Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra, and Ms. Mocha Uson
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacanang
21 December 2016

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. This morning we are focusing especially on the Metro Manila Film Festival. Our resource persons for today are Ms. Mocha Uson who is promoting the Metro Manila Film Fest and also Ms. Liza Diño-Seguerra, she’s the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

Ms. Uson is a social media writer, and writes column for Phil Star. And, she is going to be sharing with us some things and some insights about MMFF.

Also, Ms. Liza Diño is a television, film, and stage actress, who’s appeared in numerous films for both independent and commercial acting studios in Manila. She has a long list. Both of them have long lists.

And… but ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, let’s give a warm welcome to our distinguished guests, Ms. Uson will speak first, will briefly speak first, and then afterwards Ms. Diño, and the Q&A will happen afterwards.
There will only be three or four questions, all focused on MM… Metro Manila Film Festival. Thank you.

MOCHA USON:Thank you sir. Good morning po. Ako po si Mocha Uson, isang ordinaryong Pilipino. Ako po ay nandito para po magbigay ng suporta sa MMFF 2016.

Nilapitan po ako ni MMDA General Manager Tim Orbos para po magbigay ng suporta. Alam naman po natin na napag-iwanan na ang industriya ng Filipino films ng ibang bansa at ang layunin po ng MMFF ngayon ay itaas ang kalidad ng pelikula na pwede po natin ipagmalaki sa ibang bansa.

Ngayong taon na po ang pagbabago. At kailangan din po natin ng pagbabago sa film industry po natin. Marami pong magagaling na mga film makers, ngunit hindi po ito nabibigyan ng suporta ng ating gobyerno at ng masang Pilipino.

Ngunit ngayong may opportunity na po, na suportahan, na sinusuportahan na po sila ng gobyerno, kailangan pong tangkilikin din ang mga films dito sa MMFF ng masang Pilipino.

At tutulong po ako sa social media at sa mga iba pang paraan para po hikayatin ‘yung ating mga kababayan.

Natural lang po na magkaroon ng bangayan sa social media, pagdating sa iba’t ibang issue at mga opinion natin, ngunit pagdating po sa pagtulong sa ating bayan, dapat po tayong magkaisa.
Thank you. 

DIÑO-SEGUERRA: Good morning everyone. My name is Liza Diño-Seguerra. I am the chairperson and CEO of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

I’m also part of the MMFF Executive Committee. And today I am opening up the discussion for questions that you might want to ask about the film festival.

Well, ang theme namin ngayon is change. And, we’re bringing in new themes for this coming festival. We’re very happy about it. We’re very proud of our eight entries.

Nakakatuwa dahil during the past, since we had a countdown on December 1, very omnibus ang theme ng Metro Manila Film Festival ngayon.

It’s a unifying and very diverse yet concerted efforts ang ginagawa ng lahat ng mga entries. Malaking bagay siguro po dahil independent film producers po ang mostly kasama sa entries natin.

And it’s really a landmark opportunity for our independent film producers to have the exposure and the platform to showcase their films, especially this Christmas season, alam naman po natin na malaking advantage po talaga kapag ang film festival natin ay talagang para lang po sa mga local films.

So we’re very proud and I hope na suportahan ninyo pong lahat ang move na ito towards an even better edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Salamat po. 


Ted Tuvera (Daily Tribune): Ma’am, good morning po.

DIÑO-SEGUERRA: Good morning.

Mr. Tuvera: Ma’am knowing na ‘yung MMFF for the past few years ay mainstream tsaka ‘yun po ‘yung, ‘yung mga mainstream films po usually ‘yung pinapanuod ng mga masa, ma’am do you think na tatangkilikin din po ng masa, so to speak, ‘yung mga independent films?

DIÑO-SEGUERRA:Well, that’s precisely the reason why we are providing this opportunity for the independent films to be shown in this particular festival.

‘Yun naman po talaga ‘yung goal natin ngayon. It’s really to develop the audience and bigyan sila ng opportunity para makakita pa ng iba’t ibang tema, pagdating po sa mga pelikula na meron ang ating bansa.

Siyempre po, alam naman po natin na normally, ang mga nabibigyan lang po ng chance sa commercial screens ay ang mga mainstream films, na normally ang mas appealing, mas universally appealing, and mas commercially viable.

But there are so many films. Napakarami pong themes ng pelikula natin all over the Philippines. Even from the regions you can find really different and unique stories and I think this opportunity to open this film festival for all, and really concentrate on artistic excellence is a good move for the Metro Manila Film Fest.


We have two more points to share with you this morning. Good news for December 2016. New warehouse increases, the DSWD’s warehousing capacity of relief goods. 

With the construction of its new warehouse at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City, the Department of Social Welfare and Development can store an additional 40,000 family food packs at any given time. 

The new warehouse was inaugurated in November 29, 2016.

Also, the PNP, Philippine National Police Hospital signed deal for free treatment of cops hurt in the line of duty. The Philippine National Police has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, PCCAI, which is the owner of the Chinese General Hospital. 

According to the said agreement, police personnel who are engaged in actual police operations or doing hot pursuit of enemies, enemies of the state, and so forth, will receive comprehensive medical attention from the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center free of charge.

Non-uniformed personnel who are also injured during actual police operations are also covered by the agreement provided their immediate superior shall submit documents showing the former in line of duty status. 

In exchange, PNP shall render police assistance as the need arises to the fullest extent possible, within the legal bounds of the members. 

That’s about it. 

Maricel Halili (TV 5): Hi, sir. Good morning. 


Ms. Halili: Sir, may we have your reaction about the statement of UN High Commissioner urging the authorities in the country to conduct an investigation with regards the statement of President Duterte that he has committed some killings in the past, when he was still the mayor? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Right. This in reference to… Again, let me just remind one and all, that the incident referred to by the President was actually already covered by media and it was legitimate police action and that the UN Commissioner is free to express his views regarding that matter.

But we ourselves have already attended to the matter at hand. Okay. Thank you. 

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Hi sir, clarification lang. When you said the matter was attended to, are you saying, it has been investigated and the President had been cleared? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It has been… It’s already been under scrutiny in the past, but it has already been addressed as far as we know. 

Ms. Salaverria: Sir what, if any, what formal action will the government take with regard to the view of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights? Will we file a formal letter or response? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s his opinion. Basically, he’s just, he’s just airing his opinion regarding the matter. 

Ms. Salaverria: Sir on another, related topic. 


Ms. Salaverria: The President has said time and again that the killings, the killings of drug suspects is not state-sponsored. Wouldn’t it be to the benefit of the administration if the special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings would be able to investigate the matter herself? So would it not be, would the government not make it easier for her to come here by lifting the pre-conditions it has set for her? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think… Well, I understand your position, and the UN rapporteur’s position, however we also need to understand from where the President is coming from. That he understands, he personally has a point of view, and he has stressed this conditionalities simply because he feels, he also perceives that it would be for the betterment of the, of the situation to, to impose these conditionalities. 

Ms. Salaverria: Last na lang, sorry. Sir, the UN rapporteur is saying the conditions are contrary to the terms of reference and code of conduct. So there appears to be a real possibility that she might not be able to come here, so isn’t the government concerned that the matter will remain unresolved, at least on the part–? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, first and foremost, the President did open up with conditions. Right? So it’s now the UN rapporteur’s call. Thank you. 

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you. 


Cedric Castillo (GMA 7): Sir, good morning sir. Sir, Scarborough Shoal sir. 


Mr. Castillo: The President has always said, he is not, in confrontation with China, it’s not an option sir. So how about browsing the sentiment of the international community, is it an option for the President to pressure China or does the President think it’s a futile plan sir? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, I think both the options representing the pressuring and considering it futile are not in the President’s book. As far as I can see, he wants to, he says he’s not giving up on the matter, but it will be set aside for, for conversation someday, as he said. 

However, he sees, he does see that there are other options that are open and that he’d rather keep it that way. 

Mr. Castillo: Sir, one more sir. ‘Yung sa bonuses sir. Ano ba po talaga? May bonus ba na binigay si President o wala? Kasi I believe meron pong isang general na nagsabi na meron daw siyang na-receive na bonus? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, somebody is supposed to have said that sort of thing, but from my own source, from my own source, like I shared with you, nothing was received from their end. Nothing was received from their end and that nothing may be forthcoming. At least after that conversation yesterday. 

Mr. Castillo: Thank you sir. 


JP Bencito (Manila Standard): Hi, sir. Ulitin lang po sana namin ‘yung question yesterday. 


Mr. Bencito: Categorically speaking, is the, was the President the one who offered the bonuses to PNP Chief Dela Rosa? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I cannot say that categorically. But according to the words, what did he say, according to the words? 

Mr. Bencito: Si Presidente daw po ba ‘yung nag-offer po ng bonuses kay PNP Chief Dela Rosa, as he claims? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, you know. If you’re asking me categorically, was there a statement from the Palace saying so, no.

Mr. Bencito: Okay. Thank you sir. 

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Good afternoon sir. Can you please update us regarding the conversation between the President and Mr. Joma Sison? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Alright. It did go on. It went through, at about 3 a.m., dawn of that particular day. From the sources, it was a warm conversation between old friends. 

But there were no details, there were no political issues that were covered. However, both were agreed that the peace process must move forward. 

Ms. Mendez: To include possibly the permanent ceasefire between the two parties? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like I said, there were no details but both were agreed that the peace process should move forward. 

Ms. Mendez: On another issue sir, how’s the Christmas party of the Cabinet last night? Did you sing any caroling, Christmas carol? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: [laughs] Yes, we did. It was a very… Considering Sec. Mart, we sang very conservative songs. Hark the Herald Angels Sing, you know. Although the drama of the women’s sector was very moving. And Gina Lopez played a poor woman. So, you can imagine how dramatic that was. 

Ms. Mendez: What was the mood of the President? 


Ms. Mendez: Did he, was he happy enough to give you bonuses? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  [laughs] We received government-sanctioned bonuses. Thank you very much. 

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Sir meron po ba tayong information or update if magre-release po ng list ang Office of the President doon po sa mga recommended for pardon ng Pangulo ‘yung pong mga matatanda na at may sakit before December 25? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi ko po alam kung… if there’s going to be a list, but, but again there were certain conditions that were, that were talked about regarding the matter. 

Ms. Coz: So wala po tayong ini-expect? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t… in a sense of having declared that if so and so will happen. So we’ll just, we just go by what he said during the last Christmas party, that certain conditionalities needed to be met. 

Ms Coz: Second po sir, meron po ba tayong natatanggap na intelligence reports on terrorism threat, in relation po doon sa panibago or renewed travel warning ng US? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: From my office none. That, that which has reached my office, none. 

Trisha Macas (GMA News Online): Hi sir. The Presidential Communications Office on Monday released PNP data saying that the index crime was down 31 percent from July to November. But the murder cases went up by 51 percent. I mean comparing the same time period last year. So what does this say sir? I mean should we be happy about this that the murder cases went up by over, like, 50 percent? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think we should be happy for the fact that crime rate went down. And that it seems by all indications that those crime rates, crime rate that went down were actually drug-related cases. We’re not happy about deaths at all. We’re not happy about deaths, no death of—As the President said, the death of any Filipino is not anything to be celebrated. 

However it’s, it’s very heartening and very encouraging to realize that, to be able to identify the fact that much of the crime is actually drug-related. 

Ms. Macas: Sir another question, our new ambassador to the UN, Teddy Locsin. 


Ms. Macas: Tweeted that he wanted, he called for end to the killings and also the withdraw, withdrawal of the death penalty bill so, can we get the Palace reaction to these statements? 


Ms. Macas: Yes. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It will have to be something that’s forwarded to more formally to the Office of the President. 

Ms. Macas: He also said that there was a briefing with the DBM, that the President Benigno Aquino left a substantial amount of funds, when he ended his term on June 30. So, is the Palace aware of the briefing with the DBM and the new UN Ambassador to the… Philippine Ambassador to the UN? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  The DBM released information to the UN Ambassador? 

Ms. Macas: To yes, yes sir, to our Ambassador to the UN, to Teddy Locsin. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The Ambassador — the Direct… Department of Budget and Management? 

Ms. Macas: Yes sir. It was tweeted by Teddy Locsin yesterday. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t read tweets. Thank you. 

Ms. Macas: But sir, maybe we have a statement about— 


Ms. Macas: Those statements… We have like a reaction– 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Then we’ll have to, we’ll have to refer to the DBM and to the OP. 

Ms. Macas: Thank you sir. 

Chona Yu (Radyo Inquirer): Sir, sir ‘yung dalawang mayor na implicated ng President sa drugs, they’re asking for a meeting with the President. Will that be possible po? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  I’m sure it will be. The President is quite open to those things. As far as I know, as far as I know, he’s quite to open to those things. But it’s really their move, it’s really their move. Thank you. 

Ms. Yu: Hindi ba ’yun sir parang ano, double standard na kapag politicians mataas, hinaharap ng Presidente? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s put it this way. I don’t know about the double standards, about the processes. Let them take whatever steps that they need to take and I’m sure the President will respond in the manner that he most sees fit.  Thank you. 

Henry Uri (DZRH): Secretary sabi ng Pangulo, babalik ho siya sa mga nabiktima ng bagyong Yolanda bago mag-Pasko. Kailan po ito at saan ho magpa-Pasko ang ating Pangulo at meron ba siyang espesyal na aktibidades para sa bayan sa Pasko?   

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Regarding the schedules hindi ko po alam. We’ll, we can clarify, we can find out when he’s going. 

We can clarify when, if and when he’s going to Yolanda. And regarding special celebrations, we can also find out. But usually if we know him, he’s, he’s a very simple person, very simple, very simple taste. So nothing fancy, he’ll spend it with family and friends.

Mr. Castillo: Sir, pahabol lang sir. Reaction po on the statement of Senator De Lima, she says na you can… you can call me the high priestess of drugs but this will not solve the real problems and will not provide lasting solutions to the real problems on drugs, sir. 


Mr. Castillo: Sir, reaction please, sir. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  We are doing… What was the last part of your statement? 

Mr. Castillo: Sir, hindi naman daw maso-solve, wala raw mapo-provide na lasting solution kahit pa tawagin na paulit-ulit siya na high priestess of drugs? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t think the President is counting on solving the drug solution by name-calling. He’s actually doing something about it. He is a man of action, he’s not a man of words alone. Thank you.  

Mr. Bencito: Sir, can we get a statement from the Palace on the death of Larry Que? He’s the first media man to be killed in the Duterte administration. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Regarding that… We condemn violent, violence perpetrated against journalists. And we call on the authorities to investigate the matter so that justice will be served. 

Q: Sir, last question na. Sir reaction lang po sa statement ni Senator De Lima that Fentanyl has driven Duterte to madness? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That’s her opinion. Thank you.

Q: [off mic] 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Anong role ni? She was a guest, she was a guest. 

Q: [off mic] 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Other top businessmen? Mainly just—Come again? No I mean [unclear] was there. He’s also a businessman. 

Q: [off mic] 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Frankly, I don’t know. Friendship is, friendship finds its own levels. Okay. Thank you.