Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and Mr. Francis Kong
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacanang
02 February 2017

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps.

We are fortunate to have today as our resource person one of the most respected business speakers in the country.

Francis Kong is a businessman, columnist, broadcaster, book author, and an inspirational speaker.

As an entrepreneur, Francis is versed in the field of manufacturing and retail. He founded the famous garment brand and ran it successfully for 17 years. And also ventured into the retail of an Italian fashion brand and managed its marketing and operations for many years.

He has formed Funworks Inc. and Success Options, which started as a publishing company and now offers learning and development in business, work, and life.

Actually, I was able to have time with him recently when he invited me to a session with a motivational speaker, another speaker, but he spoke about morality, markets, and business, and also millennials. All right.

So, it is with distinct pleasure that we have invited and please welcome, ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps, our guest Mr. Francis Kong. Thank you.

MR. KONG: Good morning. Well, let me try to do something different. Since I see a lot of young people here, can I know who among you are the youngest from the Press Corps?

That’s false news. Okay, is there… Who’s the youngest person here? I see a very young lady over there.

Okay, there you go. Okay so you are so young ma’am. May I know your name please? Your name? Trisha, you’re so young. Does your mama know you’re here? What’s happening in the workplace right now can best be demonstrated with what I’m gonna do.

Trisha, I will challenge you with the world’s number one brands and they dominated the market a couple of years ago and let me see if you recognize anyone of them. Are you ready for this? Trisha, you get a book from me, from me for free. Is that okay? For doing this. Okay.

So here you go. Trisha, are you familiar with the following brands: Olivetti?

Trisha Macas (GMA News Online): Sorry.

MR. KONG: Olivetti? 

Ms. Macas: No.

MR. KONG: Olympia? Remington?

Ms. Macas: Yeah.

MR. KONG: Underwood? Smith Corona? What were they?

Ms. Macas: Brands? [laughter] I’m sorry sir.

MR. KONG: Thank you very much. I’m gonna go home. Well, for those of you who were not exactly young, what were they? Typewriters.

That will… In one of the talks that I gave, one young, a young person responded and she says, “Oh I know what Olympia is.” “What is it?” And then she says,  “It’s a camera.” “No, that’s Olympus.” [laughter]

Somebody here says, “I know what Remington is. It’s medyas.” “No, that’s another brand.”

And so what happens right now is that in the business landscape now, you can practically talk about business with associating it with the millennials.

And that is one place wherein we need to understand and how to define what it is that’s happening in the workplace.

If you take a look around you, you can see that our —  that the country is a very young country. Our median age is what? Twenty-four years old.

And what I plan to present to you today is to understand where they are. First, I wanna thank our Secretary for inviting me over. It’s such a privilege for me to be with you and I would consider you colleagues whether you would accept that or not.

I would first refer to the famous New York Times personality, celebrity, superstar Thomas Friedman saying something like this, “A news article is designed to proclaim facts and happenings. A columnist is designed to provoke emotions.”

I am of the second part. I write a business column with the Philippine Star. And so we are either in the heat or light business.

Light, because you are to illuminate people with facts that they need to know. Heat, because we need to provoke people, our opinions. We have to provoke people in certain actions.

And I’m here to share with you the idea that any millennial today with a smartphone and a laptop is now a journalist and a reporter, and a critic, and a fashion stylist, and a photographer, so forth and so on.

I like you, ladies and gentlemen, to know where I’m coming from. I move in the area of business and I speak and I train business people whatever hierarchy they belong to in the food chain, corporate food chain.

And I also speak to college and high school students all the time.  As a matter of fact, tomorrow I’ll fly to Bacolod and speak to about 3,000 young people in a school there.

And I’m not talking about the millennials from the vantage point of sociology, but I’m presenting my observations from the business world’s point of view as a columnist sharing opinion.

We can hardly talk about the business landscape today without talking about the millennials. The median age 24.4. We are a very young country — that’s so much great resource there that is still yet untapped.

Almost half the entire Filipino workforce now comprises millennials. But right now, never before in the history of human kind, when you find three generations of people working side by side inside their cubicle prisons — these are the baby boomers, the Gen Xers, and the millennials.

