MANILA, Philippines - Presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas on Monday formally apologized to the government after he was caught buying pirated DVDs in a Quezon City mall last week.
In a statement, Llamas said he apologized for "any difficulty and unintended embarrassment for the administration as a result of the publication of a news article with accompanying photo on his purchase of pirated DVDs."
Llamas said he opted to be silent initially so as not to undermine the inquiry initiated by Malacanang. "It was the most prudent thing to do in light of the inquiry that the Executive Secretary has launched," he said.
He added that he likewise wanted to show his respect for President Aquino, aware of concerns over pressing issues that required the government’s prompt attention. "I didn’t want the government to expend its energy over [the] regretful incident, and so I submitted to the process that was launched and I am read to face the findings and recommendations of the inquiry," he said.
It was earlier reported that Llamas apologized to the President for impropriety and lack of discretion for buying the DVDs.
Former President Joseph Estrada, meanwhile, said Aquino has no reason to fire Llamas.
Estrada said that anti-piracy measures must be strengthened but this has nothing to do with Llamas. "Llamas has not done anything to lose the trust and confidence of the president. Buying pirated DVDs has no relation to his duties as Political Affairs Secretary," he said.
Estrada added that neither was Llamas act of buying DVDs an act of graft and corruption. "Hindi naman siya nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan," he added.
But Estrada said that he hopes that the administration will enforce stricter measures against piracy.
"Kaya naghihirap ang ating mga movie producers, dahil patuloy pa rin ang piracy sa ating bansa. Dapat matigil na iyan. Pero at the same time, dapat din magkaroon ng improvement sa job creation, you have to give them (vendors of pirated DVDs) alternative sources of income. Pero walang kinalaman si Llamas sa issue na iyan because he is a Political Affairs Secretary, dapat ang imbestigahan ang head ng anti-piracy campaign at malaman kung bakit meron pang nagbebenta doon," the former president said. With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News