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    Leni and Kiko on their 2022 senatorial slate, unity, COVID-19 matters Press conference with VP Leni Robredo, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, and Sen. Frank Drilon

    Leni and Kiko on their 2022 senatorial slate, unity, COVID-19 matters

    Press conference with VP Leni Robredo, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, and Sen. Frank Drilon

    Quezon City Reception House

     

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Mara?

    RAPPLER: Good morning, VP, Senator Kiko, and Senator Frank. Mara po from Rappler. VP, very interesting po ang inyong Senate slate, because you know, in a way, former enemies are now allies. Okay, we can see here that former [Vice President] Jejomar Binay, who, you know, has not been exactly friends with the LP in a pre-Duterte era, is now in the same slate as former Senator Antonio Trillanes, who did so much to make sure a Binay presidency won’t happen. And then, of course, Senator Leila de Lima, who has always been an LP stalwart, and you have Dick Gordon who has been, you know, criticized of having enabled all the attacks—of course he has changed his stream since then. So what sort of message about, you know, being a unifying figure and being an inclusive slate are you trying to portray in this Senate slate? And how are you able to pull that off—to really get all these people together? Kasi very unprecedented siya, VP. And maybe Senator Drilon can also answer later.

     

    VP LENI: Oo, malaki iyong tulong sa amin ni Senator Drilon. Actually, Mara, this is just consistent with what we have been pushing for for a very long time already, even during the time that I wasn’t a candidate yet. I wasn’t planning to run yet for the presidency, kabahagi na ito ng ating pinaghihirapan: to unify as many people as possible, coming from diverse backgrounds—hindi lang sa politika, pero paminsan kahit sa paniniwala. Iyong pinaka-panaginip talaga namin—and that’s the reason why I run as an independent—iyong panaginip talaga natin, mailagay sa isang samahan iyong mga handang makiisa. Actually, iyong mga pinili natin na guest candidates, they were among the very first who responded to our call for unity. Na kahit maraming mga pinagdaanan sa ating kasaysayan na hindi pagkakaisa— Hindi ko naman sila ni-regard ever na kaaway eh, pero may mga hindi pagkakasundo sa mga daang tinaha before. Iyong kahandaang makipagkaisa, malaking bagay na iyon. Ang shine-share namin ngayon, iyong aspirations para sa bansa natin. Noong kinausap natin sila, iyong commitment na makinig, iyong commitment na mag-share ng isang lamesa para pag-usapan kung paano magpanday ng mas magandang bukas para sa bansa natin nandiyan. And iyon naman iyong pinaka-mahalaga. Iyong pinaka-mahalaga, lahat natin diniscuss, lahat natin diniscuss, lalo na doon sa mga naunang lima, iyong— Actually, maraming nominees. Maraming nominees to be in the slate. It wasn’t difficult—in fact, kung napapansin niyo, iyong number 12 wala pa. Iyong number 12, iyong gusto sana namin, who will best represent the marginalized sectors. We have a number of nominees already, pero gusto kasi namin— Hindi ito desisyon ko lang. Kasi maraming nagsasabi, “Kung anong desisyon mo, iyon naman iyong susundin ng lahat.” Pero hindi ganoon ang leadership na pinapaniwalaan natin. Gusto nating bigyan ng boses iyong mas maraming tao. And nira-run by natin ito sa mga groups na nakikiisa sa atin. So hindi naging madali iyong pag-aya ng lahat, and nagpapasalamat ako kay Senator Frank for helping us—not just inviting people to join us, but also in vetting kung sino ba iyong pinakamagandang mix doon sa grupong iyon.

    SEN. FRANK DRILON: Yeah. Of course, I’ll say “amen” to what our presidential—to what our next President said. But anyway, it was not an easy process to assemble all these people with diverse backgrounds and political leanings. Recall that it took a little time for Vice President Leni to decide. There was a lot of discernment, there was a lot of discussion, and many of these people, since they were not certain—and even Vice President Leni was not certain that she was going to run—sought out other alliances in the meantime. But when Vice President Leni declared that she was running for President, it was easy for us to get them back and support the candidacy of President Leni, because they realized that Leni—Vice President Leni—is the only person who can lead us in the next six years and get us out of this quagmire. And we are confident that with these 11 people that Vice President Leni has named, when they get elected to the Senate, they will follow the same principles that Vice President Leni is espousing today. Thank you very much.

