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    Interview with OVP Spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez at the #RespetoNaman Anniversary Media Fika

    #RespetoNaman Anniversary Media Fika

    Swedish Ambassador’s Residence, Forbes Park, Makati City

    TV5: Your reaction doon sa mga naging statement ni Pangulo?

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Una, nagugulat kami kung saan nanggagaling ito. Tingin ko, kung galing sa mga advisers niya itong mga impormasyon na si VP Leni ay nakikipag-usap o nagbibigay ng implikasyon sa mga foreign groups na nag-iimbestiga ng human rights, eh maling-mali ito at napaka-iresponsable noong mga staff at advisers ni Pangulo na nagbibigay sa kaniya ng impormasyong ito.

    Sa dulo kasi, hindi nakakatulong iyong ganiyang klaseng mga maling impormasyon. Bibigyan mo, tapos sa huli ang hihina iyong kampanya natin laban sa iligal na droga.

    Para malinaw, dalawang grupo pa lang ng mga hindi Pilipino ang nakausap ng ating Bise Presidente mula nang siya ay tumayo bilang tagapamuno nitong ating kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. Iyong una, iyong mga kinatawan ng UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Pangalawa, iyong mga kinatawan ng US Embassy—so kasama dito iyong FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, miyembro ng State Department, USAID. At para malinaw, lahat ng mga grupong ito—iyong UNODC, at iyong mga ahensiya ng US government—bago pa ma-appoint si VP Leni eh kaugnay na iyan ng ICAD. Tumutulong iyan at patuloy ang suporta nila sa ating pamahalaan, lalo na doon sa kampanya laban sa iligal na droga.

    So hindi namin alam kung saan nanggagaling itong ideya na mayroon siyang kinakausap na enemies of the state daw, o na siya daw ay nag-imbita ng prosecutor ng Human Rights Commission, hindi ko alam kung ano iyon. Pawang kasinungalingan iyan. May nagbibigay ng maling impormasyon sa ating Pangulo, at sana maayos ito ng ating mga opisyal ng Malacañang, dahil gaya nga ng sabi ko, sa dulo, kung hindi magkakaroon ng tamang impormasyon na makukuha ng ating Pangulo eh ikakahina iyan ng ating kampanya laban sa iligal na droga.

    Pero si VP Leni naman, tuloy lang sa kaniyang trabaho. Anuman ang sinasabi ng ibang mga opisyal, o anuman iyong sinasabi na dapat i-restrict iyong access niya sa impormasyon, o dapat hanggang dito lang umabot iyong kaniyang ginagawa, eh handa naman niyang tanggapin iyon. Malinaw naman sa kaniya na itong tinanggap niyang hamong ito eh hindi magiging madali, at basta siya, nakatutok sa trabahong puwede niyang magawa.

    ABS-CBN: Sir, the President himself said that he cannot trust the Vice President. Do you think somehow that they miscalculated the Vice President? Because obviously naman, the first time this was offered to her, it seemed that it was not serious… But she accepted it. So somehow, do you think there was a miscalculation on the part of the administration as far as how VP Leni would be handling this assignment?

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, ako kasi, ayaw ko nang isipin kung ano pa iyong pinagmulan nito. Noong una kasi, hindi rin namin pinapansin dahil wala namang papel. But when they reduced it into an actual written designation, she had no choice but to actually take it seriously and, you know, the rest is history. Now, whether that was a miscalculation on their part, tingin ko is beside the point.

    But if they had known the Vice President, even a little, they should have know that she is the kind of person that when she accepts a job, she will do everything within her power to do it well. And we’ve seen that in the last two weeks, the Vice President has been a whirlwind of activity—taking various meetings, doing various visits, doing inspections, doing consultations, trying to understand and reconcile iyong iba’t ibang conflicting data on the drug war—because that’s the kind of person that she is.

    Doon sa the President not trusting her, well, gaya nga noong sinabi niya, “kung hindi mo pala pinagkakatiwalaan ako, eh bakit mo ako in-appoint, ‘di ba?” The point is, it was the President who made this offer, he was the one who extended the designation. The Vice President never asked for this. So, you know, it’s something that they have to deal with now.

    ABS-CBN: Pero how long does the Vice President intend to stay? Or is it just a matter of time before she resigns?

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: The Vice President will stay so long as she still has a job to do. Sinabi naman niya kahapon eh: “Kung gusto nila akong tanggalin, eh ‘di diretsuhin na nila, ‘di ba?” But she will not resign kung ang gagawin lang ay papahirapan siya o haharangan siya. She made it very, very clear when she accepted this designation two weeks ago na despite warnings by close allies, by experts observing the proceedings, that she would not be allowed to succeed, that obstacles will be put in her way, sabi niya, “handa akong tiisin ito, if it means I am given the opportunity na makatulong, if it means being able to save even just one life.” So the Vice President’s priorities are clear. She expected this to be difficult. She expected that there will be some level of lack of cooperation na mangyayari. And she’s prepared to still do her job despite that.

    Sa akin naman, the solution is very easy. If they want her out, then kick her out. The President has always had the authority to limit her mandate, the President has always had the authority to remove her, so kung gusto niya, diretsuhin na natin. Huwag na tayong paligoy-ligoy pa.

    ABS-CBN: Pero hindi ba embarrassing iyon sa Presidente if he removes her after only two weeks?

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, that’s really a problem that they have to confront. Pero iyon nga iyong sinasabi namin dito—hindi naman hiningi ito ni VP, binigay ninyo. Ngayon, kung gusto niyo nang tanggalin, gawin ninyo, magpakatotoo kayo. Iyon lang naman iyong dito eh. Natatawa ako dito na ang daming sinasabi about not trusting the Vice President, but at the end of the day, the Vice President has been the one who has been the most honest and forthright dito sa usaping ito. Si VP, diretsong tao iyan. Diretsong kausap. So kung talagang ayaw nila, sabihin nilang diretso. Huwag nang daanin sa fake news, o kumbaga, paintriga.

    TV5: How is she going to do the job, Sir? Kasi parang wala pa yatang scope o dahil sinasabi na iyong ibang information hindi sa kaniya ibibigay. Papaano po iyong iniisip ni VP—

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Right now, she’s meeting with the different ICAD agencies, and kaklaruhin ko lang—a lot of the ICAD agencies have been very open and have been very cooperative. So she’s fixing kung ano iyong tamang impormasyon.

    Bakit mahalaga iyon? Kasi we have to understand saan tayo nanggagaling eh, exactly how big the problem that needs to be resolved is. Ang isa kasing lumalabas sa mga initial meetings with the VP with the members of ICAD is walang makapagsabi actually gaano kalaki talaga iyong problema natin sa iligal na droga. Ilan na ba talaga iyong user? Ilan na ba talaga doon sa mga nahuli ang user, ilan iyong pusher? Gaano kalaki ba iyong supply ng droga na kailangan talaga nating pigilin dito, para tuluyang matigil itong pagpasok ng droga dito sa ating bansa? So these are the questions that need to be answered, dahil sa dulo, iyan ang susukat din kung tayo ba ay nagtatagumpay dito sa ating kampanyang ito, o walang nangyayari. So iyan iyong kaniyang inaayos ngayon.

    And, you know, a lot of the information hindi naman dapat sikreto. Although kahapon, to be clear, she met with Director General of PDEA, Aaron Aquino, before her meeting with the Dangerous Drugs Board. He was already offering to show her supposedly iyong mga lists nga ng high-value targets, and it was the Vice President who said “huwag na muna, dahil kahapon, sabi ng Presidente, i-limit daw iyong aking access. Sumulat na ako sa kaniya, humingi ako ng klaripikasyon, hintayin na natin.” Kasi si VP naman has… hindi mag-i-insist iyan. She will try to do her job to the best of her ability, to what she can, despite or in spite of whatever constraints o mga obstacles ang ilalagay sa kaniyang harapan. Hindi niya ipipilit iyan; gagawin niya ang trabaho niya, at tingnan na lang natin kung ano ang mangyayari.

    – 30 –

    Posted in Transcripts on Nov 20, 2019