Interview

Interview with Presidential Chief Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Salvador Panelo (Howie Severino – News to Go)

Event Interview

SEC. PANELO:  (recording starts) So, hindi siya kontra sa BOL. Since nandiyan na iyan, inaprubahan na, he is supporting that. In fact may mga miyembro nga sa transition authority ang MNLF eh, otherwise di hindi na sana sila pumasok.

SEVERINO:  Okay, pero isn’t he also  parang kind  of gaining influence by giving him this kind of attention and perhaps even making him a potential spoiler of this  entire process, if he kunwari, he makes suggestions tapos hindi  siya pakinggan, ano kaya ang maging reaction niya. Because we know what happened in Zamboanga in 2013, di ba medyo naging malaking krisis sa Mindanao iyong naganap doon?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh, kasi mali ang pag-handle ng previous administration sa kanya. Alam mo hindi iyong sinasabi natin na binibigyan natin ng impluwensiya si Chairman Misuari. Chairman Misuari is a very honorable, reasonable man.  We dealt with him, he was my client.

SEVERINO:  He was your client.

SEC. PANELO:  Yes, he was my client, natandaan mo noong dinemanda ng rebellion, na-absuwelto namin iyan, kami nila Art Clint, kaming mga abogado niya eh.  Maano siya, mabait na tao, matuwid siyang mag-isip, very reasonable nga siya. Hindi siya spoiler na tinatawag. Malayung-malayo sa paningin ng iba iyong pagka-spoiler niya. Gusto niya magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa Mindanao at sa Pilipinas, iyan ang Misuari.

SEVERINO:  Okay. Sir if I may just turn to another topic. Iyong bagama’t ngayon sinasabi nga ng Pangulo na ‘wag saktan ang mga pari at Obispo, binabanatan pa rin niya iyong simbahan and I think I heard you on the radio earlier today saying it’s just a joke. But when you listen to him, he doesn’t sound like he is joking, when talking about the church, priest, bishops, etc, in a kind of tone that – it doesn’t sound like he is joking. What’s the real score here, ano bang—isn’t this kind of confusing for the public for you to say he is just joking. And then when you listen to the President, he doesn’t sound like he is joking, he is sound kind of angry at the church, at priest and bishops?

SEC. PANELO:  You know when you are referring to the President with respect to his delivery of his utterances: siya, iyan ang kanyang style ever since na Mayor pa siya. And when you say the public will be confused, I don’t think so, because the public precisely know him. Alam nila na nagbibiro siya, kung titingnan mo siya, alam mo naman kung nagbibiro o hindi eh, meron siyang mga galaw na alam mong he is joking lang siya.

Kaya in fact, hindi ba nagsalita na siya na “wag ninyong galawin iyang mga obispong iyan, kasi iyong galit ko, eh personal”. Personal kasi naging biktima siya sa mga ilang pari lang, hindi naman sa simbahan ang binabanatan niya.

SEVERINO:  Okay, sir. But if the public understand  that he is just joking, ay si Bishop Pablo David  has shared with us,  with  people na tini-threaten po siya by text messages  in capital letters daw  itong mga death threats sa kanya and to the point where   he fears for his life. So, it seems like some people listening, actually, maybe taking the President seriously when he expresses anger at the Bishops. At kapag sinasabi niyang personal na ano ito, I mean, why is he using  official  platforms and official occasions  and official audiences to, kind  of  ventilate on something  that’s very personal  that could  be misinterpreted  and lead to  threats of violence against people,  against priest and bishops?

SEC. PANELO:  Alam mo, dalawa iyan Howie, dalawa iyan. Iyong sinasabing threat, puwedeng hindi totoong may threat, puwedeng may nagloloko lang sa kaniya.

SEVERINO:  It could be a joke also the threats could also be a joke iyon ang sinasabi ninyo.

SEC. PANELO:  Or puwede rin naman na sa kalaban nanggagaling iyan. Kasi di ba sinabi nga ni Presidente itong mga kritiko at mga oposisyon na ito, alam nila nagbibiro ako, pero ginagawa nila na totoo ang sinasabi ko kahit nga lang… Kaya, iyong mga iba, ginagamit tuloy iyong aking pagsasalita. Pero ang katotohanan niyan, when he made that statement that “do not touch this priest, kasi kayo ang mananagot sa akin” – iyon ang katotohanan kasi galit siya eh. Pero kapag sinabi niya iyong mga—kasi alam mo mahahalata mo naman si Presidente kapag nagbibiro eh, may mga galaw siyang iyong mukha niya na he is making faces, mga biro lang iyon, pakuwela niya lang iyon. He is always like that naman eh.

SEVERINO:  So, to the millions of followers that the President has, you think, I mean, isn’t there a risk of even some of them or few of them will take his jokes seriously and actually makes threats and even do something violent against the target of his so-called jokes?

SEC. PANELO: No, I don’t think so, because three years na siyang ganyan, wala namang nangyayaring ganoon eh.

SEVERINO:  Sir, may mga napatay na na mga pari, If I may with all due respect, meron na pong napatay na  pari.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ba iyong may napatay na pari eh during the investigation, lumalabas na personal ang galit sa kanya, kasi marami pa lang naging girlfriend, may iba pa, asawa ng pulis, asawa ng ganito, eh talagang papatayin nga siya. Mga personal iyong mga –hindi naman—not in connection with the church or the President, wala naman.  He doesn’t even know this.

SEVERINO:  Would you advise the President to keep joking like this, I mean kung wala naman risk na magiging totoo, so it’s okay to be making these kinds of jokes, para sa inyo?

SEC. PANELO:  You know, I have been listening to the President for the last 30 years during his term as Mayor, ganoon talaga ang style niya eh. Talagang he create a situation and make joke out of it, he jokes about me, he jokes about a lot of people. Aano siya eh, parang komedyante siya in a way, parang nagpapatawa lang talaga siya. Kaya nga siya, ang audience, natutuwa sa kanya. Audience loved him for his kind of jokes.

SEVERINO:  Okay, thank you for that clarification, sir. Maraming salamat po sa inyong panahon. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO:  Salamat, Howie. Thank you.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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