Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Event Press Briefing
Location Jerusalem, Israel

SEC. ROQUE:  Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat at magandang umaga po sa mga miyembro ng Malacañang Press Corps.

Inisyu po ng ating Presidente ang Proclamation No. 572 na nire-revoke po iyong amnestiya na ibinigay kay Senator Trillanes ‘no. Ang rason po ay it is void ab initio dahil unang-una, hindi po nag-apply ng amnesty itong si Senator Trillanes; at pangalawa po, hindi po siya umamin sa kaniyang pagkakasala. We’re talking of three incidents po: Oakwood, Fort Bonifacio and the Peninsula incidents ‘no.

Importante po iyong pag-aamin, dahil ang amnesty po ay is an act of beneficence on the part of the state; buburahin po ang mga pangyayari para walang krimen nangyari, pero kinakailangan umamin po ‘no – at walang ganiyang pag-amin na ginawa po si Senator Trillanes.

Questions, please…

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, may posibilidad po na may kasunod pa po si Senator Trillanes based sa review ng AFP doon sa mga amnesty na ibinigay sa Magdalo soldiers ni dating President Aquino like Congressman Alejano?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well sa ngayon po, ang proclamation ay laban lamang kay Senator Trillanes ‘no. At ang epekto nga sang-ayon dito sa Proclamation 572 mismo, ay mabubuhay lahat iyong mga kaso na nakabinbin laban kay Senator Trillanes.

So, so far po si Senator Trillanes… well, this is without prejudice kasi ang nangyari po talaga and I have experienced also, representing some of them in the past ‘no, talagang ayaw nila umamin at that time kasi hindi nila alam talaga kung magkakaroon sila ng amnesty ‘no at saka iyong ramifications pagdating doon sa careers nila ‘no. Marami sa kanila gusto magkaroon ng honorable discharge, at iyong pag-amin may not be a reason for honorable discharge ‘no.

So—well, the past finally caught up with Senator Trillanes; he is responsible for his current state ngayon. Kung hindi sana niya ginawa iyong Oakwood, kung hindi sana niya ginawa iyong Manila Peninsula, wala po siyang ganitong mga kaso ngayon.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, follow up lang po. Sir, AFP po iyong nag-recommend sa Palasyo for the review ng amnesty?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, I just confirmed with several individuals – this has been in the offing na matagal na ‘no, and it is a combination of both the legal teams and the military establishment reviewing the records of Senator Trillanes.

Now, talaga naman pong – again ‘no, I’ve had experience defending some of them – talaga naman pong issue sa maraming Oakwood iyong pag-amin. At I guess iyong mga panahon na iyon ‘no, eh nasuwerte lang siya na kakampi niya iyong dating Presidente at hindi na nag-insist doon sa literal compliance with the provisions provided for an amnesty ‘no.

Pero iyon nga po ‘no… as act of beneficence, it has to be construed strictly at saka iyong kaso po na cited naman dito ‘no, People versus Vera, explains why iyong admission of guilt is very important ‘no. Because without admission of guilt, hindi naman sisipa iyong act of beneficence na buburahin iyong mga pangyayari na nakalipas.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, of course Senator Trillanes is claiming that this is all about politics, na you want to get back to him.

SEC. ROQUE:  Well unang-una po, siya ang gumawa ng Oakwood, siya ang gumawa ng Manila Peninsula. So there’s nothing political, these are all his acts and dapat lang naman ‘no na panagutan ang mga ginawa ng kahit sino. Hindi naman pupuwede na magbabalot ka ng bomba sa Oakwood; na ite-takeover mo ang Manila Peninsula at wala ka nang pananagutan. It doesn’t work that way.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Pero sir kasi, iyong concept na iyong mga opposition legislators iyong mga nasasampahan ng kaso; after De Lima, ito naman pong si Trillanes.

