have had 21 heroes who have given up their lives for your country, for our people. All in defense of the security that we all enjoy, the peace and order that we all enjoy.

These 21 soldiers all faced the threat of terrorism and without hesitation gave up their lives. So huwag po sana nating kakalimutan ‘yan kasi kada binabanggit ko po ‘yan, tumataas po ‘yung balahibo ko, dahil mga kasamahan po natin ito, kilala natin.

Tulad ng binanggit ko kanina, na isang tinyente, batang-bata, may pinapaaral na mga kapatid. So naulila na po ‘yung pamilya niya, nawalan sila ng isang anak. At ganon din pong ‘yung mga sundalo na nag-iwan ng mga pamilya. So bukod diyan, may isa, may 144 na nasugatan sa mga laban na ‘to.

So huwag po sana nating kakalimutan ‘yan at kami ay nakikiusap na sana pag may na-meet kayong mga pulis o sundalo, sana tapikin niyo lang sa balikat, pasalamatan niyo sa kanilang sakripisyo nang sa ganon ‘yung lakas ng loob at ‘yung morale boosting na ginawa niyo, makapag-hihimok pa nang mas madaming magvo-volunteer na magsu-sundalo’t magpu-pulis na tutulong sa atin.

Dahil tandaan po natin, ang ating Armed Forces ay hindi po pinipilit ang mga nandito, volunteers po lahat ‘yan.

Salamat po. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you very much for the reminder General Padilla.

That’s true ‘no, sometimes we get so lost in the political noise that we fail to appreciate the efforts of our fellow citizens.

All right. Just to round up, we’d like to… We’d like to provide you with a few updates.

On the Philippines gaining momentum as a FDI destination, a foreign direct investment destination. 

We had a promising start last year as FDI inflow reached US$7.9 billion, exceeding the full-year target of $6.7 billion, and 40.7 percent  higher compared to 2015, that is according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The President made the commitment to prioritize a better life for all, to improve lives by reducing poverty by rebuilding trust in government and peace in our borders.

We are gathering more momentum as a growing number of investors notice the positive results of our economy which rests on solid economic fundamentals, increased spending for crucial infrastructure, tax and constitutional reforms and a relentless drive to create a peaceful environment for business to flourish.

Also, projects registered with BOI up by 67 percent in first quarter of 2017.

Investor confidence in the country’s business climate continues to be positive.

From January to March 2017, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Board of Investments reported that projects registered with the BOI have increased by 67 percent compared to the same quarter last year. This is equivalent to an increase from 72 to 122 projects.

Once operational, these projects are seen to generate about 36,115 jobs or an increase of 181 percent over the 12,841 jobs generated in the first quarter of 2016. 

Specifically, these investment projects will create 6,884 new jobs in agriculture and 24,367 new jobs in investment and housing projects.

For the manufacturing-related projects 3,038 new jobs are expected to be created.

The value of investment projects reaching PhP67.973 billion recorded a 10 percent increase for the first three months of 2017, from PhP61.938 billion recorded in the same period of 2016.

Furthermore, DSWD’s Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa

As of April 12, 2,137 indigent patients have already received medical assistance through the DSWD’s Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa or Lingap Program.

The total budget that has already been disbursed from the P1-B Lingap Program amounted to P15, 487, 450. The remaining amount is still close to about a billion, so hey take advantage of this.

The OFWs’ terminal fee exemption is to start on April 30. 

Starting Sunday, April 30, Overseas Filipino Workers are exempted from paying the airport terminal fee.

All they have to do is declare that they are an OFW to be exempted.

This exemption shall be recognized also at any point of sale, whether in the Philippines or abroad.

The selling agent may or may not ask for a proof of entitlement during the transaction. However, OFWs should be able to present valid proof upon checking-in at NAIA terminals, according to Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal.

And also, starting July 31, air carriers will start honoring OFW exemptions at any point of sale for tickets purchased online, and through telephone and mobile applications.

We are open to a few questions. 