Millennials, they are extremely technology savvy. Now here’s one thing you and I need to know. They want experiences now more than just stuff.

They are restless and impatient, they want to work for business organizations today that offer an image of not being money centric all the time but they do participate in volunteer programs and they feel the sense of pride belonging to that organization.

They are extremely sensitive when it comes to their relationship with their managers and their team leads. They can quit their jobs anytime they want.

They expect their bosses to be trustworthy. And they are brilliant, they get things done. But they get bored easily. Credit that to video games.

Now, this is the biggest possibility that remains untapped as that these young people can be the best entrepreneurs this country will ever see.

In many business organizations, I see the same three common gaps happening. Number one, skills gap. Educational institutions are not churning out graduates well equipped to take over the task and that’s why the moment they get on board on business organizations, companies will have to spend a lot of money retooling them, retraining them, and reconfiguring them so that they can work.

Now before we get into the case of the failing educational system, which may be unfair, my question now is how do we equip the young people today with emerging skills that are not yet there, but the moment when they get on board, technology now will introduce new things?

Number two, what I find is the leadership gap. Leadership gap because senior tenured managers don’t even know the mindset of the young people and they use old ways and they drive talented young people away.

Top two reasons why talented young people quit, number one, they can’t get along with their bosses; and number two, the feeling that they are not appreciated; and number three, and I think this is the biggest one, the values gap.

Somehow, the modern day lifestyle has brought them to a point wherein certain important things are treated as casual and certain casual things are given a blown up with unnecessary importance.

And this is why a most clientele of mine, the word “malasakit” now is very, very high in their corporate value scheme. But amazingly, one corporate value that is rising in prominence and importance is integrity as well.

Here are the following traits: Number one, the millennials today they want authenticity. They actually appreciate raw videos and footages that can show blemishes and faults. Any video that you present that is too polished, they will immediately suspect that it has commercial transactions agenda behind it.

Number two, they appreciate genuine mistakes. It reminds them that you and I are all human.

Number three, they see the entire industry not only as a means to get money and things that can satisfy their immediate wants but when they start working with companies that present them with long-term retirement benefits, it does not interest them at all.

Now before we get into the case of the young people for being impatient, ladies and gentlemen of the press let me ask you one question: When we were in school and we want to do our research where do we go? Library.

What kinds of books do we have to pull off the shelves? Encyclopedia. We open five volumes we can’t find the answer.

The next question I am gonna ask, Trisha, is today when you want to do research where do you go? No, you go to coffeeshop and you bring google with you. And so within the few nanoseconds you have your answer right away.

So in terms of corporate business, compensation plan and all these things will have to provide some immediate results. And when you make them wait, they don’t have the patience for that.

As a business person might caution to the industry is that we cannot look at these young people today as consumers, we have to look at the young people today as creators. They have at the tip of their fingertips, all the tools to create new things and they are the ones that are causing disruptions in the business industry.

This is why leaders need to update and upgrade their leadership skills while the young people now have to be trained in terms of self skills like behavior and conversation skills and the latest intelligence now. According to business gurus now is what is called “LQ”. It’s not lover’s quarrel, it is called likability quotient.

Many of the millennials are angry and they expressed their emotions. They are shifting their trust. One thing I have noticed among the young is that their trust on basic traditional institutions like church and schools and government is now shifting towards for the first time.

Guys, help me out: What are the usual warnings we get from our parents? Never accept any gift from a stranger. Do not go into a car with a stranger. Never enter the home of a stranger. And yet they go to Uber and they go to Airbnb.

So trust shift now is from traditional institutions towards widely distributed market platform wherein transparency coming from reviews is more trusted than from the opinions from journalists, critics, editors, and the experts.

What are the areas of improvement? As I share this with you, I am reminded myself as a parent of three young people din. Number one, we need to entrust ourselves with the burden to help them improve on their communication skills.

Number two, we learn — we have to develop them to manage their moods and emotions very carefully and to practice rationale thinking rather just deciding based on their feelings and emotions.

And, number three, enable them with the ability to understand long term success from short term pleasures and that not all things can be taken casually. Casualness and all things will lead to casualty.

