Interview

Interview with Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo by Atty. Bruce Rivera and Atty. Jess Falcis (DWFM – Boljak)

RIVERA: Sir, ano po ba ang reaksiyon ng Malacañang dito sa talagang … talagang ano eh, talagang medyo masakit na nangyari sa ating mga fishermen na naka-ano lang doon, standing still in the middle of the sea—

FALCIS: Stationary.

RIVERA: Stationary, binangga at iniwanan. Mabuti na lang may mga Vietnamese na tumulong. What is the stand of Malacañang at this point?

SEC. PANELO: I’m surprised you have not read my statement.

RIVERA: Wala pa, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Anyway, I said, that act of abandoning our Filipino crew after sinking that vessel, whether by accident or not, is uncivilized, outrageous; even barbaric. That’s against international protocol of lending a hand to ship in distress, absolute distress. Mali iyon by whatever angle you look at.

RIVERA: Sir, what does the Philippines want from China at this point? Ano po ba ang kailangan nating ihingi sa kanila o i-demand sa kanila para lang makita natin that they are, you know, they are still our friends and they are, you know, they have to prove our relationship with them?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, let’s not be judged muna ‘no kasi we don’t even know if that was a private Chinese vessel or konektado ang gobyerno nila. That’s precisely why we asked and we called the attention of the government to probe that, to investigate that incident, and to impose sanctions to whoever is at fault. Iyon ang kailangan malaman muna natin.

RIVERA: Sir, mayroon bang initial reports kung sino po ang—

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa. Ang alam lang natin, it’s a Chinese vessel.

RIVERA: Pero with regard to the 21 fishermen—22, 21?

FALCIS: Twenty-two.

RIVERA: Kumusta na po iyong kanilang kalagayan?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba ang balita na – iyong Vietnam ship na tumulong sa kanila – naasikaso na ng mga government agencies natin.

FALCIS: Ako, sir, ang tanong ko dito, minsan kapag may mga high profile incidents like a collision, kasi ano eh ibang bagay din talaga iyan sa military na parang may collision na nangyayari, usually, sir, nagkaka-high level talks na – leader to leader. Like minsan, may telephone lines si Netanyahu, si President Duterte, if I recall correctly, dati ‘no nagkakausap. Hindi ba puwedeng tawagan ni President si Xi Jinping and tanungin—

SEC. PANELO: Kagaya ng sinabi ko, you have to investigate first. Like for instance, kung may binangga rin iyong ating … isang Filipino ship, eh kung private naman iyon, ano bang kinalaman din natin doon, ‘di ba. But we will also investigate, do something. Tingnan muna natin. But definitely, we are denouncing it already. That fact alone should initiate some actions on the part of the Chinese government.

FALCIS: Correct. And we appreciate, sir, iyong strong condemnation or denouncement from both Malacañang and DND. Ang tanong ko naman, sir, as to the DFA, parang ang pansin ko lang, sir – na-mention kasi ni Ms. Maeanne kanina, pinag-uusapan namin – sabi lang ni DFA Sec, “I follow Secretary Lorenzana. If he’s condemning it, I’m condemning it.” Ang iniisip ko naman, sir, hindi ba dapat the DFA should work behind the scenes either to get the facts, get more facts, investigate and get an apology behind the scene; work the diplomatic channel. Okay ba iyon na parang si Sec. Locsin ganoon ang stance?

SEC. PANELO: The DFA knows its job. Locsin knows his job. So huwag nating i-prejudge or preempt kung ano ang ginagawa nila; hindi ninyo po alam din ‘yun.

RIVERA: Correct. Ako naman, sir, last question on my part. Basically, sir, alam natin na the collision happened within the Philippine territory. Tama po ba, sir? Parang nasa malapit sa atin eh. So basically parang, can China simply disavow or something na we don’t really know about this because it’s within our territory. How do we do about with the investigations if China will—

SEC. PANELO: First, hintayin muna natin si Secretary Locsin, iyong ang turf niya eh; siya ang unang babanat diyan. The fact alone na nagbigay siya ng statement is already ang initial step of what he’s going to do.

FALCIS: Okay, hihintayin namin, sir.

RIVERA: Hay, salamat. Okay. Thank you, sir. Salamat po.

SEC. PANELO: Okay. Thank you.

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