Interview of Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar
ANC – Headstart by Karen Davila
10 January  2017

KAREN DAVILA: And joining us in the studio this morning is Secretary Martin Andanar, Happy New Year and welcome to Hot Copy. Thank you for coming, sir.

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s great to be back. This is the third time.

DAVILA: Third time but your first time for 2017.

SEC. ANDANAR: This year. Oo.

DAVILA: First interview—

SEC. ANDANAR: Buena mano.

DAVILA: Buena mano. Alright, the Cabinet meeting yesterday—there has been talk that ‘Leni Leaks’ was discussed in the Cabinet meeting. Was it?

SEC. ANDANAR: It was discussed in the Cabinet pull aside. Ito po iyong when we pull the President on one side and we talk to the President privately. So… ito iyong nangyari. Sabi ko sa Pangulo ito po iyong kopya ng document, Mr. President. We have a copy and I gave a copy to Esperon. He already had the copy and then may bagong sumali sa grupo, and this is DICT Secretary Rudy Salalima. Because you need online forensic investigators to verify the document if it’s a bona fide Yahoo group’s document number 1, and kung if it’s a bona fide document, if it is verified then you will have to check then the members of the Yahoo group. So, ngayon na kay Secretary Rudy Salalima na ang bola.

DAVILA: Okay, does the President—I mean, what was the President’s reaction?

SEC. ANDANAR: Sabi ko, “Mr. President, what can you say?” Sabi niya, “Sabihin mo, Martin, sa media na sabihin doon sa mga kung sino man ang nagpa-plano ng destabilization at kung sino mang sangkot dito sa ‘Leni Leaks’ na ito, I wish them all the success.”

DAVILA: He said that?


DAVILA: But, does he believe it?

SEC. ANDANAR: He was laughing and then—of course now that it’s under investigation, we will find out after—may meeting sila ni Secretary Rudy Salalima and his team today. And then, he will give me a report and that report will be—what the report that I will give you, the media—

DAVILA: Yeah, I know that you, yourself, you have a podcast—


DAVILA: And you interviewed two bloggers, I think, ‘Thinking Pinoy’ and “Sass”—

SEC. ANDANAR: Rogando—

DAVILA: Who is quite famous on social media. And you asked them, how they were able to source—

SEC. ANDANAR: Yes, yes.

DAVILA: — this documents. What did the interview reveal?

SEC. ANDANAR: The first blogger who got the information, natisod niya iyong impormasyon—


SEC. ANDANAR: Is Sass Rogando—


SEC. ANDANAR: Who is in Europe right now – Amsterdam. I think taking up her PhD. Now, when she saw the documents, she immediately downloaded it.



DAVILA: So it was sent to her. She downloaded it?

SEC. ANDANAR: She downloaded the document, since according to her the Yahoo groups was an open group in Yahoo. S0 this is actually the document.


SEC. ANDANAR: And she downloaded it into a PDF file and since hindi naman siya ganoon ka-techi pinasa daw niya kay ‘Thinking Pinoy’ to do all the studies ‘no, kung talagang totoo ito. But while she passed it on to ‘Thinking Pinoy’ she already wrote a blog about it and the blog became viral. And when ‘Thinking Pinoy’ started writing about it, then it became viral again for a few days, two days and then, by Saturday and since nobody was picking up the story and I was concerned as a member of the Cabinet about what was going on. So I decided to go on the podcast and look for their number and contacted them and talked to them, ano ba talaga ang nangyari. And then of course, we want an authority to tell us what should be done once we get the document. Sabi ni Secretary Jun Esperon is that he will investigate the document.

DAVILA: Okay. Now, just for the—for those watching who are not into Yahoo or—even the internet—

SEC. ANDANAR: Wala na itong Yahoo eh.

DAVILA: Yeah. Alright, so this is supposedly what would have been on the front of the—I mean, I presume online, when you open it, it would say, “Global Filipino Diaspora Council, right? My question now is: has Loida Lewis admitted that this exists?

SEC. ANDANAR: I haven’t spoken to Ms. Lewis but this will be—this is already under investigation by the DICT under Sec. Salalima. Online naman ito ha, online—

DAVILA: It’s first to find out if it’s not fake news. If the Yahoo group actually is real?

