PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday stressed that lapses made by the Aquino administration rendered the amnesty given to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and other former rebel soldiers void.
In a nationally televised exchange with chief presidential legal counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo, Duterte said the lapses in the grant of amnesty could not be cured.
“Kapag mali, hindi talaga ma-correct yan. One of the mistakes of Aquino administration was to extend the amnesty but the procedure is wrong,” Duterte said.
“The problem is after recommending, at the end of the narration, the narratives there, (then Defense Secretary Voltaire) Gazmin signed the amnesty,” he added.
“It is not possible to do that. An act of pardon or amnesty is an act of state. It cannot be delegated to anybody,” Duterte said.
NFA chief wants out
President Rodrigo Duterte will let go National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino who has come under fire over the reported shortage of state-subsidized NFA rice in the market.
“Jason Aquino has requested to be relieved. He is already tired. He cannot cope,” Duterte said in his conversation with Panelo on state-run PTV 4.
Duterte said he would look for Aquino’s replacement.
Roque tags Magdalo
Meanwhile Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has added the Magdalo group — the group of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV — on the list of those allegedly plotting to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
Roque said it is Magdalo’s “hobby” to destabilize governments, referring to its role in several attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration.
“Itong grupong Magdalo, talaga namang ito ‘yung kanilang hobby, magpatalsik ng gobyerno bagama’t hindi naman sila nagwawagi,” he said.
Despite denials by the concerned groups, Roque insisted that Liberal Party members and the Communist Party of the Philippines, together with Magdalo, are working to bring down the Duterte administration.
Malacañang the other day announced President Duterte would address the nation in a press conference but decided to instead have him hold a “tête-à-tête” with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo.
Palace spokesman Roque insisted that Malacañang did not cancel the press conference but only “modified” its format.
Roque said Duterte would speak in a one-on-one with Panelo which only state-run PTV-4 would be allowed to cover. He however said he was not sure if this would be aired live, but assured that questions from the media would be asked.
“I don’t think anyone can complain because your questions were collected and will be asked,” Roque told Palace reporters pressing him for an explanation as to why the press briefing was canceled.
He said the decision to modify the format was made by both Duterte and the Presidential Communications and Operations Office.
He said “there was a misunderstanding.” He said he never mentioned it would be a press briefing, but also admitted the format was modified.
Roque earlier said Duterte “wants to speak to the nation,” without giving any possible topics, prompting speculations on what the President would talk about.
President Duterte’s supposed public address comes amid soaring inflation, falling economic growth, controversies over tax reforms, and the voiding of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes.