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    Interview with Atty. Barry Gutierrez at CNN’s The Source

    Interview with Atty. Barry Gutierrez at CNN’s The Source
    CNN’s The Source


    PINK WEBB: Three incumbent government officials announced their push for an all women, RoSa tandem for 2022 launched in Cagayan De Oro on Monday. The group says it is endorsing Leni Robredo for President and Sara Duterte for Vice President. Organizers of the RoSa 2022 Movement are confident that Robredo and Duterte could work together as a team and their being women and mothers, would spell the difference in their governance. Let's go straight to the source of the story. We have Vice President Leni Robredo's spokesperson, Attorney Barry Gutierrez. Attorney Gutierrez, welcome back to The Source. Again, thank you for your time.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Good morning Pinky. I'm happy to be here.

    PINKY WEBB: Okay. Were you at all told, nagpaalam ho ba sa inyo sina Congressman Joey Salceda, Mayor Beng Climaco, and Congressman Rufus Rodriguez about RoSa?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, you know. It's not as if they asked permission. We were informed shortly before they made the announcement that they will be holding a public event to actually declare their support for this tandem. So, it was more an FYI, more than anything else.

    PINKY WEBB: Hindi paalam.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Hindi paalam.

    PINKY WEBB: Just letting you know.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Yes.

    PINKY WEBB: And what is the reaction of the Vice President?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, we're still very thankful for their support for her, obviously. They were among the first incumbent public officials to actually declare their support for VP Leni, and she will always be grateful for that. But her position on this matter has been very, very clear from the start. Her running mate, ang kanyang ka-tandem ay si Senator Kiko Pangilinan, and she will be pushing for his election as Vice President. She will not be campaigning for any other candidate.

    But you know, that said, it's the reality of Philippines politics and our electoral system that we do not vote for a president and a vice president in tandem. So, there will always be people who will choose a different configuration. But insofar as the Vice President herself is concerned and her campaign is concerned, our Vice Presidential bet is Senator Kiko and that will never change.

    PINKY WEBB: So, you have– do you think that Vice President Leni Robredo and Mayor Sara can actually work together? Have you given this any thought on what they could possibly or how they could possibly complement each other?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, the Vice President has also been very clear regardless of who is elected and of course right now we are doing everything in our power to ensure that that will be Senator Kiko Pangilinan who takes his oath as Vice President come June 30 of this year. But regardless of who gets elected, she will be willing to work with the person who the people choose as the vice president. She's made it very clear. She has had first hand experience with being a Vice President who is an outsider looking in. Someone who has been excluded from the day-to-day workings of government because of, you know, the political configuration. And definitely that's not something she wants to happen to the next vice president.

    PINKY WEBB: Yeah, she said that in a couple of interviews, I believe also in my interview. But I wanna go back to my question, is there anything you see between the two women that they could actually complement each other if they win?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: I think that given their record of service in government, they might have different styles. But at the end of the day, both of them have proven that they have what it takes to actually perform as effective public servants. So you know, I don't think there will be a problem. Being Vice President, after all, to a large extent means being able to find a niche where you can be most effective. And definitely, the Vice President has been very open to the idea that whoever gets elected vice president–if it's Mayor Sara then its Mayor Sara–she will work with her to find a niche where she will be most effective in contributing her own talents and her own experiences to government.

    PINKY WEBB: Isn't it ironic though that you have Robredo running as an independent but obviously a strong voice of the opposition, very critical of some of the programs of President Rodrigo Duterte, Sara's father. How do you actually reconcile this?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, she has been very, very clear again in times where she felt that it was important to be the contrary or dissenting voice on a particular issue, she has spoken out. But in times when it has been possible to actually cooperate and to find common ground, then she has also been willing to do that. And in talking about specific policies of the current administration, she has followed that particular guide post. So, she has been critical for example on certain aspects of COVID response, she has been critical with respect to certain aspects of the implementation of the drug war, but she has also expressed her support for things like Build Build Build, the infrastructure program, or with respect to the Malasakit Centers, the emphasis on providing health care down to the barangay level. So, that's been her approach. So, I don't think it's really going to be a problem. It's always going to be possible to find common ground. It's always going to be possible to work on issues that you have agreements on to the benefit of the people.