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good afternoon sir. I’d just like to follow up on the ICC complaint. How will the administration handle this? Should the case proceed — will the government participate in the proceedings or just ignore it since it thinks the case is premature? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You know, it would really be deeply disappointing if the court took the word of admitted murder as the basis for action against the head of state who was democratically elected by a Filipino electorate that wants nothing more than an end to an epidemic that has afflicted millions of our countrymen and women that has been responsible for a crime wave that has been terrorizing many parts of our country for decades.

We need to understand that the President is waging a war on a brutal enemy, the drug dealers and drug lords who prey upon our people. That is a war that has seen criminals prosper and millions of people addicted to drugs. The related social and financial drain on our country has been immeasurable. It is for this reason that the President is committed to winning this war against drugs and why he is heartened by the efforts of everyone in law enforcement, in national and local government, in public health, are already delivering results that can be felt in all corners of our nation.

For example, crime rate is down by 30 percent across the nation. The Philippine National Police statistics show that murder, homicide, robbery, theft, carnapping and physical injuries have decreased from 158,000 plus during the last year of the Aquino administration to 78,000 cases plus under the first nine months of the Duterte administration. In other words, what we’re saying is that these things we expect.

Ms. Salaverria: Procedure-wise, sir, what’s the Palace going to do? Are you going to challenge the case at every step of the way? Let it run its course or — ? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It will not… As far as we can see, it has no basis for prospering.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, the President mentioned previously that he may withdraw from the ICC because he considers it useless. How likely is this? And will this complaint affect his decision? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s just wait on him to make the final decision regarding the matter.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, last on this issue. They are planning to use the testimony of Arthur Lascañas in the ICC complaint, is the government going to go after Lascañas? Are you going to take steps to maybe seek his extradition or file a complaint against him? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The President goes by due process. So let’s go by due process.

Mr. Castillo: Good afternoon, sir. Nawala ‘yung question ko. Sir, has the President seen the ICC complaint? The copy of the ano, sir? Has he read it? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Physically you mean? I’m not sure. That has to be verified.

Mr. Castillo: All right. Sir, does the President expect the ICC to exhibit full independence or is he anticipating external factors to — ? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like I said, it has to… This thing, this particular matter is — has it’s own process, okay. So as far as we know, this thing is right now just propaganda. So let us just wait for the process to unfold.

Mr. Castillo: Thank you, sir. 

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, tawag do’n, may ano ba, kasi nakita natin sa nakaraan ‘yung nangyari doon sa case ni Senador Leila de Lima, sinabi niyang, it’s a propaganda, pinabayaan niya, hindi niya sinagot sa DOJ at humantong sa pag-aresto sa kanya. Posible bang mangyari ‘yun kung hindi titingnan ng Palasyo o hindi tutugunan ng Palasyo ‘yung case sa ICC? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: May sarili pong proseso itong mga bagay na ito so let’s just wait for that.

Mr. Ganibe: Sino ang naatasan, sir, na tututok dito sa case? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: There are people behind that, okay.

Mr. Ganibe: SolGen, sir?

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, what’s the Malacañang’s position on the farmers’ takeover of a portion of the Hacienda Luisita that was reportedly already sold to the RCBC? The President said with regard to Kadamay members that you know, we shouldn’t blame them for being poor. Does the same attitude apply to these farmers? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’re waiting on the DAR to make a final decision on that.

Mr. Castillo: Yes, sir. Iyong exposé ni Representative Alejano na Chinese Navy daw ‘yung nang-harass and not Chinese Coast Guard, sir. Any reaction on that, sir? 

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Well, ‘yung information na ‘yan ay ni-relay natin sa ating Department of Foreign Affairs to act on but we are conducting the investigation. If it is determined that indeed it is the Chinese Navy and not the Coast Guard, then appropriate protest through the diplomatic channels will have to be given out.

For now, the findings we have is still in the offing. They are still create… They are doing the report. Iyong ibinigay ni Congressman Alejano ‘yung pagpunta niya doon mismo. Pero ‘yung ating mga tauhan na nagpunta doon, kinausap din ‘yung mga farmers na ‘yan at antayin natin ‘yung kanilang report.