SEC. ANDANAR: If it is real and if it’s really a Yahoo group, number 1. And if it is then… if the people who are in here are really the people that what is written here.

DAVILA: So is it fair to say that this is not yet authenticated?

SEC. ANDANAR: It is fair to say that it’s still under investigation; that we cannot jump into conclusion if this is a bona fide document from Yahoo. So we cannot really say that Ms. Loida Lewis is part of this, but then again you have Randy David who wrote an article and said that although he is—

DAVILA: His name was there?

SEC. ANDANAR: Although he is part of the email group but he is not active.

DAVILA: So it means to say, if Randy David admitted that he was part of the e-mail group, then the group exists?

SEC. ANDANAR: Than the group exist, maybe, yeah. But I subscribe to what Randy wrote, what he said that he is not active. You know, sa Yahoo groups kasi… ito mga 90’s pa ito eh—


SEC. ANDANAR: Puwede kang isama. Your name can be included even without your permission.


SEC. ANDANAR: And the question really is if your name is there and if this document is for real, kung hindi siya kasinungalingan, then who are the people in this conversation that are active.


SEC. ANDANAR: — in the conversation.

DAVILA: Now, in reading full of thread. Does it actually—

SEC. ANDANAR: Give me a—

DAVILA: — say that they want to oust the President?

SEC. ANDANAR: I’ll give an example.

DAVILA: Go ahead.

SEC. ANDANAR: If I can read one, I just won’t name the person who wrote it.

DAVILA: But you might as well name it ‘allegedly’ because it’s out there.

SEC. ANDANAR: Alright, I mean it’s here. “Hi,” it says here. “On November 12, 2016 at 11:13 a.m. Laguatan Lo at, then blanko dot dot dot, wrote: Please look into organizing continuing steadily growing mass protests against Duterte’s extra judicial killings and Marcos burial, include prominent personalities such as FVR, Noynoy Aquino, Winnie Munsod, Kiko Pangilinan, Cardinals Tagle, Ledesma, etcetera, organizations such as the CBCP, Ateneo and La Salle and UP alumni and student organizations will be with us, so many will be joining.


SEC. ANDANAR: By doing this ASAP taking advantage of current mass protests against Marcos burial. We will be already building the framework for an effective organized and effective mass opposition to Duterte.


SEC. ANDANAR: Best—then the name: Duterte is violating so many constitutional provisions and I’ll be writing an article which specifically points that out. This can be the legal grounds to remove him from his position. The whole world and decent good Filipinos will be with us. We will do our part here in the US and other parts of the world.

DAVILA: Okay. Who wrote this?


DAVILA: Can you just—




DAVILA: Who would Ted be? Have you investigated?

SEC. ANDANAR: Well, I don’t want to conclude.


SEC. ANDANAR: So I’m gonna allow the team of Secretary Rudy Salalima to—

DAVILA: Okay. Now, one who may see this – the essence of a democracy essentially is free speech?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, free speech siya.

DAVILA: A peaceful protest and read—I mean, hearing from what you’ve read. They were essentially calling to take advantage of the protest—

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s situation.

DAVILA: — on the Marcos burial and then to encourage more people to protest.


DAVILA: Is that against the law?

SEC. ANDANAR: No, we have a freedom of expression in our country. But the fact is, if you say that this can be legal grounds to ‘remove’ him from office. So you already have this sinister plan to really remove the President from office.

DAVILA: Yeah, so what you’re hitting on is the intention of the goal to eventually remove?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, yeah, exactly! Kasi you can say that we can go out and protest on a certain policy and just tell the President or tell the Congressman that—or tell the Senators that what you are doing is wrong, you might want to change your mind on a certain policy. But if you write something, “this could be grounds to ‘remove’ him from office.” Then you already have that thinking in mind that you’d want to oust a President.

DAVILA: Yeah, yeah.

SEC. ANDANAR: What else ‘di ba?

DAVILA: And this would be, I wanna ask you. Would this mean if the DITC investigates and it’s authentic, you will file a case against people in this thread?

