Interview with Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar
DZRB – Radyo ng Bayan
04 December 2016

SEC. ANDANAR: Hi, Albert. Habang live ka sa Radyo ng Bayan ay live ka rin sa Facebook page ko dahil nili-live ko itong interview natin.

Q: Alright, sir. Sir, meron po tayong opening message, sir, para sa ating mga kababayan?

SEC. ANDANAR: Diretso na tayo sa question and answer portion, Albert.

Q: Alright, sir. Question po galing kay Marlon Ramos ng Inquirer. Ang tanong po niya: “Did the President really order PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa to arrest gambling tycoon Jack Lam without an arrest warrant? Is that possible?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi ko masasagot ‘yung tanong ni Marlon kasi wala naman ako doon noong sa scenario na iyon na itinatanong ni Marlon. 

So, sorry, Marlon, I cannot answer that question.

Q: Alright, follow up lang din, sir, ni Marlon. “Is the President trying to circumvent the legal process and isn’t it intruding into the authority of the judiciary?

SEC. ANDANAR: Pagdating sa mga legal na katanungan I defer Marlon to the Office of the Department of Justice, thank you.

Q: Question naman, sir, galing po naman kay Gen Kabiling ang tanong po niya: “What prompted the President to order the arrest of Jack Lam? Can he be arrested without any court order?”

SEC. ANDANAR: Anything that has got to do with Mr. Lam, I defer to the Department of Justice . Pwede ninyo pong tawagan si Secretary Aguirre para po mas klaro ang sagot.

Q: Alright, sir, basahin ko na rin din po ‘yung follow up ni Gen: “Any appeal to Lam to just to surrender to authorities?”

SEC. ANDANAR: As I mentioned, I defer everything that has got to do with Mr. Jack Lam to the Department of Justice. Sorry po.

Q: Okay, sir, another question po from Gen pa din: “After the Peter Lim episode and Marcos reinstatement, De Lima has accused the President of being the number one ‘drug lord protector’ in the country.” Comment daw po mula sa Palasyo.

SEC. ANDANAR: The Senator has her own opinion. She is entitled to her own opinion. She is a senator of the land. And let her and let our Department of Justice secretary answer her. Thank you.

Q: Tanong naman po mula kay Jo Montemayor. Ang tanong niya: “May we know the agenda in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting?”

SEC. ANDANAR: I’m sorry. Wala pa po sa harapan ko ang agenda for the Cabinet meeting bukas po sa Malakanyang. 

And as usual, I would like to remind all of the members of the Malacañang Press Corps that the agenda is highly confidential and I will have to seek the approval of Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco before the Cabinet meeting starts and then I will give you the agenda that can be given to the media. Thank you.

Q: Alright, another question po from Jo. “The Palace comment on the observation and the disappointment of Senator Lacson over the alleged double standard in the anti-drug war after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte admitted that he ordered the reinstatement of Superintendent Marcos.”

SEC. ANDANAR: Again, I would like to say it all over again that any suggestions, and any objective criticisms coming from the Senate, from our wise men in the Senate are accepted wholeheartedly and we shall be guided by any suggestions and any criticism and as long as they are objective. Thank you.

Q: Alright, well question naman po, siguro follow up din related din tungkol kay — mula po kay Marlon: “Does the Palace take Senator Lacson’s statement repudiation of the President’s drug war?”

SEC. ANDANAR: We take the Senator’s statement just like any person who gets criticized objectively and we take it openly, we will listen to him and we will also listen to our own Philippine National Police Chief.

Q: Follow up din from Marlon: “Is there really a double standard in the government’s drug war?”

SEC. ANDANAR: What do you think Marlon? Maybe you should answer that question.

Q: All right question po, siguro galing ito kay Alexis Romero, ang question niya: “But do you really think President Duterte is really a drug protector?”

SEC. ANDANAR: I do not think and I do not believe and it has not crossed my mind that the President is what he is as you said, Ace.

The President is the President of the land and he is the number one protector of our laws in the land.

Q: Alright. On another topic po galing naman kay Gen Kabiling, ang tanong niya: “How soon will the President visit President-elect Donald Trump in Washington D.C.? Your assessment regarding relations between the two leaders.”

SEC. ANDANAR: The conversation between the President Duterte and President-elect Donald Trump went very well and it showed that there is a big possibility that we will have a reboot of relationship between the United States. 

And from what the President said, President Duterte told us, mukhang magkakasundo sila ni President-elect Donald Trump and again President Donald Trump wished the President well in his campaign against illegal drugs. 

And he said to the President that President-elect Donald Trump will support the campaign of the President against illegal drugs and he respects our sovereignty.

Q: Alright, regarding that, sir, in relation to that. Iyong pong election…

SEC. ANDANAR: Sorry po, hindi ko po maibibigay sa inyo ‘yung eksaktong petsa noong biyahe o kung magkakaroon man ng biyahe because this is really under the ambit, the responsibility of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Protocol Office. Ayoko pong pangunahan sila.

Q: Yes, sir. Sir, namention niyo po ‘yung “reboot” doon po sa namention ninyo kanina. Sir, kasama na rin po ba ‘yung aspetong military din, military aid, economic trade?

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi ko pwedeng pangunahan ang Pangulo sa pag-reboot ng relationship with the United States. But it’s a good question because there are so many aspects in our relationship, there’s the military aspect, there’s the economic aspect, there is also the people-to-people, the exchanges, education, et cetera. 

I will leave everything to the President, to the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs to decide which aspects that our country can reboot with the United States.

Q: Alright, balikan ko lang din, sir, ‘yung nangyaring — ‘yung military operation sa laban sa Maute group, sir, sir kamusta na po ‘yung ating ano update po sa pagtugis doon sa rebeldeng grupo?

SEC. ANDANAR: Wala pa pong update na ibinibigay ang Armed Forces of the Philippines sa amin sa Presidential Communications Office but from the last time that they issued a statement, tuluy-tuloy po ang kanilang operasyon para matugis ang mga terorista. 

And our President is also — has also called for the cooperation of the local residents para mas madali po nating masolusyunan ang problemang terrorism diyan sa area na ‘yan.

Q: Siguro din po, sir, ‘yung mga na-displace na mga residente doon, I am sure the DSWD is on hand to help the affected residents doon sa Butig?

SEC. ANDANAR: The entire government is helping all the victims of the current conflict happening in that area. The DSWD, the Department of Health, lahat po.

Q: I think, sir, pati din ang ARMM ay magbibigay ng ayuda rin.

SEC. ANDANAR: Yes. Lahat po nagbibigay kasi marami pong mga na-displace na mga kababayan natin.

Q: All right question po galing naman muli kay Marlon Ramos: “Where is Peter Lim and why is he not being charged regarding illegal drugs even after the testimony of Kerwin Espinosa?”

SEC. ANDANAR: I don’t have any update on Mr. Peter Lim, Marlon. I would have to ask Philippine National Police Chief Bato to give us an update tomorrow during the Cabinet.

Q: And follow up na rin mula kay Marlon, sir: “Is the entire country under terror alert level 3 or just specific areas in the country?”

SEC. ANDANAR: From what I gather, Marlon, the specific areas that are under alert number 3 are Davao, Zamboanga, Cotabato and there is still a recommendation to place Metro Manila under alert number 3. 

Hindi ko pa alam kung ito ay  na-approve na ng Armed Forces of the Philippines or ng Department of National Defense but the recommendation came from Philippine National Police Chief General Dela Rosa. 

And I guess he has mentioned that there is alert level 3 in NCR already so iyon na — siguro nabigyan na ng approval. But I still have to ask the DND kung meron na ba talagang approval or kung nagkasundo na sila to raise the alert level 3 here in Metro Manila.