And so, here is what it is: We are in the light and in the heat business. And so, it has been my great responsibility to say, that in whatever things we do, whether I say it, I write about it, I talk about it, there should be ethics, there should be integrity and there should be truthfulness behind because they can easily spot a fake.

They don’t easily spot fakes but they even manufacture fakes very effectively.

So, with this very brief time as I conclude, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, emotions now played very, very, high role in terms of business marketing. Marketers are the sharpest people in understanding their portfolio.

Almost every advertisement now you see has an emotional component built into it because the young people emotions now can easily be manipulated and maneuvered. And maybe that’s the reason why false news is now making its way.

I remember what Hollywood author Denzel Washington says, “If I don’t read the newspaper, I am uninformed. But if I read the newspaper, I’m misinformed.” Which one is which?

So, as a communicator, I think we just need to be very, putting so much emphasis on truth, on ethics, and on right behavior. Why? Trust, ethics, integrity, love, empathy, they’re not sexy, they may not sell a lot of news.

And we brand them as mushy, but they are not heat, they are light that illumine the world. And to give them a better chance of tapping into their potential in this world.

Let me just conclude by saying, my son Brian now, he’s 34 years old. He’s running a successful restaurant chain called Crazy Katsu with his Japanese partner but he’s a musician.

Young people are creative, yet they are entrepreneurial. One keyword for our entire theme now is, let’s tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of the young people because it is there, but we just have to tap into it.

My designer daughter who is building a name for herself. I’m beginning to be known as “you’re the daddy of Hannah Kong.” And I love it because she does designs and she is 29 years old.

And my youngest Rachel graduated in multimedia arts. She’s been assisting me in my slides, in my graphics. She’s now handling my consultancy business at 25 years old.

They are all entrepreneurs. Last year, I had a heart-to-heart daddy to daughter talk with my youngest Rachel and I said, “Sweetheart, you’ve been assisting your dad so well. I feel like I want to increase your salary.”

And she looked at me teary-eyed and she said, “Dad, I’m your daughter, you’re my father. You don’t have to do that. I want profit sharing.”

That’s the entrepreneurial spirit with all the young.

Maraming salamat po and God bless.


Marlon Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Why? Just joking. Sir, you were talking about values gap, leadership gaps, skills gap, the need for having self skills. So, what… Do you have any unsolicited advice to our President?

MR. KONG: The one advantage I see him tapping on right now is a sense of authenticity image that the young perceived him to be. Like, whatever he promised, he’s doing it. And that starts to be — among the young people right now.

Mr. Ramos: Yeah, he promised to end the — our problem, the illegal drugs within the six months of his presidency. Now he’s saying he’ll be doing it until 2022, until his last day in office.

MR. KONG: I am the person who understands business. You don’t get result by means of an event. To get a good result, you need process and that’s why process takes time.

But at least, the one thing that I’ve been hearing a lot of young people say, we were never even informed and we did not even know how huge and how big and how wide the scope of that problem is until now.

So if you are a business person with a business mindset, identify the problem is already 50 percent of the solution. So, I would — I would rather still say that we gotta be patient and wait for more results. And lot of things will have to be challenged in the process.

Mr. Ramos: Sir, do you think there’s a need for the President to change the way he speaks, the way he chooses his words?

MR. KONG: Words are extremely powerful and you and I need to understand, the moment our words leave our mouth, they are no longer ours, we have to be accountable.

But we cannot change our words that would make us detached from our personality and our humanness and our real self.

We can however choose words that will not compromise on its integrity, but perhaps say it in a more palatable way that people can understand and so that you lessen the risk of being misunderstood.

So communication skill, you guys know that very well. An issue can be neutral but with their used of words, you can make it explosive or you can make it passive.

And so I do agree that perhaps in communications… Well, as a communicator myself, I also have to understand when I started speaking I’m of the Chinese its so difficult first think in Chinese and then translate that into Filipino and then in English.

And I think being a somebody from the Southern part of the country, he will have to go through that process also.

So I would rather just give him the benefit of the doubt and I would say that as long as what you say aligns with what you do, then that for me spells authenticity.

Henry Uri (DZRH): Good morning, sir. I’ll go to the issue of corruption. Recent report of Transparency International says that the Philippines still ranked 95 among 168 countries all over the world. Although it stand not just  lower to what we have got last year, but the corruption is still the problem in our country. What do you think the President should immediately do to resolve corruption?

MR. KONG: We have always understood the basic principle in life that a fish rots from the head. Therefore, in any organization, it is always trickle down morality. And so every head of every organization whether private, government or even in government, we have to make sure that the character and the integrity of the leader should be untainted and should maintained its consistency in truthfulness.

Therefore, I’ll take a look carefully at very leaders of the institutions and I would say that they need to walk their talk, preach what they teach, and they need to be the embodiment of what this administration is supposed to represent.

Mr. Uri: Another question: How would you rate our President — as a President as a leader of this country?

Mr. Kong: In terms of what? Beauty or popularity?

Mr. Uri: Well, the way he leads, the way he govern?

Mr. Kong: It’s unconventional. I’ve been talking with a lot of business people, they say there’s not even a category where you can rate him. Because, frankly, I’ve met so many leaders, he’s a rare breed of his own. So I wouldn’t know what the quantifying measures and starters should be in rating him. It’s either. Whether something is perceived as good or bad depends on the eye looking at it.

For example, he is very popular among Asian leaders that understand Asian discipline eh. But he is not look upon favorably with the West that do not understand Asian discipline.

Well, that in itself should give us enough stuff to calculate and evaluate where is he, where is he now.

So I do have to apologize, I don’t have the matrix in order to rank him.

Mr. Uri: Thank you

MR. KONG: You’re welcome.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I feel like I’d like to enroll as a millennial. [laughter]

All right, once more we’ll look at the landscape and the Philippine Stock Exchange, PSEi, has been ranked among the best performers in Asia for January.

The Philippine shares outperformed much of Asia for the month of January. Nisha Alicer, Chief Equity Strategist at DA Market Securities, explained that January was actually a really good month especially coming from the lows of December.

Looking forward in February, Alicer is optimistic that events such as a first Federal Reserve Monetary Policy Meeting for 2017 and BSP Monetary Policy Meeting, ought to bring back positive feedback.

On the same note, one of the biggest auditing firms in the Philippines reported that the Philippines is Asia’s new investment hub.

Vice Chairman Emmanuel Bonoan of KPMG, Manabat & Co. said that the growing economy helped boost consumer spending especially among millennials.

Bonoan believed that in order to achieve economic growth, tax reforms are very much needed. He also expressed his support for the tax reform package of the Department of Finance.

Today is Constitution Day and we celebrate that.

It embodies the hopes and aspirations of our people.  And as we remember this historic day, let us pay tribute to the hard work of the men and women who fought to give us a charter that binds us as Filipinos and take our nation to new heights of growth, prosperity, and inclusivity.

May this occasion remind us to strengthen the rule of law in light of our fight to rid society of drugs and crimes and to stamp out corruption in government.

Together, we will continue to reap the fruits of independence that shall benefit our people today and the generations to come.

We will take a few questions

Catherine Valente (Manila Times): Good morning, sir. Sir, can we get the Palace’s statement on Mr. Tiglao’s column regarding the January 23 ruling of World Bank’s International Center for the settlement of investment dispute. It ordered po the Philippine government to pay a Belgian firm 800 million peso for the cancellation of flood control project under the Aquino administration. Is the government po willing to pay such penalty or ano po ang plano ng government about that issue?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We have to backtrack a little bit. The Palace has yet to receive official document from the World Bank.

So we cannot make any statements regarding that unless we have official statements.

We will refer the matter to the Office of the Solicitor General for proper legal action.

Ms. Valente: Thank you, sir

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, sir. On the Amnesty International report. Is the government not going to order an investigation of its findings? Does it not… Isn’t there something worth looking into in the AI report?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Specifically, specifically… I have the statement but… Specifically again can you repeat the question.

Ms. Salaverria: The findings of the Amnesty International report…


Ms. Salaverria: That the police are being paid off to kill drug users and drug pushers.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. We refer the matter to PNP and there is no…And they have again clarified that there is no official sanctions regarding that, there is no official policy regarding the matter.

And so it has to be to be brought to AIS — the internal investigating committee.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, what are you saying? Are you saying that Amnesty International should lodge a formal complaint for their findings to be looked into?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No. Well, I think they shou[ld] — they ought to be careful regarding those matters especially when declaring it publicly because it casts aspersion upon the Philippine National Police.

However, if they should be… However, when we referred to PNP, there was no official… Again, like you’ve said, there’s no official — regarding the matter.

Ms. Salaverria: I understand the PNP gave a blanket denial but on the part of the government, don’t you think this warrants an investigation by maybe another institution or…?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, the government is pursuing internal cleansing — internal investigation. So whatever they say is simply coal to Newcastle. Thank you.

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, it is also been asked on the drug war, why did it take the killing of a Korean businessman for the government  to stop the police involvement in the anti-drug operations? Did he find nothing suspicious about the deaths of nearly 7,000 drug suspects?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think, you have to put it within the context of the entire operation.

As the President has continually explained it that the matter of deaths — deaths under investigation has to be made in reference to the thousand of arrests made, the thousands operations, okay.

Now, the death of… The unique situation regarding that death merits attention. And so it’s not as if it was — it’s what happens ordinarily. So the facts of the circumstance merit that kind of attention.

Ms. Salaverria: And the 7,000 didn’t…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They did not happen within the camp, right? That’s what I’m saying. I mean, the circumstances are unique in such…It’s speaks about a certain depth of impunity that is unimaginable.

Mr. Ramos: Iyong…On another matter. A US- based NGO, Freedom House, reported that the Philippines further slipped in its press freedom index for 2016 because of the cases of —unabated cases of extrajudicial killings, sir, your comment on this?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The administration of the President has been ranked “partly free” by the Freedom in the World report.

The same classification it has been in the previous years. Although there was a slight dip due to human rights violation of varying scale with impunity.

Again, let me just say, apparently it does not include, in its equation, the widespread satisfaction that common people experienced in the new found peace and security that they find in the neighborhoods, okay.

Now, again, let me just state, the Freedom  House, which provides the ranking is also partially funded by the US State Department, which has its own — which has become the subject of the President’s criticisms, okay.

It has a…Freedom House has partially attributed the ranking to the President’s policy of alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and addicts and such conclusion is really far from the truth.

The President’s anti-drug war does not condone extrajudicial killings and the President is clear that he is after criminals.

The campaign against illegal drugs has yielded more than a million drug personalities, some of whom have already surrendered while some admit themselves to the rehabs programs.

Again, let me just say, criminals cops are not government, okay. Their illegal acts do not represent the police institution whose duty is to ensure the protection and security of civilians.

Also not true is the Freedom House’s unfounded statement that newly-elected President Rodrigo Duterte won widespread support for his policy of EJK of suspected drug dealers and addicts.

The President won on an overwhelming mandate of change, okay. So it is for this reason that the Chief Executive continues to enjoy high satisfaction approval and trust ratings from people.

In the face of all this, the President continues to work towards providing Filipinos a comfortable life in spite of widespread corruption even in government and the perception of other entities with different agenda.

So, basically, what we are saying is that we understand where they are coming from. They also apparently have their own point of view. But, again, there seems to be a misperception of what the President’s actual operations.

Mr. Ramos: Do you think the conclusion is baseless or…?


Mr. Ramos: Baseless or unfounded, as you said unfounded…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They have an agenda in pointing it out, I am saying.

Mr. Ramos: Okay, sir, does the Palace think there’s a need for a particular government agencies say DOJ or any other agency to look into the specific findings of the AI research investigation? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  I don’t know if it’s specifically AI, but definitely the President is concerned about what’s happening and has actually responded as you can very well see.

Like for example, the police have been stopped from — PNP has been stopped from engaging in anti-illegal drug operations and… So there are efforts made in actually correcting and ensuring that corruption is actually staunched within the organization.

Mr. Ramos: Yeah, I’m talking, sir, particular — sorry, but particularly about the disturbing findings of amnesty International Research…


Mr. Ramos: About yes…


Mr. Ramos: The payoffs…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It is…It’s part of the cleansing operation. It’s being looked into.