SEC. ROQUE:  Eh siyempre po, masasampahan ng kaso kung mayroong ginawang paglabag sa batas. Kung mayroon naman pong administration na mga mambabatas na may ginawa silang [labag sa] batas, eh isumbong ninyo po sa amin at kakasuhan din ‘yan ‘no. Pero sa tingin ko naman, walang kaduda-duda na lumabag sa batas itong si Senator Trillanes noong ginawa niya iyong Oakwood at iyong Manila Peninsula.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  But sir—last na lang. How will it affect po iyong Senate considering na dalawa na iyong possible na…[off mic]

SEC. ROQUE:  Wala naman pong epekto dahil alam naman po natin, indipendiyenteng sangay ng gobyerno ang Senado ‘no, at ang desisyon naman po ng Senado ay adopted as a collegial body – meaning, habang naririyan po iyong beinte tres na senador, majority of those present in any meeting provided there is a quorum, will result in a Senate decision.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, what prompted the review of the case of Trillanes?

SEC. ROQUE:  Alam mo, dati na po ito talaga. Two years na ito in the offing, and unang-una hinahanap iyong mga records; they had to make sure na talagang walang application at walang pag-amin itong si Trillanes ‘no. Pangalawa, there was also… kumbaga maximum tolerance being showed to Senator Trillanes ‘no. But in the end, it is the job of the President to implement the laws; and when a grant of amnesty is void ab initio, it’s part of the role of the President to rescind it or declare it as void ab initio.

Of course, puwede naman pumunta sa hukuman si Senator Trillanes kung sa tingin niya mali ang appreciation ng Presidente ‘no. Pero doon sa issue na hindi siya nag-apply, sa issue na hindi siya umamin, tingin ko malinaw na talagang hindi naman niya ginawa ‘yan.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, is the review for the purpose of getting Trillanes jailed? Kasi what is the reason kung bakit bigla na lang or may plano talaga na kalkalin iyong kaso niya.

SEC. ROQUE:  Una po, sinasabi kong hindi nga po biglaan ‘to ‘no, it’s two years in the offing ‘no. There was maximum tolerance shown, but when it was confirmed na talagang walang compliance with the requirements set forth for the amnesty, wala pong alternatibo naman ang Presidente but to execute the laws ‘no. So, trabaho lang po.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Sir the question is, why only Senator Trillanes considering there are a lot them been granted amnesty during the Aquino presidency?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, siguro po ang na-confirm pa lang natin ay si Senator Trillanes ‘no. Pero babalikan po natin ‘yan kasi titingnan po natin kung iyong mga kasama niya ay similarly situated ‘no – and this is without prejudice.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Sir, retroactive ba iyong years in jail… he was out already by six years? So pagka nakulong na ulit siya, may nadagdag ba iyong six years or seven years na nasa labas na siya doon sa kaniyang supposed to be ay jail term?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, you will be credited only for actual time spent in jail. Since hindi naman siya nakulong ng seven years, so wala siyang benefit of the seven years. Pero we’re jumping naman one step ahead, kinakailangan muna hatulan siya ng hukuman ‘no. We will give him his day in court, dahil wala pa naman siyang conviction.

Q:  Sir, hindi po ba kailangan ng concurrence ng House and Senate doon sa revocation, kasi nung grinant iyong amnesty inaprubahan ng Senado?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, our position is hindi po kinakailangan iyan, dahil unang-una, it is the job of the President to implement the law. So, noong nakumpirma po na talagang iyong mga preconditions for a legal amnesty are not present in the case of Senator Trillanes, it is the role and obligation of the Executive na ideklarang void ab initio. Pero gaya ng sinabi ko, Senator Trillanes will have his day in court, not only to prove his innocence on the charges of coup d’état against him, but also on the revocation of the amnesty. I’m sure he will go running to court.

Q:  Kakailanganin pa rin po ba iyon?

SEC. ROQUE:  Alin?

Q:  Iyong concurrence.

SEC. ROQUE:  Sa tingin ko, hindi. In the same way na iyong sa tratado ng ICC, sa tingin namin ay tama na iyong desisyon ng Executive pagdating po dito. Kasi naman ang kinakailangan lang po sa amnesty is concurrence, not consent ano. So, it is still an Executive determination whether a person should be given amnesty at magk0-concur lang ang Kongreso.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQUIRER:  Sir, just to clarify.  So is the Palace denying the order was issued because si Trillanes is the biggest critic of the President right now?

