Press Briefing

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador S. Panelo


USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Good afternoon MPC, kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Good afternoon, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon, MPC.

I’d like to announce that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease met today and it has approved to impose a ban on the entry of travelers coming from the North Gyeongsang, Province of South Korea into Philippine territory effective immediately.

With respect to the other parts of South Korea, the IATF shall conduct a risk assessment of the situation within 48 hours to analyze whether it is necessary to expand the travel ban. In the meantime, strict protocols with respect to travelers entering the country from these areas in South Korea will continue to be observed.

The interagency has authorized Filipinos to travel to South Korea provided they are permanent residents thereof or leaving for study or are OFWs. They are to execute and sign a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved prior to their travel.

The safety and security of the Filipinos here and abroad remain our primary concern. Our countrymen’s welfare is the foremost in the mind of the President and as well as concerned officials and they will be discussing this matter and make recommendations with respect to the management of the coronavirus.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, just a quick clarification. So meaning sir, bawal iyong mga Filipino tourists na palabasin ng bansa going to any parts of South Korea? Just OFWs, permanent resident and iyong mga bibiyahe; tourists bawal for now?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, for their own safety.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Opo. And how will this affect especially the tourism industry in the country given that South Korea is our top tourism market?

SEC. PANELO: Well it will be affected but as we always say, we have to secure the safety of those coming here and leaving this country to Korea.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Secretary, tanong lang. Bakit hindi full iyong ban? Bakit isang—

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi doon galing yata iyong ano eh, doon lang may concentration ng virus.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So iyong ibang areas—

SEC. PANELO: Wala, malinis eh.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Pero, pinag-aaralan ninyo rin kung—

SEC. PANELO: Yes, of course. Eh kung medyo nagkaroon ng infection ‘di kasama na rin sila.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Kailan po kaya malalaman?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi natin alam. There is always a continuing study/assessment of the situation.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: How about iyong ibang bansa na may affected, wala pa po tayong decision like Singapore?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa, wala pang bago doon.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay, salamat Sec.

TRISHA MACAS/GMA NEWS ONLINE: Hi sir, I’m not sure if I quote this correctly but are we going now to impose quarantine among those people coming from South Korea for a forced home quarantine or 14-day quarantine?

SEC. PANELO: The same protocols apply to them, the previous protocols.

By the way, did you know about the repatriates? They have arrived early this morning. I would like to thank by the way those who helped, Japan especially and even Philippine Airlines. It was a joint effort by private and government action to successfully repatriate our countrymen.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Sec., pakiulit daw po iyong lugar sa Korea na binanggit ninyo kanina, medyo…

SEC. PANELO: North Gyeongsang, Province of South Korea.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Secretary, I understand the President attended a meeting of officials with regard to the African Swine Flu. Do you have any updates?

SEC. PANELO: No, I have not received any info on that yet.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Ah, wala pa po. Okay, salamat po.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Sec., nag-launch po ang British Embassy ng Defend Media Freedom Campaign dahil iyon na daw po iyong thrust ng British government na protektahan ang mga mamamahayag sa buong mundo ‘no. At doon sa—may ulat pang ginawa si Ambassador Daniel Pruce at sinasabi niya, “Ang kalayaan ng media ay ang ating kalayaan.” Ulitin ko sir ‘no, “Ang kalayaan ng media ay ang ating kalayaan.” Ano po ang reaksiyon ng Palasyo?

SEC. PANELO: We’re for that. The President has always emphasized that we have the right to express ourselves; we have the right to peaceful assembly and express our grievances. This is one President that will always encourage dissent and freedom of expression as well as of the press.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7: Thank you.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, have you asked the President if he has accepted ABS-CBN’s apology?

SEC. PANELO: We haven’t talked yet. I’ve been trying to reach him, but he’s so busy with so many work. Hopefully I’ll be talking to him after this. Wala pa eh…

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir with this apology, will the government still pursue the quo warranto petition or do you think the apology is enough?