SEC. ANDANAR: I will respect the decision and the recommendation of Secretary Jun Esperon. Because after – Secretary Rudy Salalima is also a lawyer by the way – investigates this and finds out that this is a verified and a bona fide document and the people here are really the people that we know who were opposed to this administration. Then, they will come up with their own recommendation and the recommendation, I suppose, will be given to the President. And we’ll follow the process. If it’s going to be DOJ, then DOJ.

DAVILA: Yeah, okay. What happens to Leni Robredo? Clearly she has been interviewed and she has vehemently denied any involvement in a plan to oust him. Is there any way to salvage their working relationship?

SEC. ANDANAR:  I think, the Vice President’s office will have to investigate—

DAVILA:  Okay.

SEC. ANDANAR: The person who is active or allegedly active in this thread. I’m not saying it’s a Vice President; I don’t even think that it’s the Vice President herself, baka iyong mga tao niya. So kailangan niyang disiplinahin iyong mga tao niya kung sila nga itong mga nandito.

DAVILA: Okay, very interesting, okay. What you are saying in effect is in a way, if some of the staff of Leni Robredo as Vice President are active in the thread, they should not be involved in any support for rallies against the President also.

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, yeah, you are using the taxpayer’s money to support rallies and the protest. You know, it’s not right.

DAVILA: Okay. Alright. Now, other than ‘Leni Leaks’ for example, the President did say he wants to be more harsh this year, which we will show that later on. But what did he mean by that?

SEC. ANDANAR: Harsh on corruption.


SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, kasi nga po for the last year the President went against and—after the illegal drugs syndicate, to destroy the drug apparatus. The President was also busy in ensuring that the peace talks continue to with the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

DAVILA: Yeah, is he disappointed with the CPP-NDF?


DAVILA: He is not?

SEC. ANDANAR: The third round will happen in couple of weeks in Rome.


SEC. ANDANAR: And we discussed it last night. And this year will be about running after the corrupt officials, the corrupt businessman and also it will be about infrastructure projects for the country.

DAVILA: Okay, we’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be back with Communication Secretary Martin Andanar. Stay tuned.

(Commercial break)

DAVILA: Alright, we’re continuing our Hot Copy interview with Secretary Martin Andanar. So yesterday, the President welcomed to his administration new appointees and many people have asked: How does the President choose? Because let’s face it, one of the bigger questions is: Why was Mocha Uson chosen to be at MTRCB?

SEC. ANDANAR: Obviously, we give all the—of course, the leeway to the President when choosing his appointees.


SEC. ANDANAR: And Mocha is no exception—

DAVILA: Who recommended her?

SEC. ANDANAR: I’m not sure who recommended Mocha, but we all know that Mocha is a staunch supporter and ally of the President since the campaign.


SEC. ANDANAR:  And she has not stopped until now. She continues to be an ally. She continues to be very vocal because those who are opposing the President. At the same time…well, Mocha has a college degree; she’s been in show business for the longest time. And the President saw wisdom in appointing her.

DAVILA: Okay. So wisdom in appointing her. You’ve seen the feedback?



SEC. ANDANAR: Of course, you know, Karen, half of the world could be laughing at your joke, and half of the world could not be laughing at your joke. It’s always said—

DAVILA: But at the end of the day, you believe that she is qualified?

SEC. ANDANAR: I believe that she is qualified and the President has the confidence and trust in her.

DAVILA: Okay. Alright, we’ll go back to the ‘Leni Leaks’ issue. I have with me here copies of the statement of Loida Lewis, if you can put it on screen so Secretary can react to it. She says in this one: first, there is no plot to oust Duterte. The Duterte Resign Movement is based on President Duterte’s own words that he would resign if drugs are still rampant six months after his inauguration.

SEC. ANDANAR: But didn’t Ms Lewis also hear or watched the news when the President asked for an extension. Is it very difficult to understand, Ms. Lewis.

DAVILA: Okay. Second, she says, the Global Filipino Diaspora Council is a public space. So in a way, she admits that that space exists?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s a public space and it’s utter stupidity for them not to close the group.

DAVILA: So she says Leni has never been a member of that space?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yes, that’s a very, very—the possibility is very high.

DAVILA: Okay. Number 3: She says dissent is not equivalent to a plot or conspiracy?

SEC. ANDANAR: Loida Lewis is a lawyer. She can play with her words.

DAVILA: So you believe—are you saying that you believe that she is behind a plot?

SEC. ANDANAR: I am not saying I believe that. We are investigating this, but definitely, Ms Lewis’s name has been circulating, she’s been very conspicuous in…well supporting, number one, the opposition and conspicuous also in not supporting this administration.

DAVILA: All right, now she says, it’s unfortunate that some members of President Duterte’s Cabinet have a low threshold of tolerance for dissent and criticism?

SEC. ANDANAR: It is also unfortunate that we have a billionaire in the Philippines named Loida Lewis who keeps on stoking a fire for people to go against the administration and thinking that we have President who is in it for change, wants to change the country and majority of the Filipinos believed. And too bad you candidate lost, Ms Lewis

DAVILA:  All right, it is Bongbong Marcos she says who is creating the political instability, causing destabilization with his refusal to accept defeat from Leni Robredo?

SEC. ANDANAR:  Mr. Marcos, Senator Marcos, has all the right to a protest and it’s in the Constitution and it’s in the electoral process that if you lose in an election, you can always go and  protest.

DAVILA:  Okay. But Martin, does the Cabinet have a low threshold for dissent and criticism? 

SEC. ANDANAR: No, not really. In fact the President said that we wish them, I wish them all the success.

DAVILA: Meaning, sige kung kaya nila…parang ganoon.

SEC. ANDANAR:  You know, all of these Filipino-Americans who are really—if ever…if they are really part of this and they are doing all of this campaign against the President and media propaganda. Simple lang naman ho eh, umuwi kayo ng Pilipinas and you do it here, harapan, wag n’yong gawin na talikuran and the same time relaxing in the comforts of your home in the United States, maybe somewhere. You know, you have to be here, there are hundred million Filipinos in the Philippines who are going through and who are helping the President change this country. And if you cannot accept defeat that your candidate lost, then I’m sorry. We just have to respect the electoral process, we have to respect the mandate given to the President, and he is the President now and he has been doing good for the last six months. And if you keep on saying negative things about the President, destroying the name of the President outside this country, then you were doing disservice to the   nation.

DAVILA: Now Martin, what I find interesting was…didn’t Loida Lewis visit the President at one point?

SEC. ANDANAR: Well, ang tawag diyan kaplastikan.

DAVILA: No, but there was an audience right?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, there was an audience and then she wrote something good and now, then she says one thing, she says another thing. Kaplastikan eh.

DAVILA: So the President saw her. Do you remember that meeting?

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah. I was there. I was there is Davao City

DAVILA: So was the President warm, I’m curious, what was discussed in that meeting?

SEC. ANDANAR: The possible—it was introducing the Filipino-American Business Chamber in Davao City.

DAVILA: All right. And then, as she denies that Robredo was with her in the US. She says fake news is rampant.

SEC. ANDANAR: Well, maybe. I wasn’t in New York City. I don’t know if—I don’t even know if the Vice President was with her, whatever. But the fact is if Ms Lewis has some issues with this government, why don’t she just come here… and go back to Manila, go home to the Philippines. Malacanang is open to you, we can talk to you, and tell us your beef against this government.

DAVILA: Okay, now another important issue that the Philippines will be facing, which was supposed to be our real topic this morning. We were just overtake it by events from the Cabinet meeting is that the Philippines will be hosting ASEAN in 2017 and you have launched a campaign that speaks to everyone – all walks of life in government, media, civil society, academe to make sure that ASEAN is more inclusive. What would the difference be?

SEC. ANDANAR: So, this is the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN and all of the countries that we visited, the President visited last year—

DAVILA: He clearly prioritized on ASEAN.

SEC. ANDANAR: Yeah, warmly welcomed the President and with the President’s independent foreign policy which is really is very part of the ASEAN way.  Now, that we are the chairman, we can show to the world, Karen, that we Filipinos are disciplined, we have plans, orderly and we can show to them why the Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In fact second in Asia. So what’s the difference between ASEAN now and ASEAN before, every time na may ASEAN Summit mas nagiging united po iyong ASEAN. 630 million population, 2.5 trillion dollars worth of business going around ASEAN and we Filipinos can take advantage of this market.

DAVILA:  I’ve done many forums on ASEAN overseas and the problem that many feel with ASEAN is the fact that by names it sounds good, but it was nothing like the European Union in terms really of…you know what I mean, in terms even of job exchange, trade, the cultures aren’t so different. Number one, we are divided by sea, you have the EU that’s just essentially divided by land. So how would the Philippines benefit from ASEAN under President Duterte’s term?

SEC. ANDANAR: The President is activating the BIMP-EAGA?

DAVILA: What would that be?

SEC. ANDANAR: That is Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines Economic Gateway, which is really in the south.

DAVILA: Which was not prioritized in the past.

SEC ANDANAR: It was prioritized President Ramos.

DAVILA: Then it slowed down.

SEC. ANDANAR: Then pakontii ng pakonti, pa slow down ng pa- slow down. So that is also one of the objectives of this government.

DAVILA: And what would that gateway gave us?

SEC. ANDANAR: The gateway would give us—you know, the proximity between Sulu and Zamboanga and Malaysia and Indonesia it cannot be denied. So imagine if you have a peaceful region and the seas are controlled or the peace in the Sulawesi and Sulu Seas is maintained then you would have—

DAVILA: More business.

SEC. ANDANAR: More business, trading. We are opening a RORO from that area going to Indonesia.  There are so much potential, Karen. Because you know only 24% of the population of ASEAN basically have a basic knowledge of the ASEAN. So our role in the PCOO is to ensure that at least after 11 months we have more than 24% who will have basic knowledge of ASEAN – how can we take advantage of this, paano, si Maria, si Jose, si Pepe papaano sila kumita dito sa ASEAN.

Now there are few things. For example, in the ASEAN integration, there are specific universities they are accredited in the ASEAN region. Now if you are an OFW and then your son, your children, would want to go overseas in an ASEAN region where he would want to work. Then if you know the universities na accredited, then you go to that university and you take a diploma na accredited doon sa bansa na iyon…this is just a few of the advantages that we get.

DAVILA: So you also said that you want to adopt a people centered approach for ASEAN?

SEC. ANDANAR: People centered approach – this is the main theme, one of the five main communication themes of the ASEAN. It means that the Summit will also focus on programs that will improve the health care of the women, the elderly, the marginalized. That is what it means when you say that people oriented and people centered.

DAVILA: Okay, are we ready for ASEAN?

SEC. ANDANAR: We are ready for ASEAN. The kick off is this coming January 15.

DAVILA: It’s on Sunday in Davao.

SEC. ANDANAR: In Davao City.

DAVILA: So what happens in the kick off?

SEC. ANDANAR: It’s a launch, it’s just a launch. The Secretaries will be there, members of the Cabinet, some members of the Diplomatic Corps will be there and it will be the day after Prime Minister—or two days after Prime Minister Abe leaves for Sydney. And then after that there will be more than a hundred ministerial seminars and mini summits around the country and then three major summits – April, August and November.

DAVILA:  Will President Duterte be inviting Donald Trump.

SEC. ANDANAR: He already invited President-elect Donald Trump.

DAVILA: And did he say yes?

SEC. ANDANAR: And President-elect Donald Trump said that he will check his schedule and get back to the President.

DAVILA: I’m curious, this maybe a little—I mean of course, ASEAN you have its member countries but then you do invite other heads of state. Will you be inviting the Russian—will you be inviting Putin?


DAVILA:  Because clearly you are seeing there’s a more cordial, there’s more warmth.

SEC. ANDANAR: It could be either, Vladimir Putin or Medvedev, the Prime Minister.

DAVILA: So definitely, you will see the US, Russia and I’m assuming China?

SEC. ANDANAR: Canada, China, who else, Australia, Japan, New Zealand.

DAVILA: Okay, all right on that note. Thank you very much, Secretary Martin Andanar.

SOURCE: NIB Transcription