Mr. Ramos: Thank you, sir.


Joseph Morong (GMA-7): Sir, since the—since General Bato announced the stoppage at the very least of the “Tokhang,” why do you think is there slowdown in the number of deaths of drug addicts?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: What do you mean? Are you…So the implication is?

Mr. Morong: No, why do you think is there a slowdown of the number of drug addict, drug- related killings, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  It may be attributed to a number of issues…It may be… I cannot speculate on that matter. It’s not for me…But simply it is also lessened.

Mr. Morong: Sir, si Senator Chiz I think wants to call on the AI, to ask them about their findings. What does the Palace think about this?


Mr. Morong: Do you agree?


Mr. Morong: In that…Senate will call on AI to maybe elaborate more on their findings?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: They are free to do that. They are actually free to do that.

Mr. Morong: Sir, kay Senator Lacson. Sabi niya, sir, ‘yung the AFP running after scalawag policemen medyo parang dangerous siya because we will have to arm the groups— I mean armed units running after each other, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, that seems to be the solution that’s being provided by the Palace at this stage. And so let us go by the due— let us assume regularity and due process.

Alexis Romero (Philippine Star): Usec., you already mentioned that you do not condone extrajudicial killings but…


Mr. Romero: The government…


PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: But the Amnesty International said, the policemen were incited by the rhetoric of President Rodrigo Duterte, at least, they were “incited” because of his, you know, inflammatory statement against drug lords. Do you agree with that?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  These are AI’s observations and they have to be…And they are actually opinions.

Mr. Romero: But does the Palace agree that in some ways the President incited those killings both legal or illegal?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: All I can say is that the President has—he has repeatedly said that the drug apparatus needs to be destroyed, okay.

Whether it is to incite killing is not under—I mean is a separate matter. It is a separate matter, but definitely the…What the President has continued to stress is that the drug apparatus must be destroyed. That’s why he frames it in terms of war.

Mr. Romero: For example, ‘yung rhetoric ni President na “kill them, shoot them”, you don’t agree that that incited some killings in one way or another parang ganoon?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well it…Some of these “scalawags” may have taken that, may have, I’m saying, may have taken that as a form of cover in order to what –in order to engage in their own operations.

Mr. Romero: But do you think that statements or those statements emboldened both the policemen and the scalawags?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You are asking me to give you an opinion, that’s not my purview. Thank you.

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Hi, Sec, magandang hapon. Iyong war on drugs tinanggal na ng Pangulo sa PNP kahapon. With this action, kailangan pa ba maglabas ng panibagong memorandum order ang Pangulo o — ? Kasi doon sa Memorandum Order No. 3 na kanyang inilabas ay para sa PNP and AFP. So kailangan pa bang maglabas ng panibago? Kasi sinasabi ng Armed Forces ay kailangan nila ng memorandum from the government doon sa sinasabi na kailangan nilang tumulong sa PDEA ngayon nasa PDEA na.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, they simply are following procedures. I mean in the military, they’re very firm, strict and firm about procedures.

So that is their… From their perception is that this is part of standard operational procedures.

Mr. Ganibe: Pero kailangan pa po bang maglabas ng panibagong memorandum order para i-repeal ‘yung Memorandum Order No. 3?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hindi ko po alam kung alin ang talagang kailangan saktuhin nila pero naghahanap na po talaga sila ng nakasulat na pagbabatayan ng kanilang mga galaw.

Mr. Ganibe: Kasi po ‘yung Philippine Coast Guard, dahil kinuha din ng Pangulo ang tulong nila sa war on drugs, naglabas po siya ng Memorandum Order No. 4. So do we expect — ?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, let’s go by what the DND is asking for.

Mr. Ganibe: Kasi kung walang memo daw, sir, hindi sila pwedeng kumilos, ang Armed Forces of the Philippines.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That is their statement. Iyon po ang kanilang salita.

Mr. Ganibe: So papano po ngayon ‘yun, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Aantayin po nila ‘yung ano… It’s referred to… It’s a matter that has been referred to the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Mr. Ganibe: So hindi pa sila maaaring kumilos ngayon?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: From where they’re coming from, kung saan po sila nanggagaling, nag-aantay po sila ng  pagbabasehan ng kanilang mga kilos.

Mr. Ganibe: So may gagawin ang Palace?


Mr. Ganibe: May hakbang ang Palasyo para–?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Inaantay po nila ‘yung manggagaling sa office ng ES.

Mr. Morong: Sir, ‘yun pong pag-transfer ng operations from the police to the PDEA, is that an implicit admission or concession of the point that it has been used as a cover by several rogue cops?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if it’s an admission of — that it’s a cover but it is a… As far as the President’s statement is said, that they are…The PNP at this stage is… [How do you put it?] Incapable of carrying out these very sensitive positions and therefore these operations should now be referred to the proper organization which is PDEA.

Mr. Morong: Six months before, seven months before, he didn’t know that the PNP will not be capable of carrying out such a sensitive operation?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Like the gentleman said earlier, things need a process. And the President very validly has undergone a process.

And so this is part of the process. It is part of the democratic process. He has not jumped into breathtaking conclusions that they are not trustworthy.

In fact, he has given them — he has given them his encouragement, his warnings. And now he sees that the depth is really profound and therefore needs to be stopped, staunched and transferred.

Mr. Ramos: The President said 4 out of 10 policemen are corrupt. Do you think the PNP would be able to purge its ranks of scalawags and misfits before the President’s term ends?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s something that we have to trust. You know, it’s something… Again, we belong to a democratic society.

We go through processes. If the nation participates, if the government participates then we can at least hope for a substantial change in that organization.

Mr. Ramos: How do you think should the PNP go about this? Isipin mo 40 percent of the 170,000? So you are talking about 70,000 of them are corrupt, how will the PNP purge those?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: How will they…I will leave it to them. Obviously, this time is a moment of…They need to reflect deeply on their own situation, on their own organization.

Mr. Ramos: One of the primary concerns about the President’s drug war is the fact that it has no blueprint, a written policy on how to go about the drug war. After the purging of the PNP will there be one? Will the President approve or release any order specifically stating how to go about the drug war?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t think it’s entirely accurate to say that he does not have a blueprint. He does have a blueprint. It may not be written out according to procedures the way we understand it, but he does…He is following a particular blueprint.

If you noticed, he has been very consistent. He identifies, he names, that’s part of it, okay. So but if you are asking will it be written down, it’s something that — I think that’s…

They may, they may not but definitely there is a blueprint and that’s coming from the President’s directive himself.

Mr. Ramos: Pero is there an EO, any kind of order coming from the President stating how PDEA, how the military, how the PNP should go about it?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It’s something they have… It’s something that they have to thresh out.

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Sir, good noon. Bilisan ko lang dalawang puntos. Sir, reaksyon ninyo sa sinabi Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin sorry Delfin Lorenzana na mismong, posible na, misinformed itong si Pangulong Duterte kaugnay sa kanyang sinabi na arms depot dahil categorical na sinabi sa panayam ni Secretary Lorenzana na walang nagbababa ng armas  mula sa US Armed Forces. Siguro may pwede bang mapanagot o mapahanap kung sino ‘yung nagsabi ng maling impormasyon kay Pangulo?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if it’s a question of misinformation or feeding him wrong information. But definitely the President has his own sources about how he understands the situation.

He did say that, for example, there were plans to build…This was from his last presscon, press briefing, he did mention about how there were plans to set up facilities to receive supplies. And this is where he was coming from, that part of — because under the EDCA agreement, apparently it’s still possible to do so.

However, he says there must be no permanent structures and it should not allow for arm supplies and that seems to be where he is coming from.

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, last point, with all the reported violations of the New People’s Army with their own unilateral ceasefire and ‘yung sinabi ni Secretary Lorenzana kanina na ‘yung NPA ay nangangawarta na nga raw at wala na ‘yung idelohiya. Do you still trust the CPP-NPA-NDF in the peace process? Although I understand the position of the President to go and all out for peace?


