Malacañang on Wednesday claimed that President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s men were in Tacloban City when the super typhoon hit the region.
Before the typhoon made landfall, President Aquino ordered Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to go to Leyte to lead the preparations.
In his column in The Manila Times, former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao said that both secretaries “were incommunicado for two whole days,” despite the fact that they were given a satellite phone to communicate from Tacloban City.
Tiglao said that “Gazmin and Roxas haven’t reported exactly where they were during the storm, and how they survived it.”
”They were both in Tacloban City,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told The Times, as he denied that Gazmin and Roxas were “incommunicado.”
”The President and Secretary Gazmin were talking around 5 o’clock of Friday. I know that because I was there when we were setting that up,” he said.
The Palace official claimed that both secretaries could not be contacted because the communication lines in Tacloban are down.
”As a matter of fact, the first contact between the President and Secretary Gazmin was not through the smartphone, it was through military radio, which we are able to set up that afternoon,” he added.
Right after the President talked to Gazmin, Almendras said that he then proceeded to the office of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
”When he heard the extent of the situation—we were immediately dispatched to get ready and move,” he noted.
”They were all over the place . . . As a matter of fact, Friday afternoon, I know that they walked around Tacloban not all over Tacloban because walang kotse e but I knew that they were walking around coz that was when they described the situation and that was really disturbing,” he said.