USEC. ROCKY: Good afternoon, MPC. Kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Good afternoon, sir.
SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon, MPC. Ready!F
USEC. ROCKY: Questions, MPC? Ace.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Secretary, you mentioned yesterday that the Philippines is not eyeing a new defense deal with the US—
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Ah, okay—
SEC. PANELO: Nor with any other country.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay. But then, there are reports quoting the ambassador, si Ambassador Romualdez as saying na he met with US counterparts to discuss a possible… or maybe a similar new deal. Will there be instruction from the Palace for the Ambassador to refrain from talking to his counterpart with regard to a possible new defense pact?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t think you can stop the Ambassador from entertaining initiatives coming from his counterpart. Anyway, all those are exploratory talks and assuming that they are—because he denied that. The President’s position remains unchanged.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: But you won’t stop the Philippines from talking to the US about that or probably ‘yung proposals?
SEC. PANELO: As I said, you cannot stop that Ambassador from entertaining talks or initiatives coming from his counterpart – and that’s diplomacy.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, diplomacy na lang, kasi parang wala ring katuturan ‘yun kung hindi rin naman ia-approve ni Presidente eventually sabi n’yo nga.
SEC. PANELO: Bakit naman walang katuturan? ‘Pag nag-usap ang dalawang ambassador, may katuturan ‘yun. For future use kumbaga, alam mo na…
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Future use, meaning?
SEC. PANELO: Whatever. Baka they want to talk. Hayaan mo na silang mag-usap, basta the position of the President remains unchanged.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay, salamat po.
TINA PANGANIBAN–PEREZ/GMA: Sir, Tina po from GMA. Sir, may mga Chinese murder suspects po na pumatay sa kapwa Chinese nila na may mga ID raw ng People’s Liberation Army ng China. Maraming mga netizens kasi have expressed worry that baka ito na ‘yung nangyari noon nung time ng war na civilian pupunta dito tapos biglang mag-uuniporme and then they’ll take over the country. Wala po bang directive ‘yung Palasyo sa mga law enforcement agencies on this?
SEC. PANELO: Any crime committed in this country will be investigated and the perpetrators thereof prosecuted.
TRICIA TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, since the President is pushing for an independent foreign policy—
SEC. PANELO: Yes!
TRICIA TERADA/CNN PHILIPPINES: What will happen, sir, to the existing VFA for example with Australia, is he also keen on terminating this?
SEC. PANELO: As I said, the present agreement with Australia and even with Japan will remain until such time as they… like the US, committed acts that are deemed to be an assault on our sovereignty.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, follow-up lang po doon sa POGO—
SEC. PANELO: Yeah.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: —issue dahil mayroon pong mga kuro-kuro na baka daw nagagamit na ‘yung POGO doon sa intelligence gathering specifically after nung lumabas na reports na mukhang People’s Liberation Army ‘yung pumatay doon sa isang Chinese na involved doon sa online gaming. So, are you looking into this possibility, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Those are being investigated by the law enforcement agencies.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: And what are the chances na baka nga totoo ‘yung mga ganitong theory because even Senator Gordon is saying that there is a possibility?
SEC. PANELO: We have to wait for the result on the investigation.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Is this a cause of concern on the part of the Palace?
SEC. PANELO: Anything that goes against the interest of the country is a cause of concern by this government and, for that matter, any government.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: But following all these theories and concerns, maghihigpit ba tayo when it comes doon sa mga issues ng POGO?
SEC. PANELO: That goes without saying because as the President says, any violation of any Immigration Law or any law of this country will be… will not be countenanced.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Thank you, sir.
JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, about ‘yung sa sinabi ni Senator Gordon last week na mayroon daw millions of dollars na dinala ng mga Chinese nationals dito sa Philippines from December to January. Is the President aware of this through his independent intelligence sources or has he made any directive?
SEC. PANELO: He hasn’t mentioned anything about that. But if the good senator has information on that, I think they should provide us with intelligence reports so that we can pursue their line of belief on that matter.
JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Senator Gordon kasi is concerned that it might be a grand money laundering scheme. So, what directives will the President issue to the AMLC for example?
SEC. PANELO: That is precisely why I said they should help the government, provide information so that we can properly address the matter.
JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Will the Palace also conduct its own investigation?
SEC. PANELO: I thought there will be a Senate investigation on that?
JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: But for the Palace side, will the Palace conduct its own probe of Senator Gordon’s discoveries?
SEC. PANELO: Most likely it will; but if there is already a Senate investigation, ordinarily, the President waits for that.
JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Thank you, sir.
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Hi, sir. Hingi lang po kami ng reaction regarding po doon sa recent decision po ng WTO na hindi i-recognize ‘yung petition ng Philippine government to reco—for the Thailand—
SEC. PANELO: What was that again? W?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: T-O—
SEC. PANELO: World Health Organization?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Hindi po, World Trade Organization.
SEC. PANELO: Huh?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: World Trade Organization po.
SEC. PANELO: Trade. World Trade Organization, yes. What about it?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Does the Palace still have faith in the WTO Multilateral System after the Philippine government failed to secure approval from WTO to suspend concession to Thailand imports as a retaliation to its non-compliance with the cigarette—
SEC. PANELO: I will leave that to the Secretary of Labor.
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Labor po, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Yeah.
MPC: [OFF MIC] Trade.
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, because Secretary of Labor ‘pag trade labor ‘yan di ‘ba plus DFA.
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, DTI po yata ‘yung nagha-handle nung—
SEC. PANELO: Whatever. Pati ‘yung agency na ‘yun. Lahat naman ‘yun involved diyan. ‘Pag sinabi mong trade kasama lahat ‘yan eh.
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir—
SEC. PANELO: We will have to wait for the recommendation of these appropriate agencies before we can respond.
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, last na lang po. Mayroon po bang reaction po ‘yung Palace regarding po doon sa statement ng some US lawmakers na—
SEC. PANELO: That?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Statement po ng some US lawmakers na nagpu-push po na ma-remove ‘yung preferential treatment ng Philippines dahil po doon sa mga human rights violations raw po na nandito sa—
SEC. PANELO: What do you mean by preferential treatment?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: ‘Yun po ‘yung sa ano po… parang binibigyan tayo ng parang mga concession for—
SEC. PANELO: Like?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Parang exemption from taxes sa US goods po. ‘Pag nag-e-export po tayo sa US mayroon po tayong nakukuhang ano… na parang…
MPC: [OFF MIC] Lower rates.
SEC. PANELO: So, your question is?
SAM MEDENILLA/BUSINESS MIRROR: Kung mayroon po bang concerns ‘yung Malacañang regarding po doon sa possible removal po ng preferential treatment sa Philippines.
SEC. PANELO: The position of the President is to have an independent foreign policy. And that means if any treaty or agreement is abrogated then necessarily certain consequences will follow. And the President has already said that he has studied that. So we are prepared for whatever consequences that may arise out of the abrogation or termination of any executive agreement or treaty.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, following on Sam’s question. When you said that the administration is studying all the possible consequences, is it ready also—
SEC. PANELO: Not studying but we are prepared for any consequence.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: But are we also prepared for the potential economic loss once we lose this—
SEC. PANELO: It goes without saying we are all prepared for that. That would be the logical consequence of having an independent foreign policy.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: Okay. Thank you, sir.
USEC. ROCKY: Questions, MPC? No more? Wala na tayong tanong?
SEC. PANELO: Wala na rin ‘yung sa ABS? Finally, tapos na ‘yung issue doon ‘no.
USEC. ROCKY: Henry, may tanong? Wala na? Okay na, Henry?
SEC. PANELO: Has there been a resolution already?
HENRY URI/DZRH: Sir, ‘yung nangyari lang pagsasara ng Honda and—
SEC. PANELO: Honda, yes.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Yes. I think Congressman Gaite is asking for the President’s action. Ano daw po ang aksyon dito ng Palasyo?
SEC. PANELO: Tungkol sa pagsarado?
HENRY URI/DZRH: Lalo na doon sa mga displaced na manggagawa.
SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba nga sabi nga natin because of the Build Build Build Projects, mayroon silang puwedeng paglagyan kung matuloy na; but according to Honda, ang ganda-ganda ng retirement package nila eh or separation package na… will provide them or they can be… no worries at least for next several months.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Opo, pero ‘yung mga mawawalan ng trabaho, anong immediate solutions diyan ng—
SEC. PANELO: Kung ‘yung magandang package nila, wala muna silang problema siguro within the first year. And meanwhile, I don’t think they will just sit down and not look for jobs, siguro maghahanap din ‘yan ng trabaho and since marami naman tayong bagong projects, baka makapasok sila doon.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Alright. Thank you.
USEC. ROCKY: Okay. Questions? No more question, MPC? Okay. Thank you, Secretary Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Thank you.
USEC. ROCKY: Thank you, MPC.
Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)