Lacierda denies he is moving to NEDA

By Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Nov 04 2013 09:19 AM | Updated as of Nov 04 2013 05:19 PM

LONDON - Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda denied he is moving to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

"I don't know why sinabing I will be kicked upstairs. I'm already a cabinet secretary. The only way that I will be kicked upstairs is I become the Vice President or ES (executive secretary) but those positions are not available. So it's not true. I don't know where it came from," said Lacierda, who represented President Benigno Aquino III in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit and met with the Filipino Community (Filcom) after the two-day global summit.

"Alam po ninyo si [Socioeconomic Planning Secretary] Arsie Balisacan is what you call the poverty expert that's why he was put in NEDA to help the president address the poverty situation. I'm not in a position to replace an expert like secretary Arsie Balisacan. So it's not true," he added.

Lacierda also clarified that he is happy with the new press briefing schedule in Malacañang because this has given him more time to deal with paper works in his office.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma recently joined the team of presidential spokespersons that regularly briefs reporters covering Malacañang.

Coloma denied he is taking over the duties of the President’s spokespersons, saying that he only wants to help in delivering information and explaining issues to the public.

During the Filcom meeting at the Philippine Embassy in London, Lacierda wasted no time in defending the president, who has been criticized for his decision to hold on to his discretionary funds.

"There's really a demolition job against the President. The way the President describes it is the inevitability of treading the state body is that you're going to disturb some people's rice bowls," he said.

"It's going to be a protracted battle. We keep on telling the people this is what we have right now. PDAF deals with criminality, wrong-doing. The issue on official savings deals with constitutionality. It's not nanakaw but rather tama ang ginawa pag- lipat ng savings. But those savings, let me emphasize, are being used for other worthwhile projects," Lacierda said.

Despite having spokespersons, Lacierda said it was the president's decision to personally address the people in a televised statement last October 30 to discuss issues involving Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

"Naging desisyon po ng pangulo iyun na nais niyang kausapin ang mga Pilipino through a televised pronouncement. Iba po pag ang presidente na ang nagsalita kahit mayroon siyang spokesperson. Malaki po ang kaibahan kapag pinuno na ang nagsalita kaya minabuti po ng pangulo na siya ang magpaliwanag,' he said.

Filipinos in London were keen to understand more about national issues confronted by the Aquino administration, particularly current issues involving the PDAF and DAP.