Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador S. Panelo

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO:  Good afternoon, Malacañang Press Corps. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO:  Good noon ladies and gentlemen. But before we proceed to your questions, I’d like to make a statement; I’d like to caution the public, the general public—this is my second time.

I received a note containing an exchange apparently—supposedly from me and to another person. It was sent to me by a friend named Greg Enriquez, and it appears in that note that one Perry Callanta (?) who I knew to be a student of the UP at the time when I was there, it appears in that note that there exchange coming from me that I was asking for money. And this my—in fact I was so upset that I have to call this Perry Callanta(?), because he was telling me in his text: “Paano na iyong hiniram mong two hundred thousand pesos?

I told him, “Huh?” I wanted to curse like the President. I cannot even imagine why people like you would be entertaining this kind of scam. I said, “You know my number, you know my mobile… why didn’t you call me?” So for the umpteenth time in time I’m cautioning the public to be wary of scams using my name. As a result of this, I have decided to cut all my Facebook accounts, Messenger and everything so that they can no longer use it.

So I’m telling you now, anybody who uses my name—who use my name, and anybody who comes out with a Facebook account – that’s a fake or a Messenger. I’m cutting everything. I reported it already to the NBI Director Gierran about this. In fact, this is I think the fifth scam that I’ve received using my name, and money has been deposited to accounts in the name of other people. I cannot—I really cannot understand why these people who supposed to know me would be believing that. The only reason I think, that I can conclude is that, my name seems to be very credible so they’re using my name.

So please, I’m now deactivating all my Facebook accounts and Messenger and anything in the… whatever you call it. So, I’ll just be—yes, all social media accounts. I’ll be just using my telephone.

So I’m ready now for any question…

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO:  Okay. Sir, welcome lang natin iyong friends from Pangasinan. 

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, welcome from the Pangasinan! Panggalatok…

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO:  Yes, from the office of Asec. Marie Rafael.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Hi sir, good afternoon. May plano po ba si Presidente na mag-issue ng formal na executive order o kung anuman po na talagang nagtutuldok doon sa peace talks sa Communist Party of the Philippines kaysa po magpalitan po sila ng mga maaanghang na akusasyon ni founding Chairman Joma Sison?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi na kailangan ang executive order doon.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Ano po iyong kaila—tingin ninyo kailangang i-formalize ni Presidente iyong kaniyang pagwawakas noong peace negotiation?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi na. Alam mo kasi, the President opened his heart to peace talks. ‘Di ba, marami na siyang ginawa; he appointed those even identified with the left in the Cabinet. Pero what did they do, these people in the left? While negotiating with us, they have committed criminal acts, terrorist activities, burning properties, exacting revolutionary taxes. Eh walang sincerity, kaya kumbaga eh inabot din iyong pasensiya ni Presidente.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  So, talagang wala na po… wala nang pag-asa hanggang matapos iyong administrasyong Duterte?

SEC. PANELO:  Most likely. Unless na—alam mo naman si Presidente ang puso, pusong mamon. But palagi naman ang Presidente para sa kapanatagan ng bayan ang iniisip. He always looks for the security of the nation.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, iyong holiday truce po, magpapatupad kaya iyong AFP?

SEC. PANELO:  The Defense Secretary is against it, because according to him, they have been using this ceasefire to celebrate yearly their anniversary; using it as an opportunity and we will not allow it this time.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Ah hindi po, wala pong holiday truce?

SEC. PANELO:  As far as the Secretary of National Defense is concerned.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  The President, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  The fact is that there is no comment from the President…

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  No? No holiday truce?

SEC. PANELO:  As of now… since the President has not made any comment.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Okay sir, thank you.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN:  Mayroon ba sir na directive si President regarding—since the CPP-NPA will be having their 50th I think anniversary this December, any special order from the President? Kasi they might increase or heighten their attacks against the government troops or…?

SEC. PANELO:  We are ready for that. The President doesn’t have t0 make any orders. There has been—all laws, the requisite of it have been placed even prior.  Meaning to say, the defense is ready for any eventuality.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN. PHILS:  Sir, this is regarding the appointment of General Rodriguez as the New Air Force Chief. He replaces General Kintanar, who supposedly 2020 pa po talaga ang retirement. So, medyo napaaga po yata or is there any specific reason why General Kintanar was relieved early?

SEC. PANELO:  I do not know that yet. I have no info on that. 

INA ANDOLONG/CNN. PHILS:  So, paano ba ito, sir. Was he replaced, meron bang atraso?

SEC. PANELO:  I’ll ask the President. I’ll ask him this afternoon. For all you know, he might have opted earlier retirement, we don’t know.

NESTOR:  Good morning, Secretary. Sir, the President yesterday said – whether he’s joking or he is serious – and I quote: “itong mga Obispo ninyo, patayin ninyo, walang silbi iyang mga gagong iyan, all they do is criticized,” will such pronouncement from   the President   not put at risk the lives of bishops and priest and why is there a need for the President to issue  such remark, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi naman, mga … sabi nga ni Doktora Panelo eh, sabi ko, Mommy ano ba ang tingin mo sa killing? Sabi niya, I think the President wants to kill them with kindness. Oh kaya naman. Alam po ninyo kasi,  the President just like  any ordinary human being,  is upset when  the good things that he does for this country is not even appreciated  by people  who were supposed to support, like the church. When he said that the church is an hypocritical institution, he is actually making a statement that requires a response from the church, in the same manner that the church criticizes this President, he response to the same criticism. They say, there are so many extra-judicial killings, the President says excuse me.  It’s not state-initiated. There are killings because they resist arrest, in the process there are killings.

And so when the President says, your institution is ‘hypocritical,’ then you tell as why, because the President has basis. Even the Pope says—what was the latest message of the Pope? He said, to the members of the priesthood, if you cannot remain celibate, get out. What does it mean, it means that there are members of the church, who are doing the opposite things of what they preach to us. That is why the President has basis.  He has been a victim of harassment, sexual harassment, when he was a young boy, remember. He keeps on telling us that. And again, that is a basis, when priest gives us the teachings of God and yet to the opposite, so that make him hypocritical. But of course, he refers to certain members of the church.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN. PHILS:  So, sir you said the President has basis for his statements. What was his basis for saying that 90% of priests are gay?

SEC. PANELO:  90% of what? 

INA ANDOLONG/CNN. PHILS:  Priests are gay – homosexual.

SEC. PANELO:  Well, if he tells us that there have been complaints against priests who are gays. In fact, he points to a certain internet information that we can look it up who this priests who have been charged with molestations.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN. PHILS: But where did he get the figure that 90%, that’s quite.

SEC. PANELO:  I’ll ask him this afternoon. And I’ll tell you after.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN. PHILS:  Sir, whatever happened to the panel formed by the President to exactly resolve itong apparent tiff between him and the church. The President earlier said, ‘di ba magla-lie low na siya on attacking the church and yet here he is again?

SEC. PANELO:  I’ve not heard of what happened to that also. I heard about it, but it appears after the announcement, there was no moving on, unless that there was a move on the church side. But I didn’t hear about it. 

INA ANDOLONG/CNN. PHILS:  So, are we supposed to assume that the President is now back at it?

SEC. PANELO:  Well, he said so, he made a statement. I’ll await the response of the church.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir on the killing of the Bishops.  Sir, is it an appropriate statement for the President to say that, the fact that previously may mga pinaslang na mga pari?


SEC. PANELO:  I think that’s only a hyperbole on the part of the President. We should be getting used to this President. He makes certain statements for dramatic effect. But he actually means stop criticizing and do some good for this country, help us.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  So, the Palace is not worried that it might encourage more killings?

SEC. PANELO: No, I do not think so. Majority of the Filipinos have, I think, been used to this President.

ARJAY/BUSINESS WORLD: Like the President is saying, ‘We should kill, you should kill bishops.’ We should get used to that?

SEC. PANELO:  Like the President used to hearing those things but not believing in them because they knew that he doesn’t mean that.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, just a quick follow up. Sir, what will convince the President to stop from criticizing the bishops or the Catholic Church as a whole?

SEC. PANELO: It’s not a matter of convincing, perhaps it is a psyche; it is in his mind. There are certain things that he doesn’t approve of. And he expresses his thoughts to us. Perhaps in a manner that some of us don’t want but that is his style. As correctly pointed out by Senator Lacson, when we voted him into office, his style was factored in. So we have to leave it up.

MARICEL/TV5: Sir, is the President or does the President expect an apology coming from those bishops or priests who are very vocal in criticizing his administration?

SEC. PANELO: Not really.What he is you saying is, ‘Stop criticizing, do something good. You can’t find anything good that I’m doing. And yet even the Pope is saying that all countries should fight drug addiction, drug syndicates. So even the Pope is supporting him. Now, that they say—but he supporting only the drug campaign against drug syndicates but not the killing. But you assume that the state initiates that killing, which we always dispute.

MARICE/TV5: Sir, on other issue. May desisyon na po ba si Presidente when it comes to the extension of martial law in Mindanao?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa. There is no decision. But the recommendation is from the military and the PNP to extend. But then again, let me again point out that the final decision will be on Congress. Congress says, we want a briefing, they will be given the briefing then they will decide.

MARICEL/TV5: Ano po sir iyong hinihintay ni Presidente before making the decision?

SEC. PANELO: Probably still evaluating all the facts given him, the circumstances, the pros and the cons.

MARICEL/TV5: And how soon do we expect this decision, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hopefully very soon. I will ask him. We will be seeing each other at the anniversary of DOLE.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir, paki-guide lang kami sa proseso sir on asking for an extension of martial law sa Congress; kung kailangan mag-initiate ang Pangulo. At saka iyong timeline kasi by—I think by December 12 magre-recess na sila, ang Senate and the House have barely three legislative calendars to deliberate on that.

SEC. PANELO: Well, the President will inform Congress, if he wants to extend and Congress will deliberate prior to the recess. I think it will still be on time.

TINA/PHIL. STAR: So this will just be coming—may briefing lang ang both Senate—

SEC. PANELO: That’s what they are asking, only briefing—

TINA/PHIL. STAR: Do you have to [overlapping voices].

SEC. PANELO: I think one day briefing is already enough.

TINA/PHIL. STAR: Does the Palace need to submit parang official communication letter justifying this.


TINA/PHIL. STAR: Thank you sir.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, on the budget. Senator Panfilo Lacson said that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s district will be getting 2.4 billion pesos at ito daw po iyong mga last minute re-alignments ng House before nila trinansmit sa Senate iyong proposed budget. What is the reaction of the Palace?

SEC. PANELO: The President hasn’t said anything about it yet. That’s one of the things I will ask him personally this afternoon.

JOYCE/DZMM: So hindi pa po alam ni President itong ganitong kalaking last minute re-alignments made by our House Speaker?

SEC. PANELO: That’s why I will ask him, his reaction and then, I will issue statement.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just on the amount –2.5 billion. Context is,this is prior to enactment. But does the Palace think that this is pork barrel as defined by the ruling of the Supreme Court?

SEC. PANELO: I really don’t know how that can be classified. I haven’t also seen the specific budget allocation and perhaps the better person to respond to that would be budget Secretary Ben Diokno.

JOSEPH/GMA7: No, but this is not part obviously of the National expenditure program because it came from the initiative of Congresswoman Arroyo, right? So this is not part of the government expenditure that – at least the executive branch?