SEC. PANELO: Let me again reiterate the position: The quo warranto has nothing to do with the personal feeling of displeasure, hurt and offense of the President. The SolGen has a constitutional duty to do what he has done and the President has nothing to do also with the work of Congress. The franchise renewal of ABS-CBN has been there, filed in 2014 prior to the assumption of this President. So, there is no way by which anybody can be blaming this President for the inaction of Congress whether the previous Congress or the present Congress. The grant and renewal lies mainly and exclusively with Congress.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, do you think the lawmakers should be held accountable for supposedly dragging their feet on the franchise renewal bills in the Lower House?

SEC. PANELO: They should be accountable to the people. They’re supposed to represent their districts, so they will have to account for their constituents why they have not done anything of this particular subject matter. I understand there is a move for a joint—or concurrent resolution or extension. I will repeat what I said yesterday I think or the other day that if they can pass a resolution [laughs]… I cannot understand why they cannot pass a law on either the renewal of the—or grant of a franchise whether with respect to ABS-CBN or other pending applicants. Because the vote needed for a resolution is a majority vote. The vote needed for passing a law is also a majority vote.

You must remember that a resolution is not binding and the expiration of the franchise will be on May 4, 15 days after the publication in the newspaper of general circulation. And also… I think yesterday also, that was also—when was the Senate hearing? Was that yesterday or the day before? The day before… I already issued also an opinion on the fact that a resolution cannot be binding, it has to be a law. And the former Chief Justice Puno shared my opinion. He just made a legal opinion on that because there has been a Supreme Court ruling many years ago that a resolution cannot be as binding and effective as a law. So they really need to do their work.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Good afternoon, sir! Sir, last Monday Senator Bong Go made a statement during the senate hearing. He said he will appeal to the President for the simple reason na ayaw kong may mawalan ng trabaho. Hindi po ba ito contrasting doon po sa binabanggit n’yo na walang magagawa ang Presidente kasi nga ang franchise renewal ay nakadepende sa Kongreso but—

SEC. PANELO: No…

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: But Senator Bong Go said, he will appeal to the President.

SEC. PANELO: He will appeal to the President na huwag ng magalit sa ABS – CBN, nothing to do with the renewal. Iba naman ‘yung— ‘Di ba sinasabi niya—you remember the premise of his remarks were to the fact that hindi mababaw ‘yung galit ni Presidente, may pinanggagalingan, may pinaghuhugutan. Kaya mag-a-appeal sa Presidente na huwag ng magalit.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: So, the President will be able to set aside his displeasure for the sake of the eleven thousand employees who may lose their job po?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman ‘yan ang pinag-uusapan. Ang sinasabi, ang pinag-uusapan ‘yung… ‘yung sama ng loob niya. Kay Senator Go, ang gusto ni Se—Hindi mo ba—You should listen to the entire remarks of Senator Go. Ang sabi niya, gawan na ng paraan pero huwag n’yong gawing pulitika ‘yan. in other words, he’s prodding the House of Representatives to do its job, to deliberate and if the franchise is or has complied or whether the applicant has complied with whatever requirements the law imposes, then they should renew. ‘Yun ang punto ni Senator Go.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay Sec. So, sinabi n’yo ang sabi ni Senator Go para hindi na magalit si Presidente sa ABS-CBN?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi… Ang sinasabi niya mag-a-appeal daw siya na huwag nang magalit si President.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Kaya nga.

SEC. PANELO: Kasi nga ang nangyayari kasi ang galit niya parang napagkakamalan ng mga iba na konektado doon sa pag-grant ng franchise.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Ano po kaya ang mangyayari kapag hindi na magalit ang Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: O, eh ‘di hindi na siya magmumura sa ABS –CBN! Baka mapatawad niya pa, hindi na niya i-demanda.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Pero walang bearing sa franchise?

SEC. PANELO: Walang bearing ‘yun.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Kung hindi man siya magalit—

SEC. PANELO: Paulit-ulit na nating sinabi ‘yun eh.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: O, sige po.

USEC. ROCKY: Segue ka na sa other issue.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay, Sec. Sabi ng mga reports naipasa na daw ni Senator de Lima ‘yung mga listahan ng mga taong pinapa-ban sa US—sa US Embassy. This is in relation to the people who are supposedly responsible for her arrest and detention, ano po ‘yung take ng Malacañang?

