[President Benigno Aquino 3rd meets with Care for Phils. (K4 Phils.) Intercessors Movement founder Bishop Jonel Milan and Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF) founder Dr. Peter Tan-Chi as he arrives for the 2013 K4 Phils. Prayer Assembly-Global Discipleship Congress at the CCF Auditorium at Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City on Friday.]

MANILA , MAY 27, 2013 (TRIBUNE) Before an international audience, President Aquino expressed being disappointed with members of his communications group during the Care for Philippines Prayer Assembly on the Occasion of the Global Discipleship Congress of the Christ’s Commission Foundation Inc. and K4 Philippines Intercessors Movement.

“If you will notice, I had the teleprompter removed. I’m not actually happy with the speech. I don’t know if it’s becoming a tradition that every time I appear before you, I find the speech prepared is inadequate, by my normally gifted speechwriters,” Aquino said in opening his speech.

Aquino then apologized to the participants of the assembly for what he claimed was a hastily prepared speech.

“So, since waking up, and on the way here, I have been drafting a speech. So it will tend to be disorganized and I apologize in advance and, of course, somehow I may had the impression that I will be talking primarily to Filipinos,” Aquino said.

Aquino said his speech that was intended to be delivered was written in the national language, Filipino, but having found out that some of the audience were foreigners, he had to have his message in the English form which he had no more time to prepare.

“It turns out that there are delegations from about 20 different countries present today—60-plus countries. So that means I had to rewrite the speech that I was drafting because it was in Filipino. So, again, if there are errors, they are solely mine,” Aquino said.

Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said Aquino had not given any word about his being “unhappy” with his communications group to them while in the Palace.

“Well, I was with the President last Friday and he had not mentioned anything about it. I have seen the President on a daily basis for the last week and he hasn’t mentioned anything to that effect,” Valte said.

Aquino has a handful of speech writers, both for Filipino and English languages since Aquino prefers to read his speech using a teleprompter.

Valte, being a member of the Presidential Communications Group, said she has been open to Aquino’s criticisms but said she exerts efforts to improve their duties.

“At least for us that is always the norm. We are always looking out to improve strategies that we can employ, and also, there is always room for improvement, as far as we are concerned. I have seen the President on a daily basis in the last week and he has not said anything that would give me that particular impression,” Valte said.

Valte said that Aquino would tell them straight once he notices some matters that may need to have improvements.

“As far as I’ve seen him. The President is usually very honest and frank when it comes to these matters and normally, if there is something that he feels that has to be improved or that cannot be done, he tells us immediately,” Valte said.

Valte said she could not ascertain, despite Aquino’s statement, where the story of being “unhappy” came out.

“I actually don’t know where that particular observation came from,” Valte said.

Valte said for as long as Aquino has not mentioned anything about his being “unhappy” with the performance of his communications group directly to them, she would not believe that he is not satisfied with the performance of his Palace subordinates.

“That would be self-serving for me to conclude but at least, as far as I can say, is that the President has not made known any displeasure in the past week that I’ve seen him,” Valte said.

VIDEO: President Aquino expressed being disappointed with members of his communications group during the Care for Philippines Prayer Assembly on the Occasion of the Global Discipleship Congress of the Christ’s Commission Foundation Inc. and K4 Philippines Intercessors Movement.


Aquino draws flak on foreign relations By Christine F. Herrera | Posted on May. 27, 2013 at 12:02am

Lawmakers blast ‘weak response’ to Malaysia, two Chinas

Lawmakers on Sunday slammed President Benigno Aquino III for his weak response to Chinese intrusions into Philippine territory, saying these would continue unabated while he hid behind the United States.

“The President’s weak response to the Chinese incursions only encourages such incursions into Philippine territory,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

Former senator Richard Gordon tied Mr. Aquino’s response to the Chinese intrusions to other foreign policy failures, including the country’s recent dealings with Taiwan and Malaysia.

“The government must be firm, resolute and must not appear to be weak,” Gordon said. “Our government must not continue to exhibit the same kind of weakness as shown in our reaction during the Hong Kong hostage crisis in Manila, the Spratlys and Scarborough shoal issue and the killings of our people in Sabah.”

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said China’s naval presence in Ayungin Shoal was an outright violation of undisputed Philippine territory.

“This is the most serious violation of our territory by China to date,” Tinio said.

Colmenares urged the President to press China to ligitate its claim through arbitration, or press the United Nations to orderChina to accede to mandatory conciliation under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

“But as long as the Philippines continue to hide behind the US, which has not even ratified UNCLOS, China will never respect us,” Colmenares said.

Gordon said the government’s lame reaction to issues such as the furor that arose from the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman, and its failure to respond to the killing of Filipinos in Sabah gave the impression that the Philippines is a pushover.

Gordon said the government should review the rules of engagement in such matters and ensure that the Armed Forces is ready to take a stronger position when such issues arise.

“Obviously, other governments think the Philippines is a pushover because of our government’s lame reaction to similar issues, which is demeaning to our nation. I cannot keep quiet as we see a continuous string of humiliating events,” Gordon said.

Gordon also stressed the need to modernize the Armed Forces and the Coast guard to improve their capability to protect the country’s territory.

A spokesman for the Navy, Col. Edgard Arevalo, admitted Sunday they could only watch and document intrusions by the Chinese in the West Philippine Sea.

“They come and go and we are not sure if they are out there permanently. But we are vigilant and our troops continue to monitor their movements,” Arevalo said.

Based on this monitoring, three new Chinese ships were seen entering Ayungin Friday and Saturday.

Ayungin is one of the three reefs and seven islets of the municipality of Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan that is located in the West Philippine Sea . KIG forms part the Spratly Islands claimed by

China as its own. Other claimant-countries include Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

On Sunday, the Foreign Affairs Department cautioned Taiwan not to interfere in the Ayungin incident, saying that doing so would violate the UNCLOS.

The Palace has snubbed a protest filed by Taiwan over the deployment of Navy ships around Ayungin.

In a separate development, a team of investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation prepared to leave for Taiwan to gather evidence on the fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the team of NBI agents and forensic experts would fly to Taiwan Monday morning, debunking that the mission has been put on hold due to supposed new demands from Taiwanese government.

“There are no new demands from Taiwan,” De Lima said, in a text message.

The Taiwanese government reportedly wanted to get a video of the incident submitted by the Philippine Coast Guard to the NBI. De Lima has agreed to allow the visiting Taiwanese probers, who are conducting a parallel investigation under a cooperative arrangement, to see the video.

The eight-member NBI team is specifically tasked to examine the fishing vessel where fisherman Hung was shot dead by Coast Guard personnel, and interview his companions. They will also seek a new autopsy. – With Joyce Pangco Panares, Rey E. Requejo, Florante S. Solmerin and Macon Ramos-Araneta

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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