Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles

Event Press Briefing
Location Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Magandang umaga.

Yesterday, a resolution was uploaded on the website of the Sugar Regulatory Administration – purportedly coming from Sugar Regulatory Board; Resolution # 4 authorized the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar on top of what had already been imported in May of this year.

This Resolution is illegal. The Chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board is President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. As such chairman, he sets the date of any meetings or convening of the Sugar Regulatory Board and its agenda. No such meeting was authorized by the President or such a resolution likewise, was not authorized.

It appears that the Resolution was signed for and on behalf of the President by Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian. He was not authorized to sign such a resolution because the President did not authorize the importation.

Importations are a sensitive matter, particularly with regard to agricultural importations. Sugar is one such importation which we take great care with. It is a balancing act. The importation has to be carefully studied to protect both the consumer against the rising prices of basic commodities while ensuring at the same time, that we do not destroy the local industry.

As such, the only response to the query on whether or not an importation was to be made, the President did not assent and it was the Executive Secretary who issued the order to create an importation plan. It was therefore clear that there is no authorization for the importation of these 300,000 metric tons.

An investigation is ongoing to determine whether any act that would cause the President to lose trust and confidence in his officials can be found, or if there is malice or negligence involved. In such a case, if such findings are made, then the only determination left will be how many heads are going to roll.

We’ll take your questions with the understanding that, since this is an ongoing investigation then we can only limit our answers to those that will not affect the fairness of such investigation.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Hi, ma’am. Good morning po. Ma’am, since the President has now thumbed down this particular proposal of importation of sugar, in the event that there is an insufficient supply of sugar in the country, what will the administration do po?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: The Department of Agriculture has indicated the allegedly critical levels of sugar. However, we are also approaching harvest season, this is why the importation calls for a balancing act. Will such importation affect the harvest and the prices of our local growers? In the absence of such a determination, the resolution should not have been issued with such haste as it appears to have been made.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Ma’am, follow up lang. Paano po iyong mga pag-surge ng prices ng sugar, papaano natin ia-address?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Like we said, it is a matter of a balancing act. Now, we just imported last May. Now, we have to determine if an importation, supposedly to address the critical levels that are approaching at the end of the month, will affect the harvest season which opens in September.

So again, a study is necessarily called for. And in fact, it was the Executive Secretary who issued the instruction for them to create an importation plan. In such importation plan, a determination has to be made about how this is going to affect the incoming harvest.

JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Thank you, ma’am.

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: You’re welcome.

IVAN MAYRINA/GMA7: Ma’am, klaruhin ko lang: Si ES po issued an order to create an importation plan, iba po iyon doon sa lumabas na Sugar Order # 4?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Oh, definitely, yes. So it was a directive actually. It was verbally issued so that the President can make a determination later on, whether or not the importation is actually warranted.

IVAN MAYRINA/GMA7: So, would you say na posible hong miscommunication ito?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: No. You don’t convene the Sugar Regulatory Board in the absence of the President and in the absence of any such approval on his part. He did not approve the convening. You can only convene the board with the assent, explicit assent of the President; and he did not make such an agreement.

IVAN MAYRINA/GMA7: So while the investigation is ongoing, ano po ang status ngayon ng mga opisyal ng Sugar Regulatory Board or Commission?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: They are under investigation.

IVAN MAYRINA/GMA7: Pero are they still, you know, officially holding their function?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Well, there is no preventive suspension issued as of right now.

NEIL MERCADO/INQUIRER: If wala na pong questions on sugar, if I can go to another topic?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: If we can answer.

NEIL MERCADO/INQUIRER: Ma’am, how much of a concern is disinformation to the Marcos Administration?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: I’m sorry, but I need to know what the basis of your question is.

NEIL MERCADO/INQUIRER: Because may mga nagsasabi na iyong win po ni President Marcos was full of … parang maraming disinformation during the campaign that helped boost iyong campaign ni President Marcos. So how much of a concern is disinformation to this administration?

SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: If any illegal acts have been committed then the proper venue for that would be the court.

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Well, as you know foremost on the President’s mind is to protect our agricultural industry or agriculture and part of the concerns of our farmers are the prices of fertilizer. So, this was among those things that were discussed by the President with the DTI Secretary.

Q: Since the DTI was involved, will price caps be implemented over several ingredients of fertilizers or raw materials?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: We will have to wait for the DTI to make a recommendation on that.

JOB MANAHAN/ABS-CBN ONLINE: Good morning po, ma’am, Job Manahan po from ABS-CBN. Regarding po doon sa fertilizers pa rin. May mga bansa po bang tinitingnan na pagkukunan po ng fertilizer supply, since na-mention po before ni President na parang, he is planning to write a letter personally to governments regarding this?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: The President will make an announcement as to whatever countries when he does write such a letter.

JOB MANAHAN/ABS-CBN ONLINE: Okay po, tapos regarding naman po ito sa state of calamity declaration nationwide because of the pandemic, Ma’am. Former President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation extending the state of calamity will end na po, because of the pandemic in nearly a month or on September 12 this year. May info po ba if President Marcos is keen on extending this?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: It will depend on the recommendation of the DOH. But we will make the announcement when the time comes.

JOB MANAHAN/ABS-CBN ONLINE: Okay po, iyon na lang po.

KAT DOMINGO/ABS-CBN: Ma’am, yesterday the Presidential Legal Counsel issued several statements against the defeated Mayoralty candidate in Quezon City. May we get Palace’s comment on that issue?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: There is no comment, the visit was just a social call.

KAT DOMINGO/ABS-CBN: So, there is no truth to observations that the former Congressman may be appointed as the next MMDA Chief next year after the one-year ban?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Right now, we have no information on that. As you know, you are right, there is a one-year ban. So, there will be no announcement as to who will be appointed even assuming that it’s going to be him. So, right now, that’s in the realm of speculation.

KAT DOMINGO/ABS-CBN: Thank you, ma’am.

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: You’re welcome.

IVAN MAYRINA/GMA7: Ma’am, on a related point to that question, please.


IVAN MAYRINA/GMA7: Kasabay po noong pag-callout na iyon ni Chief Presidential Legal Counsel ay iyong panawagan na “Mag-ingat tayo, that we may be construed as carelessly showing an arrogance of power in our behavior as public persons, especially if we are somewhat identified with the regime.” Does the Palace share that sentiment of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: The Palace has no reaction.

IVAN MAYRINA: Thank you.

Q: Secretary, nitong mga nakaraang araw po o linggo, marami iyong mga anti-illegal drug operations.

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Sorry, madaming?

Q: Anti-illegal drug operations po.


Q: Ano na po ang policy ni Pangulong Marcos sa campaign on illegal drugs?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Tuloy po ang campaign laban sa illegal na droga at pinagkakatiwalaan niya ang kaniyang Chief PNP na mag-set ng polisiya at direktiba ukol dito. Inilibas naman po ni Chief PNP na tuluy-tuloy ang kanilang operasyon and they will be compliant with the law pursuant to this.

KRIS JOSE/REMATE: Ma’am, statement lang po sa pagkamatay ni Ms. Lydia De Vega-Mercado?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: The President will be issuing his own statement. So, let’s just wait for that.

KRIS JOSE/REMATE: Thank you, ma’am.

MICHELLE GUILLANG: Good morning, Secretary Trixie. My question is about iyong sugar issue pa rin po. Paano po naging illegal iyong importation kung dati naman po siyang ginagawa at may order ang SRA especially now po na manipis iyong supply ng sugar at kaya po mahal iyong presyo sa market. Also, kung illegal po iyong SRO, paano po iho-hold accountable iyong mga nakapirma sa order, kagaya po ni SRA Chief Serafica at ni DA Undersecretary Sebastian. May sanction po ba iyon? At kung hindi pala approved at nagpirma sila, parang we can say, na-bypassed po ba ang Presidente?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Well, to issue a resolution, they should have met, the meeting was not authorized. Only the President as the chairman can call for such a meeting, number one.

Number two, the resolution was issued in the President’s name, it was signed for the President by Undersecretary Sebastian. Such signing was not authorized by the President. His assignment as the alternate of the President is merely to be present in those meetings that the President cannot attend. It is not a delegation of authority to call any meetings or to sign any resolutions in the absence of the President’s awareness that such a resolution is to be issued.


PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: You are welcome.

JINKY BATICADOS: Ma’am, sorry, sundutin ko lang po iyong sinabi ninyo, ma’am, ngayon. On that particular thing po, well, that alone, alam nilang illegal, hindi naman ito baguhan ng mga nasa SRA.

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Well, may isang baguhan.

JINKY BATICADOS: Okay. But even if, ma’am, siyempre may mga tao po sa paligid nila. So that alone po ba, hindi siya mako-consider na talagang, since alam natin na illegal iyon, hindi ba iyon magiging dahilan para, you know, automatic na moot and academic, alis ka diyan kasi naging iresponsable tayo?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Kaya nga, pero naniniwala din ang Presidente sa due process. Tingnan natin kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit minadali ito, nag-convene sila na walang kaalam-alam ang Presidente and bibigyan sila ng pagkakataon, i-explain iyong panig nila. Kapag hindi satisfactory iyong kanilang mga explanations, then the appropriate penalties will be imposed.

TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Hi Ma’am, pahabol lang, Ma’am. Gusto lang naming malaman, Ma’am kung ano po ang status ngayon nitong si USec. Leocadio Sebastian at saka itong si SRA Administrator knowing na nagkaroon nga ng ganitong parang glitches dito sa ginawa nilang resolution. And kailan po kaya iyong balak ni Presidente na kausapin sila o harapin sila?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Ang status nila, lahat pong pumirma ay under investigation. Hihintayin po natin today if a determination can be made na maisyuhan sila ng preventive suspension order habang tumutuloy iyong imbestigasyon. Pero kung mabilis lang iyong imbestigasyon, makakakita tayo ng mga replacements very soon.

TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Thank you, ma’am.

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Okay, last, last, last.

MICHELLE GUILLANG: Follow up lang po. May photos po, ma’am, na-upload sa Office of the President na social media page. Tama po ba na ang kasama po ni President Marcos kagabi ay si Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Iniisip ko kung ano. Office of the President na page? Yes, in fact, there was an opportunity for him to answer all be it informally. So, with an investigation, he has to formally answer.

MICHELLE GUILLANG: So, there was a possibility po na na-tackle po iyong recent order?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Yes, but primarily it was with the Executive Secretary. So, like what we said, the President was unaware of it. In fact, in-upload nang wala tayong kaalam-alam.

MICHELLE GUILLANG: Do we have an info po sa naging discussion ni President Marcos at Undersecretary Sebastian?

PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: None of the moment.


PRESS SEC. CRUZ-ANGELES: Maraming salamat.


News and Information Bureau – Transcription Section