'SABONG' OVER OUSTER 'PLOT' | Palace journos to Andanar: What do you know that DND, NSA don't?
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MANILA - Things got heated at a press conference in Malacanang on Tuesday when Palace reporters took on claims made by Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar that there is a destabilization plot against the Duterte administration – an allegation that, ironically, has been dismissed by no less than National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
What is the basis of Malacanang’s continued insistence on the existence of such a plot, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Marlon Ramos asked, when "two of the highest security officials" have consistently denied that very story?
Andanar said: "Alam mo kasi, Marlon, siguro mayroong mga reports na hindi po nakakarating sa lahat. Merong mga intelligence reports na…classified. There are classified reports. Mayroon din mga hindi kina-classify na report. May mga ganoon, eh. (You know, Marlon, it’s possible there are reports that don’t get through to everyone. There are intelligence reports that are classified. There are also reports that don’t get filed as classified. It happens.)"
When Ramos tried to follow up, Andanar tried to head off what he could foresee as a line of questioning intended to pit him against fellow Cabinet officials (“Huwag mo kami pagsabungin,” he implored), but things only got more heated and awkward from there, with Andanar questioning Ramos' "fairness" particularly in social media.
Bringing the discussion back to the alleged destabilization plots, DZBB's Benjie Liwanag asked for more details about the intelligence reports the PCO Secretary had access to. "On the classification of the intelligence report, can you give us the classification? Is it an A1 information?"
CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong meanwhile returned to Andanar’s earlier reply to Ramos' question. "Did you say in your response to Marlon that you’re getting intel reports that the two highest security officials are not getting?"
Andanar: "I'm not saying that."
GMA Network's Joseph Morong pressed the matter: "So, sir, yung information na alam mo, hindi alam ni NSA at ni SND [That information you have - the national security adviser and the secretary of national defense don't have it]?"
Andanar replied: "No, I will have to ask the proper members of the Cabinet na meron ding hawak na [who're also holding] intelligence reports if I can release such details. Kasi alam naman na natin na [As we all know, that's]…intelligence yan, eh."
The PCO secretary said the least he can do is seek guidance and permission from the President and the Cabinet to give more details of what he knows and has access to, with respect to claims of a destabilization plot against President Duterte.
Watch the exchange below. Video courtesy of PCO and RTVM: