HONTIVEROS: Good afternoon, before we talk about the President’s SONA and where he is, talk to us first about your outfit today. What is on it?
SEC. PANELO: There’s nothing what… whatever you want to—it’s an ordinary coat.
HONTIVEROS: An ordinary coat, but with very interesting designs. Maybe we can have the cameraman focus on it. Describe to us, sir, what it is. Who made it for you, why did you want to display?
SEC. PANELO: No, it’s not that I want it; it’s the tailor who made it. I think he has an artist who painted it or drew it.
HONTIVEROS: And then, dahil alam niya malakas ang loob ninyo sa fashion, sabi niya kayang-kaya ni Sal Panelo na dalhin ito?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, bakit hindi ba maganda?
HONTIVEROS: Maganda, I like it.
SEC. PANELO: Palagay ko iyong tinatanong nilang hood, kasi weather umuulan, kaya naglagay.
HONTIVEROS: What’s that? The… Bikoy?
SEC. PANELO: No, weather, rainy, rainy season kaya merong ano.
HONTIVEROS: Kaya may hood – Bikoy, okay. Well, Secretary Panelo right now of course, it’s 3 o’clock, an hour to go before the appointed hour of four in the afternoon for the 4th Monday of July. We expect the President to be delivering his SONA, to be addressing Congress at 4 o’clock this afternoon. It doesn’t look like there’s gonna be any delay, right, in spite of the rain earlier?
SEC. PANELO: No, he will be coming on time, 4 o’clock he will be here.
HONTIVEROS: Considering that skies cleared up for him.
SEC. PANELO: I think so. It’s clearing now.
HONTIVEROS: So, that’s 4 o’clock this afternoon. Tell us a little bit more about what to expect. Last night you had a rehearsal with the President and according to Bong Go, the President has threatened na kapag hindi inayos ng House of Representatives iyong gusot nila diyan sa Speaker, hindi ako pupunta. Can you confirm that?
SEC. PANELO: No, ang ibig sabihin—ang sinabi lang ni Presidente, kailangan may Speaker na pagdating niya, hindi iyong kagaya noon na nagkakagulo pa sila. Otherwise, matutulog na lang siya. Oo nga naman, bakit pa siya pupunta kung hindi pa kayo ayos, iyon lang naman ang ibig sabihin niya.
HONTIVEROS: Oo, kasi last year, ang nangyari pinaghintayan siya in so many waits.
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
HONTIVEROS: Na unnecessary, because SONA niya ito, focus siya.
SEC. PANELO: Pero mukha namang okay, kasi the fact alone that all the rivals of Alan Cayetano nominated him, including even the Duterte coalition who was against him so ibig sabihin okay.
HONTIVEROS: So, if we can say, everyone fell in line, lahat sumunod kay Presidente.
SEC. PANELO: Not, necessarily. Let me clear this, the President didn’t want to interfere, in fact, he avoided it hundred percent. But the three rivals sought his help; they wanted him to intervene to help them. So what he did was to suggest a formula. But that’s suggestion of formula does not mean interference; it means, that’s my suggestion to you, it’s for you to decide whom you will choose. After all, they have their own independence. And to my mind, they did what they wanted to do and that is for all of them to choose one candidate and that’s Alan. That is why he became the Speaker, there was unanimity.
HONTIVEROS: Hindi iyong dalawa iyong naging kandidato ng administration sa Speaker, which should have been chaotic nga. But anyway, my last question po, sir and very briefly, tell us in three words. Can you give us clues, 3 clues, in three words as to what the President will say today in his SONA?
SEC. PANELO: He will be repeating the promises that he has made and how he has succeeded in this and how he would still pursue criminality, war on drugs; economy, the status of the economy; rebellion; he will touch on the West Philippine Sea; he will touch in the legislative agenda – what laws he would urge Congress to pass; all of these.
It will be a very expanded speech touching on almost every issue that the Filipino people are very interested in.
HONTIVEROS: Expanded but to that point, sir.
SEC. PANELO: Yes, he is like that: Always precise, simple, but profound.
HONTIVEROS: All right, Secretary Sal Panelo. Salamat po, sir for joining us this afternoon.
SOURCE: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau)