Press Briefing with the President after his statement on the SC’s Status Quo Ante Order

Transcript of the press briefing with President Aquino after delivering his statement on the Supreme Court’s Status Quo Ante Order, October 14, 2010

Q: Sir, do you expect the SC (Supreme Court) to heed your appeal?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: You know we are all in the service of our people. We hope that they will broaden their view and see the implications of this singular act.
Q: Sir, what do you think are the repercussions of SC’s sticking with its own decision?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Hindi naman magiging automatic ‘yan. Lahat ng nagsubok na maging kapit-tuko sa kanilang puwesto, gaganahan na humirit ulit ngayon. So, magkakaroon ng agawan sa puwesto. Habang ika-clarify sa lahat ng mga puwesto kung sino ba talaga dapat ang manungkulan doon, hihinto ang pagtakbo ng gobyerno. Paano natin patatakbuhin ‘yan? Kung saka-sakali naman pong sa inyo magmumula ang lahat ng kaso dahil dito. Tapos ‘yung pinakamasakit siguro niyan, kung saka-sakaling mabalik, ‘yung talagang nag-participate sa mga kuwestiyunableng mga pamamalakad, biglang ipapatuloy na naman nila. Kaya nilagay natin sa speech natin, ‘no? Pinakakonti na doon ang mga ebidensiya. Paano natin madadala sa husgado ‘yung mga taong nagkasala—or, baka magtagumpay pa sila. Hindi pa namin nasisilip, ipagpapatuloy na nila. Kawawa naman ang taumbayan.
Q: What is supposed to be the reckoning period of the midnight appointment? Is [it] the date of the appointment, oath of office or date of release from the Office of the President?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Alam mo hindi naman tayo kailangan pumasok sa ganoong kateknikal, ‘no? Mayroon tayong ebidensiyang tangan na ang deadline, sa pagkakaintindi ko, is March 10. Mayroong mga actions ginawa hanggang March 11 ‘yung mismong paglagda ng mga appointment papers. Mayroon pa yatang lumampas. At ‘yan po hindi haka-haka. Mayroon pong mga ebidensiyang inihain sa atin na kung saan na talagang walang kaduda-duda lumampas doon sa punto na kung saan puwede mag-appoint ang dating Presidente.
Q: Ano po ba supposed to be, the real meaning ng midnight appointment? Ito po ba iyong prescriptive prohibitive period na nasa batas. O eto po ‘yung paniniwala na winawalan mo lang ang power to appoint ang successor?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Kasama po ang dalawang konsepto na ‘yan pero sabi ho sa batas sa isang punto that the President is prohibited from appointing anybody, two months, if I’m not mistaken, prior to elections and up to the end of the term. Marami na rin pong case precedence diyan at iyong pangalawa naman po. Siyempre may courtesy ‘yan, ‘no? Kumbaga caretaker ka na, eh. Nasa proseso na kayo ng pagpapalit ng Presidente. So caretaker ka na dapat ho. Siguro, hinahayaan niyo ‘yung sunod na papalit na makakuha ng mga taong komportable na makakatrabaho mo sa pagtakbo ng bansa. ‘Yun po ang nagiging practice.
Q: Does it include ‘yung appointment sa judiciary?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Na-settle na ata ‘yung kay Chief Justice Carpio (Corona) na dumating bago ang prohibitive period kung tama ang aking pagkakaalala. Pero ‘yun na nga ho, baka technically, sinasabi ho ng word…letter of the law eh natupad, pero iba naman ang sinasabing spirit of the law na sana nasundan pero tapos na ho iyon.
Q: Mayroon din naman mga appointments na nasa Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Courts and Metropolitan Trial Courts na parang after March—
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Hindi pa ho natin ‘yan nahahanap. ‘Yung…siyempre bago tayo magsalita, siguraduhin natin na may proweba tayo na tama ang ating sinasabi para hindi tayo mambola sa taumbayan.
Q: On Justice Corona being a GMA appointee, do you see it as getting back at you doon po sa binigay niya po na amnesty eto pong move po ng SC, sir.
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Sorry, amnesty for what?
Q: ‘Yung binigay niyo po na amnesty. Do you see this as a way of getting back at you?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I don’t think so. I think that is not a related issue. At saka ‘yung amnesty, it is still an ongoing process. I still need the concurrence of Congress, and that hasn’t come yet.
Q: Sir, ilan po ung midnight appointments and would you file for a motion for reconsideration?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: In this attendant case, there are four that got filed, and they decided to execute the status quo ante-order only on one of the four.
Q: Do you think, sir, that these adverse rulings of the SC have something to do with the fact that majority of the SC justices are appointees of the former President?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I’d rather maintain the view that I hold them with respect and I expect them to do what is right for the people.
Q: Ano ho ang laman ng review ng Justice Secretary Leila de Lima sa Morong 43 at ano-ano ho ang magiging aksyon ng Executive dito?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Well, we had a National Security Cluster meeting yesterday. There are issues of—medyo technical nang kaunti—pero bottom line, when you ask for a warrant, there are certain specifics that you have to put in: what do you hope to find, where do you hope to find it. The review basically stated that there was a person that they were going to reserve a warrant of against. That person was not in the resort that was raided. The firearms in particular will fall on me in the general classification. The explosives will be part of the warrant. So, I emphasize to both the Chief of Staff and the Undersecretary, representing the Secretary of DND and General Bacalzo that we who are upholders of the law must be different from those who are outlaws. So, it is a generally accepted principle that—‘yung concept is called daw fruit of the poisoned tree. The evidence wrongly gotten are abused therefore cannot be prosper. However, the matter is before the courts, again nasa jurisdiction nila. ‘Yung courses of action, we would want to rectify the situation, but that will have to undergo a sanction by the courts that have already taken cognizance of the case.
Q: So, kayo na rin makakasabi kung lalaya na sila anytime soon?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Hindi naman puwede iutos ng Executive na lumaya na agad sila without the Court’s side.
Q: Two points on the review of the IIRC report: How are we going to move forward repairing our relationship with China and Hong Kong when the HK government said that they are not satisfied with the results of the review?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: The only thing we can do is to explain how the decision has arrived at that, what are the limitations we have under our system of governance and also our laws. Then beyond that, we will continuously try, but at the end of the day, this report, this fact-finding commission serves the interest of the Filipino people, primarily.
Q: So, we’re not going to change anything just to appease the Hong Kong government?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: That, I think, is a flimsy reason to amend the courses of action we have decided upon. This is not whimsical. We had a review of pertinent laws. We tried to find whether the said laws are applicable to the people accused of failing to do their duties and might as well other things. This is a sum total of the collective wisdom of everybody who participated in the review. We believe this is the proper course of action and these will be the ones that will prosper.
Q: PCIJ has a report na at the time sinubmit sa inyo ung report nung IIRC there is this something to the effect na napatapang yata masyado ‘yung recommendations against U/Sec. Puno, Mayor Lim and General Verzosa.
PRESIDENT AQUINO: The closest, I recall to having that meeting when we were reading the report was I was focusing and I think all the participants who were there—the members of the IIRC, in particular—will attest to the fact that I was discussing the situation  of Col. Yebra ‘yung I felt ‘yung tapang. I said, “Why is Yebra tasked to provide the psychologists? Where can we find that in the manual? Where is he tasked for all the other support units? ‘Yung intelligence in particular. So, tapang would be a wrong word, but I was asking, paano ba ‘yung basis? Kakastiguhin ba natin ang taong ito na hindi niya obligasyon o hindi na mandato niya? If we start from the fact na hindi siya designated chief negotiator by MPD, assuming it’s the negotiators job to provide all of these things, why is he being tasked to answer for all of it when he wasn’t even the negotiator? But beyond that, the negotiator is a sub-unit, the intelligence gathering is also a sub-unit, and so on and so forth. I’m almost sure that 99.5% of the discussion had to deal with the appreciation of one person’s role, in particular, Yebra whether he complied with the mandates given to him.
Q: So, at no point during the review, you did not mention anything about the degree of the culpability of U/Sec. Puno, Mayor Lim and Gen. Verzosa?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: I may have discussed about Puno. I may have asked if Puno is being accused of this. Does it not also fall that Robredo would also be in the same situation being more directly named by the manual? A lot of all of these discussions, we went back. What was the manual called for? Among the salient features were it was a local crisis. The local crisis management committee extensively was set up. ‘Yung idea of when to transmit it to the national is not clear in the manual that is existing at that point in time; therefore, how can you blame, ‘di ba? There was a portion that said the national crisis committee should be on standby—who was tasked to activate that? Who was in power to take it away from the local crisis management committee?
ENDS

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