Q: Siguro nasagot niyo na rin ‘yung follow up ni Marlon: “Has Malacañang sought clarifications regarding this from the PNP and AFP?” Anyway, may isa pa siyang tanong, ang tanong niya, sir: “How is the PCO’s implementation of the FOI? Marami na po bang requests from the public?”

SEC. ANDANAR: Meron, you can check the FOI website, Marlon. It’s and then you will see, you can browse through the website and check for yourself kung ilan ‘yung mga nag-request na. 

Marami pong nagre-request and the requests are addressed to different departments of the land. Marami po, we have our own people under Assistant Secretary Kissinger Reyes who is in-charge of the FOI portal. 

At ‘yung iba’t ibang mga ahensiya na nakisali sa FOI sa unang bugso nito, mga 15 sila ay meron din silang mga assigned personnel para sagutin ‘yung mga tanong.

So far it’s been good. But then again when we launched this, we did not say that it’s going to be 100 percent. Marami pa pong learning curve dito sa FOI Executive Order since hindi pa ho lahat ng ahensiya ay naka-enroll dito at kasalukuyan pa rin ang training ng mga ibang ahensiya. 

We will be going around the country to train the different regional offices how to implement the Freedom of Information Executive Order and how to use also the electronic FOI.

Q: Sir, follow up po ni Marlon: “What government agency received the most request?”

SEC. ANDANAR: Hindi ko maibibigay sa iyo ngayon ‘yung eksaktong data tungkol diyan. But let me get back to you on Monday once I get all the data from our Assistant Secretary Kissinger Reyes mula sa kanyang database.

Q: Alright, okay, sir. Question naman galing kay Jo Montemayor: “Any new appointments in the National Historical Commission and the AFP po?” Iyong siguro po ‘yung pare-retiro po ni Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya ngayon pong Linggo.

SEC. ANDANAR: Yes, I still don’t have information on recent appointments in government but let me find out tomorrow once we have the Cabinet meeting.

Q: All right, sir, si US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim has arrived. Meron na po bang schedule na courtesy call sa Pangulong Duterte?

SEC. ANDANAR: I am sorry the US ambassador? The new US ambassador…

Q: Yes, sir, dumating na po sa Maynila. Meron na po bang nakatakdang courtesy call ang bagong sugo ng Amerika?

SEC. ANDANAR: We will ask the DFA kung meron na.

Q: Okay medyo wala na po tayong natatanggap na iba pang mga questions. But anyway kung meron pa po kayong ibang mensahe para po sa ating mga kababayan ngayon pong linggong ito.

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s a usual Sunday message that I give to all of our listeners dito po sa Radyo ng Bayan. Have a great Sunday. Enjoy whatever is left on your day. Enjoy your family and to all those celebrating their birthdays, their anniversaries, monthsaries, happy birthday to you, happy anniversary. I also like to take this opportunity to greet my one and only daughter Alexa Andanar. It is her birthday today and then she just turned 17 years old at isang taon na lang ay 18 na.

Q: Sir, may follow up isa pa galing kay Marlon pahabol, sir. “Has the President changed his mind in dealing with the Maute group after the local terrorist threatened to kill the President?”

SEC. ANDANAR: You know, Marlon, I really have to talk to the President about this. This is something that is — I think one — the developments that happened last week will have to be settled, will have to be discussed because hindi naman ganung kadali, hindi naman ganun kasimple ‘yung nangyari last week.

So, it requires a face-to-face conversation with regard to the policy of the President after that incident, after the ambush of the PSG and RTVM, who else? The Army, in Lanao del Sur. Now, let me ask the President and really get his insights on the previous week on what happened last week.

Kasi alam niyo po ay things can change depending on the situation. So, once I get information from the President, what he thinks about it, he’s changed his policy or not, anu-ano ba ‘yung gagawin ng gobyerno doon sa Lanao del Sur at sa Maute group, then we will let media know firsthand.

Q: All right. With that, sir, marami pong salamat sa inyong oras na ibinigay po sa bayan, sir.

SEC. ANDANAR: All right. Thank you.

SOURCE: PCO PND Transcriber