Mr. Tinaza: Do you still trust the CPP-NPA- NDF in the negotiations?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Apparently, the… Yes, they continue to converse with the leadership. However it is the leadership…

The onus is on their leadership in order to make sure that their ranks are actually walking also their talk.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, two points lang follow up kay Reymund. Iyong binabanggit hindi kaya ‘yung binabanggit ng Pangulo na arms supply kasi kahapon naglabas ng information ang US embassy na may ibinigay silang grant na mga high powered firearms or mga  pang-counterterrorism na arms sa Army and Philippine Marines. Hindi kaya ito ‘yung?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It may have reference to that — partial reference to that. It may have.

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, other issue. Nabanggit ninyo kahapon sa isang statement na si Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea pa lang ang naitatalagang chairman ng EDSA People Power Commission at wala pang ibang mga opisyal doon sa komisyon which is ‘yung mga dating opisyal doon ay coterminus ibig sabihin wala na po sila sa puwesto. So papaano po ‘yung magiging preparasyon o paghahanda dahil nasa tatlong linggo na lang ay EDSA People Power anniversary na po?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure the Office of the Executive Secretary is very capable and they’ll be able to manage that.

Mr. Ganibe: Kahit siya lang mag-isa, sir. Kahit walang ibang opisyal doon sa EPPC?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Hayaan po natin siya na gumawa ng kanyang sariling komite.

Mr. Morong: Iyong sa NDF lang, the President had said before the start of the talks that medyo malabo naman mag-release ng political prisoners. That can happen after the signing the peace deal, right? So that’s…The President is not changing his mind as far as that is concerned.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as the last declaration that he has made, statement that he has… He says he has given way too much already.

And these things… The actual release can happen after the documents are signed.

Mr. Morong: So it’s safe to say, sir, na we will not acquiesce to the — well, for lack of a better term, demand of the NDF to release these political detainees?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That would be an accurate statement of the President’s position.

Mr. Morong: At what point, sir, will the President still wait for the NDF? I mean, when does he put his foot down and say, you know, demands are enough and we can maybe turn our backs on our own unilateral ceasefire?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let us wait for the… Let’s wait for the advice of the negotiators.

Genalyn Kabiling (Manila Bulletin): Sir, we are just curious, how will the government commemorate EDSA People Power knowing fully well that the President favored the burial of the late President?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You are connecting two separate situations?

Ms. Kabiling: How will the government commemorate the EDSA People Power revolution…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Period. With dignity. Thank you very much.

Ms. Kabiling: Sir, wait, sir, wait. Sir, considering that..


Ms. Kabiling: Considering the President favored or he was amenable to the burial of the late dictator who was ousted by the EDSA revolution.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, the EDSA revolution has its own particular dignity. Thank you very much.

Benjie Liwanag (DZBB): Sir, on the delisting from the terror list of Joma Sison. Since nagsalita na ‘yung NPA, may pagbabago ho ba, in the government? Are you going to still stand for that?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t the NPA’s statement was an official statement. Was it an official statement?

Mr. Liwanag: Yes, sir, it’s official because he is the spokesman of New People’s Army. He’s Ka Oris and…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: And the actual statement said?

Mr. Liwanag: February 10.


Mr. Liwanag: Unilateral ceasefire.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Okay. Let’s just go. Let’s just let events unfold properly. At this stage, anything I say might be speculation regarding that matter.

Mr. Morong: Sir, how do you… I don’t think you can divorce Marcos from the People Power revolution, but at least the first one?


Mr. Morong: How can you now…Re-paraphrasing the question of Ate Gen, how are you going to celebrate it considering the fact that the President agreed to the Marcos — that Marcos be buried at the Libingan, I mean.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Again, let me say… Like I said it will be…

Mr. Morong: With dignity…

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: In a sense…No. I mean when I say with dignity, I mean, whatever they do will be to honor, will be to give it its due honor. That’s what I am saying. Will it give it its due honor.

How it unfolds? We will have to find out. I will have to check with the Office of the ES.

Mr. Morong: What and who are we honoring when we commemorates EDSA?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I will find out. No I mean, the way… If you are asking me how it will be done? So, I will find out. Okay? All right.