Interview

Ambush interview with Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo by the Malacañang Press Corps

Q: Sir, is Malacañang confident na hindi maaagaw na naman iyong limelight kay President sa Lunes dahil doon sa imminent ruckus or coup sa House speakership po?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman naaagaw. Kahit naman may ruckus, palaging si Presidente presidente pa rin: Siya pa rin ang star.

Q: Sir, may pa-breakfast daw po bukas si Pulong. And actually ngayon, currently, may umiikot daw na manifest of support sa Duterte coalition. Although hindi naman naka-state doon sa manifesto na urging them to support iyong gusto talaga nila na candidate for House Speaker, pero what does it say? Are we concerned na this could be, you know, not following President’s order—

SEC. PANELO: Basta ang line ni Presidente, parang inulit niya nga kagabi, “Basta they came to me; they sought my help; I gave them the formula.” So it’s their ball. The ball is in their hand.

Q: So makakaupo si Cayetano, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi natin alam. Ang nagdi-decide naman niyan ay hindi si Presidente, ‘di ba – ang members of the House.

Q: Sir, kung hindi suportahan si Cayetano at iba ang iupo nila, what would be the reaction of the President? Would he be okay—

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba sinabi na niya, ‘di ba tinanong siya, “Do you mind?” “I don’t mind.” ‘Di ba sabi niya? Kasi nga—

Q: Wishful thinking daw na hindi si Alan ang [unclear] sabi niya.

SEC. PANELO: Puwede ring wishful thinking, puwede rin naman… kasi—basta the premise is, he did not want to interfere, ever since. His help was sought deliberately by them. So obliging them, he gave a formula. So it’s for them.

Q: So are you confident, sir, that Alan Cayetano would be elected as House Speaker?

SEC. PANELO: I do not know because I’m not a member of the House.

Q: Pero would the President accept whoever sits in the (unclear)

SEC. PANELO: Does he have a choice if one is elected Speaker? I don’t think he has a choice, ‘di ba?

Q: So he will not talk to Congress when if in case hindi si Cayetano ang biglang iupo?

SEC. PANELO: No. President will never interfere. Basta Kongreso, trabaho nila iyon. Basta siya, hiningi ang tulong niya, binigay niya – nasa kanila na iyon.

Q: Sir, anong reaksiyon niya doon sa one-year old? Iyong sa one-year old na pinatay.

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba, I already issued a statement. It’s a condemnable act. The President is very concerned about that. And he wants to know whether that’s a drug influenced given the atrocity of the crime. He really wants to know how it happened, what triggered it. The man was arrested already, the suspect.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Manlalaban ba iyon, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ayan, that’s an example na there is no such animal as extrajudicial killing in this administration because there are—you know, I think, there are 93,000 arrests. Ang dami-daming aresto, sana namatay na lahat iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Well, buhay pa siya ngayon.

SEC. PANELO: Sino?

Q: Iyong suspect.

SEC. PANELO: Naaresto na nga. Nakademanda na nga.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Uy, may mga naaaresto na natetegi.

SEC. PANELO: Baka sila-sila ang nagpapatayan.

Q: May directive ba si President on—

SEC. PANELO: On what?

Q: … the investigation.

SEC. PANELO:  On that person? Yeah, di ba sabi, sabi niya, but he doesn’t even have to instruct that kasi iyon na ang SOP nila eh.

Q: Sir, sundot lang: Erwin Tulfo daw po ang magiging bagong Presidential Communications Secretary? And then si Secretary Andanar sa Northern Mindanao—

SEC. PANELO: Parang matagal ko nang narinig … noon pa iyan ‘di ba. Several months ago pa iyan.

Q: Anong sabi ni PRRD?

SEC. PANELO: Never siyang nagbanggit tungkol diyan.

Q: Pero mayroon ngang mga minor changes sa Cabinet?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Sino bang nagsabing mayroon?

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Dapat siya ang tanungin ninyo.

Q: Sir, sinabi rin raw iyon sa Cabinet meeting. Bakit hindi ninyo po narinig, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, baka he was referring only to Secretary Piñol.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko narinig iyong kay Martin.

Q:  So pagdating ng SONA, same Cabinet Members pa rin tayo, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I think so. ‘Di ba sabi ko palagi, subject to change without prior notice. That’s the absolute privilege of the President.

Q: Sir, do you think Tulfo is qualified to become the next PCOO Secretary?

SEC. PANELO: That’s the prerogative of the President. Palaging si Presidente ang may ano doon.

Q: But will he be a good addition to the Cabinet, an asset to the Cabinet?

SEC. PANELO: If the President appoints him, then he is a good addition.

Q:  Eh, ano kaya ang tingin sir ni Secretary Bautista?

SEC. PANELO:  Secretary Bautista? – About what?

Q:  Minura niya kaya…

SEC. PANELO:  Ah, baka naman tapos na iyon. Baka they are friends now.

Q:  Parang hindi pa nagbabayad ‘di ba?

SEC. PANELO:  Pero wala akong naririnig about Erwin Tulfo ha. Hindi ko naririnig iyon. Parang noon ko pa narinig iyon eh, matagal na iyon.

Q:  Sir sabi, signed na iyong paper.

Q:  Sa SONA daw sir sasabihin.

SEC. PANELO:  O, eh ‘di that’s news – breaking news.

Q:  Sir ano nga to, SONA. To be honest, saan medyo may kulang si PR—I mean, saan puwedeng area of improvement ni PRRD?

SEC. PANELO:  Area of improvement?

Q:  Yeah.

SEC. PANELO:  I think he should not be spending too much time attending to all his activities at the sacrifice of his health. He’s working too hard, and we told him so. “Mr. President magbakasyon ka naman, at least two weeks.” Sabi niya, “Paano ako magbabakasyon, tambak ang trabaho ko.

Q:  Ba’t ano bang nararamdaman niya?

SEC. PANELO: Wala siyang nararamdaman kundi palaging pagod. ‘Di ba, hindi mo ba napapansin palaging pagod? He’s always moving.

Q:  Wala na daw siyang ganang kumain.

SEC. PANELO:  Kulang nga ang—‘di ba kulang ang sleep, kasi biglang mayroong morning. Eh hindi ba night person siya, tapos gagawin mong speaker alas otso ng umaga, talagang mahihirapan siya.

Q:  Sir, sino sir nagsasabi that the most of the members of the Cabinet are advising him to slow down?

SEC. PANELO:  Kami, kasi nakikita namin na talagang… masyado siyang masipag eh. We can hardly catch up with his work schedule.

Q:  Nabanggit ‘to sir sa Cabinet meeting?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, ‘pag kami-kami. ‘Pag halimbawa.. ‘pag break time, kuwento-kuwento…

Q:  And anong reaction niya, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Maraming trabaho eh. Ayoko na nga eh.” Hindi ba, gusto niya nga mag-resign eh.

Q:  Pero he’s okay naman, ang health?

SEC. PANELO:  Ah he’s okay. Kung health wise, ah malakas si Presidente. Titingnan ninyo iyong handshake niya: ‘Pag ang handshake niya malakas ang grip that means nakatulog ‘yan ng mga 6 hours, oo. Hindi… ‘pag mahina lang, iyong nakaganun lang, ah kulang ang tulog niyan. That’s what I told him, “Halatang-halata ka ‘pag kulang ka ng tulog Mr. President.

Q:  So next time sir, kakamayan na namin.

SEC. PANELO:  Oo kamayan mo, tingnan ninyo. ‘Pag ang grip niya ano, okay ‘yan…

Q:  Sir, is he feeling burnout na ba sa work?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi naman burnout, masyado lang siyang masipag – workaholic eh. Kasi siya lang hindi ba, siya lang ang presidenteng lahat pinupuntahan niya yata… mga patay na mga sundalo, mga pulis… Wala namang presidenteng gumawa niyan, not even Magsaysay did that.

Q:  So will he lessen his workload or reduce, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, masyadong—siguro ano, phasing na lang. Ako, if I were with the protocol, ipi-phase ko na lang iyong work niya.

Q:  Parang scattered iyong sched?

SEC. PANELO:  Oo, hindi iyong sunud-sunod.

Q:  Sir, tantanan na iyong mga 12 o’clock/ala una na interview… Pero sir, siya—himself, how would you describe, ano ba, his workload? Iyong naririnig ninyo sa kaniya na parang…

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, natatambakan nga siya ng trabaho. Parang akin din, iyong sa lamesa ko, ‘pag ako mayroong official trip.

Q:  What does he feel? Does he feel exhausted or medyo…

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, napapagod lang siya pero hindi naman siya nagko-complain. Kaya—pero hindi ba sinasabi niya, “Mahirap magpresidente, kaya ayaw kong tumakbo. It’s a thankless job. Ginagawa mo nang lahat, minumura ka pa, sinisiraan ka pa.” Pero sabi niya, “Nandito na ako,” sabi niya, “tatapusin ko na lang.

Q:  thank you, sir.

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

 

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