    RAPPLER: VP Leni, this has to be asked I think simula pa lang, you know, there are people in the slate who have faced corruption allegations in the past, even cheating allegations in the elections. So paano po natin sasagutin iyon: that they are in your slate and yesterday, you said if you become President, you are going to make sure that systems are going to be in place to force public servants not to be corrupt?

    VP LENI: Alam mo, iba-iba iyong kasaysayan. Kapag tiningnan natin iyong 11 na nasa slate na ngayon, iba-iba iyong pinagdaanan, iba-iba iyong kasaysayan. Pero iyong pinakamahalaga, noong nakiusap tayo na magkaisa, iyong kahandaan na isantabi iyong mga dating pinagdaanan, nandoon. At iyong paniniwala, nagko-commit sa ating aspiration na linisin natin iyong bureaucracy, nagko-commit sa ating aspiration na hintuin na iyong bulok na klase ng politika—na marami tayong kailangan asikasuhin as far as governance is concerned. Ako, naniniwala ako na wala namang perpekto sa amin, kahit ako. Walang perpekto sa amin, pero iyong pinakamahalaga, iyong commitment saka iyong readiness na umupo sa isang lamesa at pakinggan iyong iba’t ibang paniniwala ng mga kasama, at magpanday ng isang—hindi lang plano pero pati iyong agreement to operationalize iyong ating aspirations. Sila iyong nagpakita sa atin ng ganoong kahandaan. Iyong pagpili ng members na kasali sa Senate slate ay hindi sa akin nanggaling lang; they were nominated by many different groups of people. And the reason why hindi namin ito na-announce noong Friday, kasi tinuloy-tuloy namin iyong proseso sa pakikinig. Tinuloy namin iyong proseso sa pakikinig. Siyempre kapag may ino-nominate na isa, puwedeng may concerns iyong iba—at iyon ay pinlantsa namin lahat.

    RAPPLER: Two more questions still related to the Senate slate—

    SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: Ma’am, may I—

    RAPPLER: Go ahead, go ahead, Sir.

    SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: Just to point out precisely: Ang ating kalaban ay COVID, hindi ang isa’t isa. Kaya mas mahalaga iyong pangunahing layunin na magkaroon ng pagkakaisa sa hanay natin para mas malakas tayo, para maharap natin nang maayos iyong pagsugpo sa COVID, manumbalik ang normal na buhay ng bawat Pilipino, magkaroon ng hanapbuhay, magkaroon ng pagkakakitaan. So uulitin natin: Oo, mayroon kaming mga diperensiya. Oo, mayroon kaming mga nakaraang pakikipagtunggali. Pero ang sabi ko nga, unless matuto tayo—Democracy, sabi nga nila, is learning to work with people you dislike, up to a certain extent. But what is the main objective? The main objective really is hindi— Ang kalaban natin ay COVID, hindi ang isa’t isa, kaya kinakailangan ng malawakang pagkakaisa.

    RAPPLER: VP Leni, magkakaroon pa po ba ng 12th slot? And if yes, among the choices po ba dito si Sonny Matula at si former congressman Neri Colmenares?

    VP LENI: Yes. Ayaw kong pangunahan iyong— Ano lang sila, among them, among them. Ayaw kong pangunahan kasi iyong proseso ay tuloy-tuloy pa. Proseso sa pakikinig sa iba’t ibang grupo. Siyempre kung may mga concerns na inihahain sa amin, kailangan naming pakinggan iyong concerns na inihahain. Binibigyan ng pagkakataon iyong mga concerned na mga tao na sagutin iyong mga concerns na iyon. Pero gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, ang gusto sana namin, na whoever will be the... whoever will be chosen to be the 12th in the slate would best represent the marginalized sectors. Marami kaming alliances with many different groups—urban poor, women, labor, iba’t iba—at pinapakinggan namin. In fact, the entire week na nandito ako, iba’t ibang grupo iyong aking kausap at pinapakinggan natin. Pero iyong proseso will continue. Ayaw naming i-rush, kasi iyong pagpipilian naman ay nakapaghain naman ng kanilang Certificates of Candidacy. It is just a matter of choosing who between, who among them iyong pipiliin. Kasi I think, ngayon, there are about four or five nominees. So kailangan naming i-proseso. Ayaw naming madaliin.

    RAPPLER: Final question na po from me—sorry, Cong. Barry! And maybe I can address this question to Senator Kiko and Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon. This is a very powerhouse slate. What does this say now of VP Leni as a power broker in Philippine politics—especially since, you know, in the past days, binabatikos na agad si VP Leni agad ng kaniyang mga lalaking kalaban sa presidential race?

    SEN. FRANK DRILON: Unang una, you know, huwag namang “power broker”. [laughter] Si Vice President Leni is the unifying factor, and we are able to attract and get the commitment of all these 11 [candidates] because of the track record that Vice President Leni has shown, and the program of government that she has presented why she should be the next leader of our country. So we are glad that we have this group, and I’m confident, together with Kiko— Senator Kiko and I know how the Senate works. And on the basis of what I know, my inputs, I am certain that these people, once they get into the... once they are elected, they will be an asset to push the programs of Incoming President Leni Robredo.

    RAPPLER: Thank you, Sir. Senator Kiko?

    SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: Well, from Day 1, Vice President Leni said, you know, “We must unite”, and precisely committed to that effort to unite—and this is a result precisely of that broad coalition of personalities, groups, individuals uniting behind the Vice President’s bid and our bid for May 2022.

    RAPPLER: Thank you po.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Mara. [chuckles] Janvic ng PhilStar.

    PHILIPPINE STAR: Good morning po. Ma’am, some of the names that you announced are also guest candidates of other presidential bets. Have they committed— What will happen during the campaign season? Have they committed that they will support specifically your candidacy? How will the campaign trail look like, considering that they are also guest candidates of other presidential bets?

    VP LENI: Ako—siguro, Senator Frank is the best person to answer that, kasi we asked him to help us manage. Pero it was part of the disussions. It was part of the discussions when we were inviting them, and asking their permission if they would approve na ma-adopt namin sila as our guest candidate.

    SEN. FRANK DRILON: Okay, firstly, we do predict that the next campaign will be different from all the senatorial campaigns that we went through. Because of the pandemic, I don’t think there will be many instances of political rallies, where everybody will be on the stage and the taas-kili kili and all that stuff. [chuckles] So what we will have, really, are more of social media, and our agreement with the people that we talked to was, “All right, since we expect you to be guest candidates in many tickets, don’t endorse anyone. Yes, we will help you unite, but we would like to suggest that, at the minimum, you would not endorse any candidate for president, so that you will stay as a guest candidate of a number of parties or groupings.” Because that’s a reality that we face today.

    PHILIPPINE STAR: Thank you, Sir. Ma’am, specific of the campaign: Recently, we’ve launched the donation portal, and there are observations that this is something new, this is not something we’ve seen in past campaigns. How are we going to ensure transparency, accountability? And making sure that this system would be compliant with existing election laws and campaign finance laws?

    VP LENI: Ako, I think we said this already in the previous interviews—si Barry siguro—na ito kasing ni-launch na— Anong tawag? Crowdsourcing? Crowdfunding?

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: [off-mic] Crowdfunding.

    VP LENI: Hindi ito sa amin; volunteer-driven ito. Noong nagpaalam sa amin, pinaalala namin iyong lahat na Comelec regulations tungkol diyan. Halimbawa, number one, bawal tumanggap from foreign donors. Pangalawa, kailangan lahat na nagdo-donate ay properly accounted for dahil accounted ito sa statement of expenses, campaign expenses. Iyong pangatlo na sinuggest namin—and formally humingi na ako ng tulong—na magbuo— Kasi mayroong mga nag-form na Auditors for Leni, and si former COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza is a part of that group. Ang sabi ko baka puwede na sila iyong mag-audit, mag-audit ng lahat na mga pumapasok na donations, para siguruhin na iyong transparency and accountability ng paggamit ng donations ay nandoon. So while we are not a part of that group, nagbibigay kami ng suggestions para hindi din sila magkaproblema later on.

     

    PHILIPPINE STAR: Thank you, Ma’am! Salamat po.

     

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Janvic. Saleema.

     

    GMA 7: Hi, Ma’am! Senator Drilon, nandito na rin po kayo so I’m addressing the question to both of you. Senator Lacson yesterday said na he felt insulted after your last unity talks kasi mayroon daw pong insinuation, gesture of making a Robredo-Sotto tandem. Ano po ba talaga iyong nangyari during the last unity talks and can you shed light kung ano po ba talaga iyong gesture na iyon, Senator Drilon? May sinabi po ba kayo, Ma’am? Ano po ba iyong nangyari?

     

    VP LENI: Actually, Saleema, mamaya ibibigay ko iyong floor kay Senator Drilon pero I first heard about that particular comment yesterday. So, ang tinanong kong una kay Senator Drilon, “marunong ka palang mag-hand gestures? Hindi ko alam.” [laughter] So sabi niya, “ano namang alam ko diyan sa hand gestures.” Pero ito, seriously speaking, I was very open about the unity talks na ginagawa namin. Nangyari iyon for a period of about two months. I was updating everyone not of the details of the talks but how it was going. Iyong sa akin, ako iyong nag-seek out sa kanila. Ako iyong nag-seek out sa kanila and sa akin, bakit naman ako mag-aaksaya ng panahon kung hindi ako seryoso doon sa ninanais ko sanang objective that will come out of the talks? Iyong sa akin, ako na iyong magsasabi na hindi ko nakita si Senator Drilon na nag-hand signals pero para sa akin lang, wala namang any need for that kasi kung mayroon kaming mensaheng ipapaabot na ayaw naming marinig ni Senator Ping, eh ‘di sana si Senator Sotto na lang kinausap namin. Pero we requested to talk to both of them.

     

    So sa akin, wala akong nakikitang logic. Wala akong nakikitang logic kung bakit nag-request kami na makausap silang dalawa with the hope na may last-minute attempt pa to come to an agreement. Pero walang intent at all na parang i-blindside o i-marginalize si Senator Ping para mag-hand signal o magpadala ng signal kay Senator Sotto. Kasi we could have easily just requested to Senator Sotto if that was the intent. Pero the fact na, actually I was just the one who requested Senator Frank na to arrange and iyong sabi nga sa akin ni Senator Frank, he was the one who called up—tama, Sen., ano?—he was the one who called up Senator Ping to arrange the meeting. So kung ang sadya lang namin si Senator Sotto, bakit kami mag-a-arrange kay Senator Ping? So it doesn’t make sense.

     

    SEN. FRANKLIN DRILON: To be honest with you, I do not know bakit naging isyu ito. Sasabihin ko sa inyo ang totoo: hindi ko po alam ang mga hand signals. I have never—I communicate through verbal—using my communication skill, whatever it is, [but] never my hand. Kaya hindi ko po alam kung ano ito and it is—and that is why I was surprised by this. As the Vice President said, I was the one who requested for a meeting and this is consistent and pursuant doon po sa desire ni Vice President Leni to have a unity and this is not something that is not known to the public. She has, you know, she has been pursuing this and therefore, up to the last moment, she asked me to see if we can meet with Senator Sotto and Senator Ping. And I did. And therefore, it was a sincere effort to seek unity. And I—honestly, I do not recall the hand signals. I do not know. You ask me today what the hand signal was? I do not know because I never communicate that way. So having said that, I think we have no further comment on that issue.

     

    GMA 7: Sir, to be very clear lang po, you never pushed for a Robredo-Sotto tandem?

     

    SEN. FRANKLIN DRILON: Well, that was a unity talk. It was an effort to unify those who are not in the administration.

     

    GMA 7: Sorry medyo…

     

    SEN. FRANKLIN DRILON: I said I have no more comment to that issue, okay. Tama na iyan. Oh, go to another topic.

     

    GMA 7: Another topic, okay. Si Samira Gutoc was part of Otso Diretso noong 2019. Si Mayor Isko may sinabi po siya ngayon in Batangas na apparently, pine-pressure and tinatakot daw po ng grupo ni VP Leni si Samira Gutoc. Hindi rin po na-elaborate kung ano ito at kung paano po ito but can we just get your reaction? Ano po ba, nakausap niyo po ba si Ma’am Samira?

     

    VP LENI: Ako, si Senator Kiko iyong sasagot kasi si Senator Kiko iyong day-to-day ng Liberal Party. Pero sa akin, sa recollection ko, a few months ago, nagtatanong si Samira if I was running. And ako, I will be very honest. Ang sagot ko, “Wala akong plano.” So she was intent on running again for the Senate. Ang pinaalam niya kung puwede siyang lumipat sa Aksyon Demokratiko because she really wanted to be—to run for the Senate. Eh kung hindi ako tatakbo ng Liberal Party, baka walang slate. And ako, hindi ko siya nakausap na personal about it pero sinabihan ako—tinatanong ako kung mayroon akong objections. Sobrang okay sa akin. Sobrang okay sa akin. Kung saan siya mapapabuti, we will be very supportive. Iyon iyong end ng discussion. So wala naman yatang reason—bakit naman kami mananakot ng tao? Nakita niyo naman iyong slate natin. Nakita niyo iyong slate natin na pinagpaguran talaga namin ito. Bakit naman kami kailangang—[technical lag]—takutin ang isang kandidato? Sobra pa nga kami ngayon, eh.