We will have to course this through the mechanism that has been put in place already. Meron tayong mechanism ngayon na nakalagay na kung saan ‘yung ating issues na ito on our bilateral segment will be discussed. And we’ll course all of this through the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, a Chinese official has said na ‘yung pagpunta raw ng Defense officials natin — 

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Sir, may idagdag lang ako ‘no. Nagsabi rin pala ang Chinese government that they will look into the matter, they will conduct their investigation and we’re going to wait for that also. So we hope they do a very impartial investigation.

Mr. Castillo: May Chinese official, sir, ang sabi niya ‘yung pagpunta raw ng Defense officials natin doon ay hindi – misleading daw as far as history is concerned kasi kanila nga daw ‘yun eh. So parang mini-mislead daw natin ‘yung public natin. 

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Well, the arbitral ruling has been made. International Court has decided on it. And I don’t see that we should doubt whatever that ruling is.

For now, whatever we did in the island of Pag-asa was rightfully an act that we did sa atin at tulad nga ng nabanggit na ni Chief of Staff, ni General Año, may trabaho po kaming dapat gampanan. So pangalagaan ang seguridad natin at ‘yung mga tauhan natin doon na kinakailangan ng ating tulong.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, last on my part. Reaction na rin, sir, kasi sabi ng China naman, despite the dispute daw, willing naman sila mag-provide ng shelter sa fishermen natin kung kailangan na, let’s say may storm, may weather disturbance, sir. Reaction please, sir. 

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Thank you for the offer but we can manage. 

Ms. Coz: Kay Usec. Abella po. Sir, ang pamahalaan po ay busy preparing for the ASEAN although next week pa po pero meron bang malaking paghahanda ang pamahalaan para sa Labor Day? For example po, ‘yung hinihingi po ng mga labor organizations na subsidy and additional wage?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We don’t have the details on that preparation but yes. 

Ms. Coz: Sir, how about ‘yung efforts po ng pamahalaan para matupad ‘yung pangako po ng Pangulo na to end contractualization? Since wala pong karapatan ang DOLE na ipatigil ‘to ng tuluyan pero may effort po ba na magpasa ng panukalang batas para po baguhin or i-revise ang Labor Code? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, we don’t have the details regarding that. Thank you. 

Sheila Frias (IBC 13): Secretary, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi formally asked PRRD to place ERC, Energy Regulatory Commission, under DOE’s supervision. May word na po ba from PRRD about this? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, there is no confirmation regarding that. 

Ms. Frias: But from the Palace’s side, does the Palace push for this? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We’ll just have to wait on the official word regarding that matter. 

Ms. Novenario: Hi. Sec, kay General Padilla po. Hi, sir. Sir, may statement po nung weekend si — hello, sir. May statement po si Senator Trillanes nung weekend na ‘yung ‘Occupy Pabahay’ daw po ng Kadamay ay parang may basbas daw po ng mga housing officials dahil sila raw po ay mga miyembro ng central committee ng Communist Party of the Philippines. Meron po ba kayong report na ganoon? Hindi po ba parang ano ‘to, yung red-baiting on the part of the Senator? 

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Hindi po kami nag-komento diyan dahil kinakailangan suriin ang pinagmulan nung grupong ito. Pero sa amin, clearly affected ang ating mga kasundaluhan na nabigyan ng pabahay. At sa naging usapan, may mga idinulog kami sa NHA na mga issues kaya naging mabagal ang pag-assume natin doon sa mga pabahay na ‘yun. At ‘yung mga issues na ‘yun ay hindi kaagad naresolba. At hopefully, doon sa susunod na mga pag-uusap, maresolba na. Pero we leave the matter to our legal processes to resolve for the current housing that has been occupied.

Ms. Novenario: So hindi po red-baiting ‘yung ginagawa ni Senator Trillanes? Parang inililihis niya po ‘yung issue eh, from the housing to ideologues. 

BRIGADIER GENERAL PADILLA: Kaya hindi kami doon nag-comment.