SEC. ROQUE:  We are saying he was given amnesty by President Aquino because of politics and the declaration of void ab initio is based on law and on facts.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQUIRER:  So, legally, can you undo amnesty granted by a former President?

SEC. ROQUE:  We are not undoing; it never was effective, kasi hindi naman niya kinomply iyong mga requirements, iyon po ang ibig sabihin ng void ab initio. There is nothing to undo, because hindi naman siya naging valid from the very beginning.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  So, Secretary, just a clarification, does it mean we are opening all… all cases of amnesty we are opening it to scrutiny?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, we will review the records and we will determine who else did not comply. I know for a fact that many of them complied. Ang nangyari kasi diyan, marami sila sa Oakwood, iyong mga umamin were ostracized heavily by the leadership ‘no. Kasi ang kanilang decision noon, walang aminan ‘no. Pero nasa sa kanila po iyan, titingnan natin kung ilan talaga iyang dapat at it’s up to the President to also decide kung ano ang mangyari diyan.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  So, the Defense department will review all?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well sa tingin ko po, there will be a review and—because this is the President, so it will be reviewed and we will find out kung sino pa iyong mga dapat na ideklara na void ab initio.

CEDRIC CASTILLO/GMA7:  Sir just to be clear, sir parang may nabanggit si SOJ kanina na (off mic)

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, of course, the review of the Duterte administration started during his term. But make no mistake about it ‘no, mula pa po nung time na in-offer sila ng amnesty, kontrobersiyal na po iyang pag-amin at iyong pag-file. Actually, nagulat ako na pati application wala si Senator Trillanes. Ang alam ko lang na controversial noong mga panahon na iyon, kung aamin o hindi; and they did not want na umamin. In fact, iyan yung dahilan kung bakit ilan sa mga Magdalo fell… iyong kumbaga nahiwalay doon sa mainstream  leadership, dahil iyong iba nauna nang umamin, I’m talking of Maestrecampo, I’m talking of Bolo, I’m talking of Gambala, kasi ayaw nila iyong umaamin. Pero that’s a precondition of an amnesty.

CEDRIC CASTILLO/GMA7:  So, sir iyong review was initiated during the previous administration?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, let’s just say that even the previous administration should have known that an application and the admission of guilt are prerequisites for an effective amnesty. 

CEDRIC CASTILLO/GMA7:  Sir, what prompted the Duterte administration to review iyong amnesty and individually lang po ba iyong pagkaka-review sa mga case niya or the whole na?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, as I said earlier, the President’s task is to implement the law, the review has been ongoing. I think even the individuals in the military establishment na nagbigay niyang amnesty knew that they are lacking requirements. So, it was really only a matter of time before the issue would come out.

Q:  Sir, ano iyong naging basehan ng Palasyo in saying that Senator Trillanes never filed his application.

SEC. ROQUE: Tiningnan po talaga nila iyong records.

Q:  But there were numerous media reports or there was—for us there was video in 2011 that Trillanes filed his application and that he said that in filing his application form he signed the sections that stated that they were agreeing to their general admission of guilt.

SEC. ROQUE: Well, ito po, nandito na rin sa proclamation na na-isyu. Meron pong certification si Lt. Col. Andrade, Chief Discipline Law and Order Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, stating that there is no available copy of his application for amnesty in the records.

Q:  So nawawala, sir, iyong copy?

SEC. ROQUE:  Well, ang alam po namin, wala; hindi siya nawawala.

Q:  How would you explain itong video na mga media—because media networks are unearthing iyong kanilang mga file and there are indeed videos of Trillanes filing his application form?

SEC. ROQUE:  Hindi ko po alam iyan, basta we are relying on official records and there is no substitute for that. And importante rin iyong pag-amin ha. I think—until now, hindi naman aamin talaga si Senator Trillanes na may ginawa siyang paglabag sa batas.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQUIRER:  So, are you saying that the previous administration is at fault here, because they just gave him amnesty that would allow him not to apologize?

SEC. ROQUE:  Let say that the amnesty granted to him was political; he was friendly with the previous administration that is why he was granted amnesty, without compliance with the requirements set by law. 