     

    SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: If I may, ako, personal na kinausap ni Samira at nagpaalam din. Nagpaalam naman nang maayos. Wala naman kaming masamang tinapay, ika nga. So, why would we now take offense? You know, we wished her well, we told her good luck. Nagpaalam nang maayos. Sabi namin—and nakaka—sabi nga, understandable dahil nga iniisip din niya siguro iyong mga plano niya sa pagtakbo ng Senado at noong hindi klaro iyong mga panahon na iyon iyong magiging direksyon at desisyon ni VP Leni, she took it upon herself, ano, to find ways to be able to pursue nga iyong kaniyang kagustuhang tumakbo. So iyon, we don’t—we have no reason to do that and we continue to wish her well.

     

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay, Mon?

     

    TV 5: Good morning po. Mon Gualvez po from TV 5. VP Leni, actually baka natanong na po ito pero gusto po naming marinig from you. Follow-up na rin po kay—sa mga binabanggit po ni Mayor Isko Moreno regarding po sa patutsada niya about the intention of running. Sinasabi po niya na hindi naman intensyon tumakbo dahil galit kami sa kaaway namin so hindi raw makukuha sa solusyon na pagpapalit ng kulay lamang. You reaction to that po.

     

    VP LENI: Ako, alam mo, magpapaka-gentleman na lang ako, ha. Ayaw ko nang pumatol kasi mas malaki iyong mga problema natin. Tingin ko wala naman itong papapuntahan. Gaya ng sabi ko, hindi lang kay Mayor Isko, ang dami kong nilapitan para maghanap ng avenue para magkaisa. Hindi makakatulong na—eh gaya nga ng sabi ni Senator Kiko, klaro naman iyong kalaban natin dito. Hindi naman—‘di ba kaya nga ako naghahanap ng pagkakaisa kasi gusto natin na focused tayo sa tunay na kalaban. So hindi na lang ako papatol.

     

    TV 5: Senator Kiko?

     

    SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: At iyon din naman ang hinahanap ng ating mga kababayan, eh—iyong solusyon sa COVID-19, sa gutom, at saka sa kawalan ng hanapbuhay at trabaho. So iyon dapat ang tinututukan natin. Pag-usapan natin, i-debate natin iyong mga solusyon, ‘di ba. Hindi itong kulay, hindi itong kung ano-ano. Our main—the biggest enemy of our generation, of our entire country, is COVID-19. Unless we address COVID-19, walang mangyayari sa atin. Gutom, hirap, kamatayan—so iyon ang dapat.

     

    Pakiusap na rin sa media. Magandang tanungin iyong mga tanong na may kaunting personal na intriga, isyu, etc. Pero iyong ating mga kababayan, ayaw nila noon. Ang gusto nila solusyon sa COVID-19. Ang gusto nila maging normal na ang buhay ng ating mga anak, ating mga mahal sa buhay. Iyon ang tutukan natin sana. Hindi kulay, hindi si Isko, ang totoong katunggali natin. Ang tunay na katunggali natin eh itong COVID-19. Iyon ang dapat nating pag-usapan. Iyon ang dapat nating hanapan ng solusyon.

     

    TV 5: Having said that po, ano, about sa platforms lang din, kasi may nilabas pong report ang World Justice Project that the Philippines is 102nd out of 139 countries in world rule of law index. So paano—una, reaksyon niyo po muna rito and pangalawa, how will you address this world rule of law in case po you will be seated as president?

     

    VP LENI: Ako, nakakalungkot. Sobrang nakakalungkot pero hindi siya totally unexpected. Alam naman natin kung ano ang nangyari in the last five and a half years. When I was still in Congress, bahagi ako noong inter-agency committee na sinisiguro na lalo pa tayong tumaas—lalong tumaas iyong ranking natin dito, tapos baliktad iyong nangyari. Baliktad iyong nangyari kasi in the last five and a half years, ilang notches ba iyong ating binaba? Seryosong problema ito kasi hindi lang siya… hindi lang—kapag sinabi kasing rule of law, parang isa siyang konsepto na parang hindi nakaka-relate iyong maraming tao. Pero ang hindi natin naiintindihan, na kapag hindi maayos iyong performance natin as far as iyong respecting the rule of law, iyong tama nito sa napakaraming mga gut issues para sa mga kababayan natin ay nandiyan—iyong sa kalusugan, iyong sa edukasyon, karapatang pantao, social justice. Iyong lahat na mahahalagang aspeto ng buhay natin affected nito.