SEC. PANELO: You must remember na ‘yung… ‘yung amendment refers to violators of human rights ‘di umano and allegedly she’s one of those victims. But she’s forgetting that she’s also a violator of human rights. Kaya nga siya naka-demanda eh! O baka—Kung hindi niya nilagay ‘yung pangalan niya doon na number one, eh… mali ‘yung listahan niya on the assumption na totoo ‘yung sinasabi niya. Kasama siya doon dapat.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, how is Malacañang taking this submission of the list?

SEC. PANELO: Well, hindi ba sabi natin any country has the authority, the discretion to ban any foreigner.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Nanguna doon si President Duterte. What do you think will be his take on this?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, wala… Hindi ba he already made a statement on that? He’s not interested! he’s not even interested in going there. ‘Di ba he declined the invitation na nga?

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: But will there be an effort to contest sabi n’yo nga ‘di ba… sabi n’yo hindi siya—hindi naman totoo ‘yung claims ni Senator de Lima na she’s being persecuted so—

SEC. PANELO: Nasa ano ‘yan… nasa US government ‘yan kasi sila rin ang nagbigay ng colatilla. If there is sufficient basis, legal basis, ‘di ba, na totoo—Unang-una, is it wrongful? Ipinakita na nga natin na hindi wrongful.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay, Sec.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, balik lang doon sa South Korea. Sir, how will the government be able to identify kung sino-sino ‘yung mga nanggagaling doon sa specific area na ‘yun ‘yung North Gyeongsang Province kasi ‘yung mga nag—pumupunta dito sa Pilipinas nanggagaling either sa Incheon, Busan, and Jeju?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam kung ano ang protocol nila doon, I will ask them how. Siguro in cooperation with the Korean government because the Korean government, remember, is trying also very hard to contain the spread of the virus, so magkakaroon siguro sila ng coordination.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, how is our level of coordination, sir with the South Korean government?

SEC. PANELO: I suppose maganda ang coordination natin kasi lahat ng bansa naman nagco-coordinate ngayon eh.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Alright, sir.

SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Balik lang ako po sir doon sa…regarding po doon sa ASF. May bago po bang parang ano—

SEC. PANELO: ‘Yung alin… ‘yung alin?

SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sa ASF po – African swine fever.

SEC. PANELO: Applicants for?

SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: African—

MPC: (OFF MIC) African swine fever.

SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: May bago po bang marching order raw po si President Duterte regarding po doon sa ASF, lalo na kung nag-spread na siya sa Mindanao?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa akong balita roon as I’ve said earlier. I have not received any info on that.

SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sige po.

SEC. PANELO: ‘Pag mayroon na, we’ll issue a statement. Meanwhile, there is a new officer-in-charge of the National Bureau of Investigation following the, I understand the retirement of the Director – Guiran. It’s Mr. Eric Bito-on Distor. So, it’s Mr. Eric Bito-on, tapos family name niya is Distor, D-I-S-T-O-R. Officer-in-charge of the Office of the Director, National Bureau of Investigation effective February 23 until a replacement is approved or until otherwise decided by the Office of the Executive Secretary.

USEC. ROCKY: Okay. MPC – last two, Francis and then Ian. Ian, no more? Okay. no more questions. MPC? Okay. Thank you, Secretary Panelo—

SEC. PANELO: By the way, we reiterate our condolences to the family of VP Leni on the demise of the mother. I’m going there to express our condolences.

MPC: When sir?

SEC. PANELO: Today… today.

MPC: (OFF MIC)

SEC. PANELO: I’m leaving shortly, yes.

MPC: (OFF MIC)

SEC. PANELO: He wants to go pero ang daming trabaho kasi eh. Since—ako na lang siguro muna.

MPC: (OFF MIC)

SEC. PANELO: Ano? Ano?

MPC: Upon the order daw ba ng President?

USEC. ROCKY: Use your microphone, please.

SEC. PANELO: I’ll be representing him. If he—He wanted to go, ‘yun ang sinabi sa akin.

MPC: (OFF MIC)

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, of course.

USEC. ROCKY: Okay. Thank you, Secretary Panelo. Thank you, MPC.

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Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)