|Queen of All Media Kris Aquino, one of the President's sisters
MANILA, Philippines – Kris Aquino, Pinky Aquino-Abellada and Ballsy Aquino-Cruz defended their brother, President Benigno Aquino III, who is drawing flak for attending a Christmas party while the country was mourning the deaths of hundreds of people killed by tropical storm "Sendong" (international name: Washi).
On ABS-CBN morning show "Kris TV" hosted by Kris, Ballsy reiterated that the President intends to visit Cagayan de Oro, one of the areas worst hit by the floods.
"Talagang pinaplano na nga [ng Pangulo] na pumunta sa CDO. Alam mo kapag pangulo ka, hindi ura-urada ay gagawin mo 'yon at saka titignan lahat. Pero narinig ko na pinag-uusapan na ng PSG (Presidential Security Group) at PMS (Presidential Management Staff) kung ano ang gagawin," she said.
"Ngayon, 'yun namang party ay matagal nang naka-schedule 'yon. Siyempre, may mga masasamang nangyayari at may malungkot but then, life should go on. Hindi naman pwedeng huminto na lang ang buhay at magmukmok na lang tayo.
"That party was for the PSG, ang mga nag-aalaga sa Pangulo at sa kanyang pamilya. Tradisyon 'yon na talagang every year ay nagsasama-sama. Kasi it's time to thank them for always being there. At saka alam naman nating lahat na binibigay nila ang buhay nila para mapangalagaan ang Pangulo. At talagang nasa Constitution na dapat mapangalagaan ang Pangulo. Kung di man sa Constitution, there's some law."
Pinky, on the other hand, explained that the President does not want his arrival to disrupt rescue operations.
"Pinaghahandaan niya ang pagdating niya, ayaw niyang makagulo nang ganoon. So as early as Saturday, alam na natin na Tuesday ilalatag nila lahat. Sana ay hindi siya makaabala doon sa government agencies na talagang working hard to save as many lives as possible," she said.
Kris, for her part, said critics should give the President and their family a break.
"I think hindi niyo po maiaalis sa amin na gusto naming i-depensa ang kapatid namin. The entire night, also Saturday, when we were together, he was constantly on the phone monitoring everything. I think today ang pagpunta ko although I'm going with ABS-CBN. I'm also representing him. I think in many cases talaga, the three of us were able to do that and also there are a lot of security concerns as well," she said.
"Pero siguro hindi niyo maiaalis sa amin na sabihin namin na it's not like he doesn't care. Give me a break, diba? Siyempre pangulo siya ng Pilipinas at mahal niya ang ating mga kababayan. So siyempre, gagawin naman niya ang lahat.
"Sana huwag napakabilis ng batikos kasi napakaraming ahensiya ang nagtatrabaho na. It's just that a President is not like you or me na we can hop on a plane and go there because there are a lot of national concerns.
Actress Valerie Concepcion said on Twitter that she attended a Christmas party for the PSG, where she performed and rubbed elbows with the President.
She even said that the President laughed at her jokes.
After getting negative comments for sounding insensitive, Concepcion apologized for her words.