     

    SEN. FRANKLIN DRILON: Yes, kung inyo pong napansin, sa lahat na humaharap sa bansa ngayon at humihingi ng tulong bilang maging pangulo, iisa lang po ang abogado—ang abogada—si Vice President Robredo. Lahat po sila is that hindi po kasama sa ating propesyon. At kaming tatlo ho rito, eh parehong-parehong abogado kaya sa amin mahalaga ang rule of law, kay Vice President Leni, bilang isang abogada na tumutulong noon—ang kaniyang mga kliyente iyong mga mahihirap. Naiintindihan niya at naisapuso niya ang sinasabing rule of law more than any other of the candidates that are presenting themselves today before the Filipino people. Marami pong salamat.

     

    SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: If I may, Ma’am, with the permission of the Vice President, alam mo siguro mas maiintindihan din ito ng mga millennials at Gen Z, iyong rule of law, kumbaga sa computer, iyan iyong hard drive. Tapos iyong education, investments, iyan iyong software, ‘di ba. Dahil kapag nilagay na iyang education, siyempre iyong hard drive, iyan iyong operating system. Eh kapag iyong operating system eh, ‘di ba, Fortran o iyong outdated, walang mangyayari sa ano mang software na ilalagay niyo. Ke education iyan, ke foreign investments iyan, kapag wala iyong rule of law—iyong operating system—anong mangyayari sa ating lahat? So napakahalaga ng rule of law para manumbalik ang sigla sa ekonomiya, para maging maayos iyong edukasyon ng ating mga anak, para bumaba ang poverty, ma-address ang gutom. Rule of law is our operating system kung computer iyong ating sistema.

     

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay, Daniel Manalastas ng PTV.

     

    PTV: Good morning po, Ma’am! Good morning, senators. I’m just wondering lang po iyong sa senate slate, ano, kung na-reconcile na ba o kung paano niyo po ire-reconcile kasi iyong iba po rito nagkaroon ng mga hindrances dati or issues like si Senator Trillanes at si Senator Binay. So paano niyo po ire-reconcile iyon, Ma’am?

     

    VP LENI: Actually, ang maganda ngang nangyari dito, gaya ng sabi ko kanina, kinonsulta namin. Ni-nominate iyong mga iba’t ibang mga candidates to be included in our slate. Pinakinggan namin how the others feel about it and iyong kagandahan, halimbawa iyong sinasabi mo, more specifically kay Senator Trillanes, sinabi namin na ito, nino-nominate. While mayroong mga issues na nagsu-surface, parating ang katapusan niya, “Handa kami. Handa kaming makipagkaisa. Handa kaming makinig. Handa kaming makipagtulungan. Basta pareho iyong ating adhikain kung saan patutungo iyong samahan natin na ito.” Gaya ng sabi ko kanina, halos lahat ng kabahagi sa senate slate, sila talaga iyong mga una na nagpahayag ng kanilang kahandaan na makiisa kahit sa mga tao na iba’t iba iyong pinanggalingan. And I think, very important first step siya. Masyadong divisive na iyong bansa natin. Ang dami nating problemang hinaharap, na hindi magandang approach na tayo-tayo iyong mga nagbabangayan kasi pare-pareho naman iyong pinaglalaban natin. Totoong iba iyong pinagdaanan natin. Totoong nagkaroon ng mga hidwaan in the past pero the mere fact na lahat ready to work together, tingin ko napakalaking achievement na noon.

     

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay, last na. Si Allan Gatus ng DZBB.

     

    DZBB: Wala na pong kinalaman ito sa senatorial slate pero iyong isyu pa rin po, iyong kalaban natin lahat na COVID-19. So, right now po may mga—starting bukas mas maluwag na iyong alert level na ipatutupad sa Metro Manila pero may ibang mga eksperto na tutol magluwag tayo. Sa inyo ho, ano ang reaksyon niyo rito o ano ang tingin niyo sa pagluluwag na ito ng gobyerno? Napapanahon na ho ba ito?

     

    VP LENI: Alam mo, kaya mayroon tayong IATF, ‘di ba. Kaya tayo may IATF kasi ito iyong inter-agency na task force na may mga gobyerno, may mga pribado. At ang komposisyon nito, ito iyong inaasahan na experts in their own field na iyong kanilang pakiramdam about matters such as ito, pagluluwag ng mga quarantine measures, etc. Iyon iyong kahalagahan niya. So sa akin, since the pandemic started last year, marami rin tayong mga policy statements na sina-suggest pero kapag sila na iyong nagdesisyon, lagi tayong nagde-defer kasi dapat iyon iyong parang clearing house, ‘di ba.

     

    Iyong nakakagulat lang, ito iyong bothersome sa akin: iyong statement ni Secretary Duque na he was not consulted. So ang isip ko noon, papaano nangyari iyon? Papaano nangyari na hindi siya consulted na policy ito ng pamahalaan, siya iyong supposedly head ng Department of Health, tapos may isang health measure na gagawin tapos hindi mo alam? So sa akin, kaya bothersome iyon kasi papaano iyong proseso? Bakit nagdedesisyon ng isang bagay na iyong Secretary of Health na siya nga iyong pinaka-team leader dapat, hindi alam. So iyon iyong sa akin—sa akin, iyon iyong number one na concern ko. Kasi in the past, marami na tayong mga flipflopping na mga desisyon. May sasabihin, may babawiin. Eh hindi na natin ma-a-afford iyon, eh. Hindi natin ma-a-afford kasi ngayon medyo nakahinga-hinga na tayo nang kaunti na bumaba iyong kaso. Pero ang ayaw natin mangyari is iyong babalik na naman tayo sa rollercoaster ride na bubuti, sasama, bubuti. Kapag economy naman iyong— Hindi ko kasi alam kung ano iyong naging deliberations, pero ako, kung ipe-presume ko na opening up the economy ang dahilan, ako, naiintindihan natin iyon, and COVID is something that we have to live with, ‘di ba? Pero again, ito, ilang dosenang beses ko na ito sinabi: na sana hindi natin tinitingnan na magkatunggali iyong kalusugan saka iyong ekonomiya. Kasi iyong iba namang mga lugar, kaya lang naman successfully nabuksan nila iyong mga ekonomiya nila, kasi iyong transmission, naging under control. Siguro hindi natin mapapawi in the next months or so iyong virus, pero at least controlled iyong transmission, para mabuksan natin iyong ekonomiya. And para sa akin, dapat sana iyon iyong primary consideration.

     

    DZBB: Last question na lang po, VP. Ngayong araw naman, sinimulan din ang pagbabakuna sa mga bata, pero may ilang eksperto pa rin din na nagsasabi na inuuna iyong mga bata, when it comes sa maraming lugar sa Pilipinas outside Metro Manila ay hindi pa nababakunahan, or maraming pang hindi nababakunahan. So sana raw bago iyong mga bata—although alam nila na kailangan din iyong mga bata—sana unahin iyong mas priority na mga nasa category sa ibang lugar.

     

    VP LENI: Ako, again, isang bagay ito na lagi kong inuulit since last year—bago pa dumating ang mga vaccines. Ang parati kong sinasabi, paghandaan natin iyong pagdating ng vaccines. Kasi ang problema naman natin hindi lang naman iyong supply eh. Pero ang problema natin iyong logistics. Halimbawa, kami, kapag tiningnan mo iyong chart, ang pinakahuli, ang pinakamaliit na percentage na natanggap na mga vaccines based on the population, Bicol Region. Iyong Bicol Region, pinakakaunti. Hindi ko alam kung may updated numbers na. Pero sobrang kaunti pa, sobrang liit pa ng percentage na nababakunahan. Pero nababasa natin ang daming pumapasok na supply. Nababasa natin, mayroong mga na-contaminate o nasira dahil sa temperature requirements. So ito kasi reflective na hindi natin napaghandaan iyong logistics. Na mayroon tayong supply, maraming naghihintay ng bakuna, pero bakit hindi siya nakakarating sa panahon na kailangan? So naiintindihan ko na i-prioritize iyong mga lugar na napakataas ng transmission. Very valid iyon. Pero hindi kasi— Mahirap intindihin na ang dami nang supply, pero hindi natin nadi-distribute nang maayos.

     

    SEN. FRANKLIN DRILON: Can I just add something?

     

    DZBB: Yes po.

     

    SEN. FRANKLIN DRILON: You know, again, of all the candidates presenting themselves for the Presidency, who has actual, on-the-ground experience of trying to—of helping—trying to help solve this problem? You can see it. The past several months that we have had this problem, anong ginagawa ni Vice President Leni? On her own limited resources, and relying on help from the private sector, she has gone out, she has done things which nobody would have thought of. And I challenge anyone of her competitors: Have you ever done this? May ginawa ba kayo kagaya noong ginawa ni Vice President Leni? At ito po’y peculiar kay Vice President because she’s a mother and, therefore, the care for the children, for our countrymen who are suffering from this pandemic is innate in her. Wala po iyon sa— Nakikita niyo ba ang katunggali ni Vice President na lumalabas at tumu—at nakikipag—at tumutulong nang husto? Wala po. Kaya iyan po ay because of her being a mother, mother of three children. Innate po sa kaniya. Natural sa kaniya na tumulong. And—

     

    But she has knowledge on what it should take in order to bring— I heard her yesterday in the Manila Hotel forum, when she was asked how do you intend to revive our economy, which has gone to its deepest recession, very correct answer: We must solve this pandemic because this is the only way that we can revive our economy—and she has set that for the first 100 days of her administration. In order to try to solve this—try to provide solution to this medical problem, headed by a retired general? Paano naman iyan, hindi po ba? Sinasabi ni Vice President, this is a health problem. We have a Health secretary. Sino nagpapatakbo ng ating pandemic response? With all due respect, a retired general. So doon pa lang, medyo—hindi na namin—medyo siguro a lot of challenge would have to be brought forward.

     

    Kaya ito po, we believe that Leni is the best candidate to be able to get us out of this very difficult problem. Labing-walong buwan na po ito. Hanggang ngayon, ganoon pa rin ang— We have changed policies every time. It is a command-and-control kind of set-up. Ang tao po, wala nang tiwala sa kakayahan ng pamahalaan na tugunan itong problemang ito. And it is quite unfortunate, this has cost thousands of lives. It has cost loss of jobs. Marami pong nawalan ng trabaho. And, you know, 18 months na, ganito pa rin po tayo. Kaya po kami po ay hindi tumitigil, si Vice President hindi tumitigil, na tumulong kahit na sa maliit na bagay, you know, because iyan po ang kaniyang— She’s really cut out for that job. Thank you very much.

     

    VP LENI: Idagdag ko lang siguro. If only to bring attention na kakaibang-kakaiba ang sitwasyon sa probinsya kumpara sa Metro Manila. Kasi iyon talaga iyong hinaing. Kami, we have been offering our help to many places na nangangailangan pa ng mas mabilisan na vaccine deployment. And ang parating problema nila, supply. Ang daming mga lugar na requesting for our help. Nag-promise na kami, nag-commit na kami, pero laging naghihintay ng supply. So iyong sa akin, dito sa Metro Manila, parang mas naging problema kasi iyong deployment, ‘di ba? Maraming supply dito, pero kulang iyong mga nag-va-vaccinate—and we helped. Tumulong kami sa Manila. Tumulong kami sa Quezon City. Tumulong kami sa Pasig. Pero sa labas kasi, ibang usapan. Ibang-iba iyong sitwasyon sa labas, and para sa akin, marami namang mga LGUs sa Metro Manila na nag-re-report na sobrang okay na ng vaccination stats nila, it is high time na tutukan naman natin, tutukan natin iyong mga probinsya. Lalong lalo na sa amin—napakataas ng transmission, napakababa ng vaccination rate. And that is because, siguro logistics. Kasi hindi mo naman masabi na walang supply na available dito, kasi mayroon. Pero iyong supply sa probinsya ang problema, kasi siguro iyong logistical requirements, doon tayo nagkakaproblema. So sana matutukan na. Iyong mga— Ngayon nasa Pampanga kami. After this, papunta ako doon. Bukas, nasa Cagayan De Oro kami. May partner kami doon na civil society na ang tuturukan iyong mga TODA drivers. We have been— We have been volunteering. Pero sana mapabilis, mapabilis iyong pagdala ng mga bakuna sa mga probinsya.

     

    SEN. KIKO PANGILINAN: If I may just also reiterate the earlier point raised by Senator Drilon: COVID ang problema. Ang solusyon, iyong pinamalas na pamumuno ni Vice President Leni sa COVID interventions mula Day 1. Mula noong wala nang— Nag-shuttle service sa frontliners. Nagkaroon ng dormitory iyong mga frontliners. Nagkaroon ng trabaho iyong mga mananahi dahil kailangan ng PPE—so may trabaho na, may PPE pa. Pag-distribute ng mga PPE. Iyong tele-konsulta, libo-libo ang nakinabang. So ang problema ang COVID. Ang solusyon, nakita na natin: iyong ipinamalas na pamumuno ng ating Vice President. Imagine, kung nagawa niya iyan sa karampot na pondo, kapag siya’y Pangulo na, buong Pilipinas ang makikinabang sa ganoong klaseng pamumuno, ganoong kalidad ng pamumuno. Thank you.

     

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay, thank you. So gaya nga ng sabi ni VP Leni, may lakad pa siya sa Pampanga, so isasara na natin ang presscon.

     

     

     

     

    - 30 -

    Posted in Transcripts on Oct 15, 2021