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQUIRER:  So they were aware that hindi nag-comply doon sa requirements?

SEC. ROQUE:   I believed so. I think it was the political accommodation on the part of the previous administration.

FE ALIÑO/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Will there be an arrest po?

SEC. ROQUE: In due course, because the case will have to be revived. There is no double jeopardy, dahil wala pa naman trial on the merits and there was no decision on guilt or innocence. So, the information has to be re-filed and the whole thing has to proceed again. There has to be a determination na tuloy na naman ang kaso and a warrant of arrest will have to be issued again by a court.

FE ALIÑO/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Who will issue that?

SEC. ROQUE:  It is the Court. In our scheme of government, it is only the courts that can issue warrant of arrest for the crime of coup d’état. Now, although Proclamation 572 also says that this will revive administrative charges as well ‘no, I’m not too knowledgeable about court martial proceedings, but it is very clear under our existing rules that liability for coup d’état is separate and distinct from court martial proceedings. So, it is without prejudice to military tribunal asserting their jurisdiction over the person of Senator Trillanes.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN:   Sir, kailangan po bang mag-isyu pa ang DOJ ng hold departure order or watch list order para po mapigilan kung sakaling umalis si Trillanes po? 

SEC. ROQUE: Well, kinakailangan po na mag-isyu ng—sa rules ‘no, mayroon na po ngayong bagong rules na in-apruba ng ating Korte Suprema. Pero in the case of Trillanes, nakasampa naman po iyan sa kaso. It will have to be revived ‘no. So pending actual revival pupuwede pong mag-apply iyong ating mga piskalya ng order sa Korte ‘no, iyong under the new rules of the Supreme Court na they can petition a Court now to… iyong preventive hold departure order na tinatawag.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, in case po ding maaresto si Senator Trillanes, ano po iyong—pinaghahandaan ba ng Palasyo iyong maaaring maging setback nito o magiging epekto nito sa political climate po ng bansa?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pong epekto ito because this is just enforcing the law.

ROSE/HATAW: Halimbawa po iyong—halimbawa may mga pagkilos laban sa gagawing pag-aresto kay Trillanes, mapaghahandaan po ba ito ng pamahalaan?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi naman po kailangang paghandaan iyan. Talaga naman pong handa ang ating administrasyon na ipatupad ang ating batas. No one is above the law; and just because someone became senator, cannot remove the fact that he committed serious breaches—capital offenses of our penal laws.

ROSE/HATAW: Sir, iyong mga—halimbawa po kilos protesta po, halimbawang may mga grupong maglunsad bilang pagtutol doon sa napipintong pag-aresto kay Senator Trillanes?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pong problema iyan, maximum tolerance naman po si Presidente pagdating sa freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and he’s proven that.

Q: Sir, kinu-question ni Senator Trillanes iyong timing ng release ng proclamation ngayong nasa Israel daw si Presidente. Sinadya po ba ito, sir?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi po, mas maganda nga sana nasa Pilipinas dahil nakakadepensa ang gobyerno ‘no. Eh ngayon nga pong nandito kami sa Israel limited po ang nasasabi namin sa bagay na ito ‘no, dahil we have to attend to pending matters in connection with the ongoing visit here in Israel. So sa akin po, it’s just coincidence ‘no. Pero it would have been better na nasa Pilipinas para kung todo depensa naman ang estado ‘no. Ngayon ang nagsasalita lang sa Pilipinas si Senator Trillanes.

Q: Sir, what did the President say when he was informed na faulty nga iyong amnesty na ibinigay?

SEC. ROQUE: He did not bat an eyelash. He is a former prosecutor and he knows that anyone who commits a capital offense should be held accountable ‘no to the full extent of the law.

Q: (off mic).

SEC. ROQUE: Absolutely no such concern. Tingin po namin limitado naman ang suporta ng taongbayan na ipinapakita kay Senator Trillanes. Ang dami niyang kasinungalingan na sinasabi na. Wala naman naniniwala sa kaniya. So ito malinaw po sa taong bayan, pinapatupad lang po natin ang ating mga batas.

Q: So ito na lang last. Did the Executive have parang prior information about the amnesty being faulty kaya it was reviewed?

SEC. ROQUE: Gaya ng sinabi ko kanina po, I’m sure pati po iyong nagbigay ng amnesty sa kaniya alam nilang depektibo kasi kulang nga po, ni wala man lang application at ni walang pag-amin ng pagkakasala.

Q: Sir, was Senator Trillanes given the due process—was he make to answer or give his side considering that his case or his amnesty is or was under review?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, in the first place, he did not ask for the amnesty; it was given to him in a silver platter by the previous administration. So when you did not ask for amnesty, you are not entitled to it. When you did not admit to your guilt – which is a pre-condition for amnesty –  then you are not entitled to amnesty. So what’s there to be heard? Amnesty is not a matter of right, it’s an act of beneficence. It’s an act of generosity on behalf of the Executive.

Q: Okay.

Q: (overlapping voices).

SEC. ROQUE: Well, inaasahan po natin na mapipirmahan ang isang kasunduan ‘no para po sa exploration sa panig po ng Pilipinas at ng isang kumpanya dito sa Israel. Ito po ay with Ratio Petroleum Limited and this is in connection with round number 5PECR5 with an area for east of Palawan base ‘no. So inaasahan po nating mapipirmahan itong exploration agreement sa araw na ito ‘no. At ito po ang inaatupag ni Energy Secretary Al Cusi ‘no for the past two days here in Israel.

Q: (overlapping voices).

SEC. ROQUE: Well, it’s another foreign investor helping us explore for energy ‘no in an effort to provide energy security.

Q: Sir, what… sa Palawan—

SEC. ROQUE: I understand it is in Palawan. The area to be granted ‘no… the franchise ‘no, in effect ‘no, will be an area somewhere in Palawan as well.

Q: Sir, there are businessmen here in Israel who have signified that they will boycott the business forum later because of President Duterte’s previous remark and there—can you comment on that sir?

SEC. ROQUE: That’s truly regrettable, because we think the Philippines is one of the best investment destinations. Pero makikita naman po natin mamaya, it will be a standing room only for the business forum. We will miss those who will not attend but I’m sure interest amongst investors to invest in the Philippines remains at an all-time high.

Q: Sir, how much are we talking about doon sa exploration?

SEC. ROQUE: Wala pa siyempre dahil exploration pa lang ito, but anyway siguro po in Jordan, when it’s signed, it we will be issue copies of the signed document.

Q: Sir, how about arms deal?

SEC. ROQUE: I cannot confirm until it actually happens because it’s not in the schedule. But if it does happen I’ll have to tell you because that’s the essence of freedom of information.

Q: Sir, iyon po bang arms deal ay government to government?

SEC. ROQUE: Hindi ko po alam because this is not even in the schedule. So I’m reiterating, I cannot confirm something that is not in the schedule. But if it happens, I’m bound by rules of the law on ethical conduct to make it public ‘no.

Q: Sir, may persistent rumors mayroon siyang medical checks dito sa Israel?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, nakikita ninyo naman si Presidente ‘no. Nakikita ninyo naman ang schedule, medyo busy iyong ating schedule. Ngayong araw na ito whole day na naman siya. Mayroong pag-uusap sa Presidente ng Israel, tapos mamayang hapon ay mayroon ng visit with the counterpart of the diamond… you know, movement… the Red Diamond Movement, and then mamaya ay mayroon pa ring isang schedule. So we have two schedules in the afternoon and one schedule in the morning. So it’s been a hectic schedule for the President. Hindi ko alam kung kailan siya pupunta noong… hindi umano na medical consultation and hindi ko din alam why he would come here for medical reasons.

Q:  Sir, could you explain especially for those who are not familiar with how the President works iyong massive holes daw doon sa schedule ni President like he is free in the morning and all the activities are in the afternoon?

SEC. ROQUE: Well, I think it’s—you know just to enable him to have sufficient time to rest ‘no; and for the delegation also ‘no, sufficient time to rest and have a little time to see some of the Holy Land para naman ang media makaikot din o ‘di ba.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. ROQUE: Maraming salamat po. Thank you.

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Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)

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