Abi vs Mitos: We agreed to disagree

By Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jun 27 2011 02:16 PM | Updated as of Jun 27 2011 10:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Meeting each other for the first time after their supposed “cat fight” over Twitter, deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay shook hands and together declared: “We agreed to disagree.”

Appearing together on ANC’s Dateline, both said their exchange at the social network site on Saturday was a healthy discussion of the successes and failures of each other’s leaders.

Like opposing color schemes, both did not stop at their healthy banter on Twitter, however.

Magsaysay, wearing red, again took a swipe of the Aquino administration’s alleged poor response at the onslaught of tropical storm Falcon.

They had the same topic over at Twitter on Saturday. Valte posted, “Nothing was left at home when we arrived. 2010 Calamity fund was depleted halfway into the year, hindi ba babagyo sa 2nd half ng taon?”

Explaining her “tweets,” Magsaysay told ANC it will not take the administration a year to implement a flood control program.

The blue-clad Valte replied that the current administration did “not even have a flood control program to speak of when we came in on June 30.”

She also stressed the government had to go over and assess the legality of previous contracts. She said it is not just the flood control program that the Aquino government was studying, but the entire infrastructure system.

Aquino also got hold of a real budget via the 2011 General Appropriations Act, she said.

Magsaysay responded, saying not a single penny has been released to the Department of Public Works Highways to implement the current administration’s programs.

During a congressional hearing, Magsaysay said she even had to ask Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson for additional help to offset the flood control program in her province. “He said nothing has been released to him either,” she added.

Was there a transition?

Magsaysay also lambasted Aquino for failing to attend anew the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting on Friday.

Valte said there was miscommunication but, “It was not on his schedule to go there in the first place…nonetheless, he has spoken to [Social Works Secretary Dinky Soliman and Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo] on Thursday night.”

Magsaysay said: “That’s where you see the flaw lies…Everyone was expecting him to be there.”

This was precisely what happened during the “turnover” of the 2 administrations, she said.

Citing discussions with Arroyo’s spokesperson, Magsaysay said the Aquino officials did not accede to a formal turnover of responsibilities. She said
Elena Bautista Horn even had to create 2 reports, one for the Balai faction and another for the Samar faction.

Valte, however, negated her statement, saying “a lot of career officials were there when we came in…There was a proper turnover.”

In the end, Magsaysay praised Valte for being more sober than her boss, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

“I think she’s better than the other one,” she added.