    PINKY WEBB: But what do you think of this because there's RoSa which is basically Robredo and Sara, and then there's Isko and Sara as well. At the end of the day, when you actually look at it, it seems that it's Mayor Sara, who is by the way still number one in the Pulse Asia surveys, who will end up benefiting on vote counts, whether it is Isko-Sara because it's still Sara, or RoSa because it's still Sara, and then there's BBM and Sara.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, if you only look at the particular tandems being pushed where she is Vice President, then yes. But I have also seen configurations where other vice presidential candidates are matched with other presidential candidates. And as I said, that's you know, typical in a system like ours, where the President and the Vice President are not elected in tandem. There will always be people, there will always be groups, there will always be endorsers who will choose a different configuration, for whatever reason: personal ties to one or more of the candidates, personal preference or what not. But you know, that's something we've always had and I don't think it's particularly unusual for this election.

    PINKY WEBB: While of course, the President and the Vice President that will be chosen will be the will of the people, would you say the Vice President, in case she wins ha, would be comfortable–and we already stated the fact that she's still and will always be endorsing Kiko Pangilinan–but would she be comfortable with Sara Duterte as her Vice President, again, if she wins?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, again, she would always prefer that she'll be working with the Vice Presidential bet of her choice, and that is really Senator Kiko. But she's had a very very realistic attitude towards elections and public service in the past. After all, in 2016, she was elected as Vice President and the person elected as President was not the– her Presidential bet of choice. Again, it was a mixed slate that got elected in 2016, so she's used to it. At the end of the day, when you're there, both of you were elected, both of you have a mandate, she's very clear, we will do what it takes. So, if it means working with somebody who's not your first choice, then we'll find a way, it's not really a question of personal comfort, it's not a question of personal preference. It's a question of what needs to be done at that point. And if there's anything that the VP has proven in the last six years, she will always do what needs to be done in order to provide the best service for the Filipino people.

    PINKY WEBB: And she will work with whoever is elected as Vice President if she's elected as President.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Definitely. Sabi nga niya 'di ba? Parang ayokong mangyari sa akin 'yung- doon sa susunod sa akin 'yung –

    PINKY WEBB: Nangyari sa kanya.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: 'Yung nangyari sa kanya.

    PINKY WEBB: Opo. Okay but we need to take a very short break. This is The Source on CNN Philippines. Please stay tuned.

    [BREAK 10:52 - 12:02]

    PINKY WEBB: And you're watching The Source on CNN Philippines. Our source today, Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez. Attorney, just wanted to ask you, so you know, a number of politicians supporting Vice President Leni Robredo, as mentioned a while ago, with RoSa that was launched by Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, Joey Salceda, and Mayor Beng Climaco. Are there any other politicians who will express their support for the Vice President?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well we do expect that there will be other leaders at the local level who will come out, in the next few weeks to declare support for her. So you know, it's just a matter of time for them to actually publicly declare their support. But definitely that's coming.

    PINKY WEBB: Okay. But is there anyone– because I know that you said they are local leaders, anybody na medyo, pasensya na sa tanong, pero 'yung matunog ang pangalan or ano na lang, nakakagulat, na you know, it will surprise people that this person is actually going to support the Vice President.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well there are a lot of conversations– [crosstalk]

    PINKY WEBB: Even without naming this person.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: – going on I'm not really at liberty to pre-empt anything that might happen in the next few weeks. But definitely, I will say there might be some big developments happening in the last seven weeks of this campaign.

    PINKY WEBB: The last seven weeks of the campaign, but how soon?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, as I said, these are ongoing conversations so we'll see.

    PINKY WEBB: Is a presidential candidate backing out? Is that a hint of some sort that possibly a Presidential candidate may back out?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well again, you know, I don't want to pre-empt anyone. You know how Philippine elections and politics are, there are always– there's always room for major developments happening in the course of the campaign. So, I guess we just have to see in the last seven weeks, what's going to happen.

    PINKY WEBB: Okay, I just want to go quickly to PasigLaban. Vice President Robredo personally slammed fake news na nagka-bayaran ulit. But just going back to that, that's the biggest rally so far for the Vice President, at about what, a hundred and thirty thousand? Would my numbers be accurate?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: I think the number released most recently by the PNP was 140, but yes, thereabouts.

    PINKY WEBB: So, biggest rally po yan so far?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Yes, so far.

    PINKY WEBB: And how are seeing-- because even in social media, if you look into social media-- parang nagpapagalingan po 'yung mga nag-susupport kay Vice President Leni Robredo. Kung-- parang dapat dapat mula doon sa huling rally, 'yung susunod mas hihigit pa doon sa previous rally.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, yeah, ang tawag nila the Olympinks, di ba. And I think that, to a certain extent, there has become a sort of a game of oneupmanship among different areas and different groups. Because the thing with the rallies that have happened everywhere—from Bacolod to Iloilo to Cavite and all these other places—is that normally, it’s the local volunteer groups that take the lead in organizing. So, you know, each volunteer group wants to be the one to say that, “We held the biggest rally” so that’s really what’s happening now. And to a large extent, I think, that’s reflective of the energy and the enthusiasm of the campaign, not just a pro forma thing where people will go just to be seen, just to comply, but it’s really a situation where they are excited, they are eager, they are fully invested in this campaign. We saw that.

    PINKY WEBB: I will go a little light on this, ano, because even if we show the video and even on social media, lumalabas ho kasi ‘yung mga placards na very witty, ano po. Just wondering if the Vice President has had any reaction on these placards. ‘Yung iba, “Leni, open-minded ka ba—“ if I’m not mistaken something like “‘yung 18 hours gawin nating 6 years.” Meron pang isa na, “Pulse Asia, where na you? Andito na kami.” How does she react? Does she these—these placards or has she made mention of anything na natutuwa siya kung ano ‘yung naging paborito niya?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, I don’t know if she has a favorite but definitely she sees all these placards. In fact, in some of the rallies she had attended, she had made it a point to read some of them before she actually gave a speech. Hindi nga lang nagawa rito sa Pasig but that’s something she had actually started when big rallies started happening—reading the placards. And definitely, the VP is a voracious— has a voracious appetite for social media so she sees all these things. She’s actually very grateful, and actually, amused by a lot of them. As you said, they’re witty. And you know, she thinks it’s reflective of the energy and creativity of the people’s campaign.

    PINKY WEBB: So, the Vice President also slammed a Facebook user for claiming that her supporters were paid to attend PasigLaban. She even said na, “Abonado pa ang karamihan sa kanila. ‘Wag nating yurakan ang kanilang dignidad.” Just a reaction on that, Sir.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Yes, because this is really something that has been the constant refrain of some of the detractors, trying to minimize the impact and the significance of these rallies saying bayad. But time and again, we have seen people attend these rallies. We have heard the organizers speak. If you go to any of them, you will see the intensity of the excitement. Hindi napipilitan itong mga taong ito, eh. Hindi ito hakot. Talagang kusang nagpunta. And the VP has already spoken on this before. Nakakainsulto na parang tinatawaran mo ‘yung commitment nung mga taong– ‘yung iba sila pa ‘yung gumastos para makapunta dito, sila ang gumastos for the paraphernalia na gagamitin, tapos sasabihin mo na bayad. I think that is what’s most offensive to her, that the energy of the people’s campaign is being—[crosstalk]

    PINKY WEBB: Just to bring this in, though, that is not isolated to the campaign or the rallies for the Vice President Leni Robredo. Kahit po doon sa BBM-Sara Duterte rally, meron din pong mga nagsasalita and are chanting, “Hindi kami bayad.” Ganoon din po ano, eh. So parehong there are allegations or statements made in reference to both rallies kasi parang paramihan po kayo nang paramihan kung sino pong mag-aattend.

    Just a very quick last question, Sir. Some analysts can say that the Vice President has the vote of the A, B, maybe the C, but really lacks with the C, D, and E. What is the plan? Is this something that you need to work on and how?

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Well, to begin with, I don’t think it’s completely— if you look at the survey— accurate to say that she’s weaker in D and E compared to A, B, C. The numbers will show that, you know, by and large, she’s polling more or less the same. Actually she’s doing better in E than in most other classes. So the challenge is really how to translate the energy of these rallies, how to get her message across, not specifically to D and E, although I suppose the emphasis will be there simply because they are more. But you know, across classes, we need to be making sure that our message is getting across, that people are being encouraged to join and support VP Leni, and you know, we have seven weeks to do so.

    PINKY WEBB: All right. Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson, Atty. Barry Gutierrez, Sir. Thank you so much for your time.

    BARRY GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Pinky. Always happy to be here.

    [END]

     

    Posted in Transcripts on Mar 22, 2022