Press briefing by PNoy on Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez, Maguindanao and Agusan del Sur, and other topics

Press briefing by President Benigno S. Aquino III:
On the order to dismiss Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez, the situations in Maguindanao and Agusan del Sur, value added tax, and fuel subsidy
MalacaƱan Palace
April 4, 2011; 10:30 hrs. EST
Mr. Noynoy AquinoImage via WikipediaQ: Sir, hindi daw po ii-implement ng Office of the Ombudsman ‘yung order to dismiss Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez. Can we get a reaction, sir?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Well, technically, mayroon pa yatang period for a motion for reconsideration. It hasn’t lapsed. Entitlement niya rin to file it. Pero once that is done, and absent any order stopping us by the court, then we will proceed with it.
Q: So, sir, kung mag-aapeal na po siya and pending the decision, do you think he should step down, or stay put din po muna siya sa office?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Well, he has an entitlement to have a motion for reconsideration filed, so we will wait for the process. There is a deadline, and, if so warranted, then we will enforce the law.
Q: Sir, are you already considering a replacement for him?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Siguro that is premature at this point in time that there is no vacancy … . Until the process is completed.
Q: Sir, can we have your directive doon sa recent happening sa Maguindanao, and also sa Agusan, ‘yung kidnapping po?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: ‘Yung sa Maguindanao, I was just talking to the [Secretary of National Defense] just a few minutes ago. I was asking for an update. Initially, parang it seems to be stemming from a rido—‘yung family feud. And I’m waiting for a more detailed report from them, but they tell me that they are on top of the situation. Now, ‘yung sa hostage taking, what I got last night was there were two hostages that were ostensibly freed. The local CMC [crisis management committee] is on top of the situation, and General Bacalzo and a couple of other officers are on the way to Agusan to check on the situation—not to take over but rather, just to make sure that the item on the CMC is being implemented and followed.
Q: Sir do you think the Philippines is due for another credit rating upgrade, kasi last week your economic managers met with representatives from Fitch Ratings?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Alam mo Joel, mayroon tayong kasabihan sa Pilipinas: “Baka maudlot.” Kung puwede quiet na muna ako diyan. Let us count the chicks when they are hatched.
Q: Sir, pero given ‘yung mga reform measures natin, especially on the economy, are we hoping na maa-upgrade ‘yung credit ratings natin?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Again, baka naman malasin pa o baka positive news iyan, kaya quiet na lang ako diyan, sorry. Ask me by next week, baka naman there is a very good development.
Q: Sir, Congressman Mandanas is urging you to certify as urgent ‘yung bill to cut VAT into 6 percent. Are you amenable to that?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: Kaya namin iminumungkahi ‘yung transport assistance, dahil feeling namin mas directed. Directed doon sa kumukonsumo, number one; directed doon sa mga pasahero na magkakaroon ng dagdag na bayad sa pamasahe kung hindi natin i-implement ito. ‘Yung pag-reduce ng VAT o pagtanggal ng VAT gagawin mong undirected, ‘yung parang wala talagang focus. So, again, tulad ng sinabi ko noong isang araw, paniwala ko diyan ay madadagdagan lang iyong konsumo natin ng krudo na’y walang takdang pakinabang. Mawawalan pa tayo ng revenue sa gobyerno na siya namang magagamit sa iba’t ibang bagay na pangangailangan po ng Estado. So ‘pag binawasan natin iyan, magandang pakinggan, pero at the end of the day mukhang ‘yung directed focus na ginagawa natin doon sa transport assistance ang pinakamagandang paraan para maibsan ‘yung pagbulusok ng presyo ng kurudo.
Q: Sir, are there considerations to expand the coverage of the fuel subsidy?
PRESIDENT AQUINO: There have been proposals. We will look into it. The fisher folk, for instance, seem to be worthy. But, ang issue lang dito … sa transport kasi maliwanag: ‘yung mga prangkisa, more or less, masisigurado nating mapupuntahan ‘yung dapat mapuntahan. Hindi ako ganoon ka-sure [na] ‘yung mga nagpapatakbo ng farm implements, kung paano natin idi-direct para walang double counting, walang double registration. Sa fishermen ganoon din. I’m not that sure how thorough the coverage of the Coast Guard is with regard to registration. That is being studied at the present time.