SEC. PANELO: You kn0w, to me what is important to me is whether those allocations are geared for the benefit of the constituents where they are assigned.

JOSEPH/GMA7: So if it’s geared and earmarked by a congressman for their constituents, the Palace is okay with those kinds of allocations?

SEC. PANELO: For as long as the—those money are spent where they should be spent. But if those money are going to be spent outside of the real purpose and then that’s corruption, and we will not allow that.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL:  Is there not any—don’t you see any issue with how big the amount is, compared to the amount received by other provinces? I believe the average is about 60 million for the other provinces, and then biglang mag-i-spike up to 2.4 billion for one province?

SEC. PANELO:  I think we should ask the Speaker why the allocation is that large as compared to others.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL:  But what you are saying is, it shouldn’t be a problem if sa tama naman pong programa mapunta? Is that what you’re saying, despite the big amount?


SEC. PANELO: Depende. If the other areas also need the kind of amount, then it should be distributed to those areas.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL:  Other provinces, you mean?

SEC. PANELOL: Yes, of course.

JOPEL PELENIO/DWIZ: Sir, yesterday, the President said that we’re not yet safe sa terroristic act like extremism, ISIS and Abu Sayyaf. Hint na po ba ito para aprubahan o ideklara iyong extension ng Martial Law?

SEC. PANELO Well, if the threat is still there, if they’re still committing acts of violence and the people’s safety is in danger, and the people there are the ones clamoring for an extension, then the President will ask Congress to extend the Martial Law.

JOPEL PELENIO/DWIZ: Sir, reaksiyon ninyo lang doon sa statement ni House Speaker Arroyo na suportado niya itong Martial Law extension.

SEC. PANELO: Well, she probably knows the sentiments of Mindanao and she has been briefed by the necessity of extending Martial Law.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Just a clearer statement from you:  The 2.5, do you think this is pork barrel or not?

SEC. PANELO: The what? What?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The 2.5 billion po na allocation, do you think this is the pork barrel? All the other allocations for, I think, maybe—

SEC. PANELO: Let me ask you first: How do you define pork barrel?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: As the decision of the Supreme Court—

SEC. PANELO: It is what?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Post-enactment intervention of congressmen. So meaning, you passed the budget, and then after passing the budget, certain congressmen re-allocates iyong funds to certain districts. That’s the definition – post-enactment intervention of Congress in the budget.

Now, we are in the process still of finalizing the budget. So I think… two issues there: The amount and the place where it is allocated; and number two, the time where it is inserted. Sir, your position please.

SEC. PANELO: I think, I have already responded the same question of Ina. I said, that depends. If the Speaker or whoever is the one involved with that realignment can justify why there is a need to place that kind of amount in that particular area and the other areas do not need that, then that could be justified.

But, if the other areas need that kind of money, and you’re depriving them of that, then there’s something wrong with that.

USEC. IGNACIO: May question si Pia Rañada ng Rappler: You said the President wants priests/bishops to stop criticizing and do something good for the country. So the President thinks it’s proper to threaten people who criticize him? Does Malacañang think people have no right to criticize government policies? 

SEC. PANELO: That reporter is putting words into my mouth. First, the President is not threatening. What I said is, he is being criticized and the President is saying that instead of criticizing—you can even criticize, but at the same time, you give us constructive suggestions.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, Senator Antonio Trillanes reiterated his challenge to President Duterte to undergo a drug test amid the joke about taking marijuana. Sabi niya, instead of just saying that it was just a joke, why not take a drug test and prove it.

SEC. PANELO: Who is this?

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Senator Trillanes.

SEC. PANELO:  I think, he should be the one to undergo that.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So the President will not heed his challenge to undergo a drug test?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi niya papatulan iyon.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: There’s no need, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Nagtataka nga ako bakit pinapatulan ninyo siya eh. Hindi kailangan, eh talaga namang—look at this person, this President, malakas. Sinasabi naman niya naman sa atin kung ano ang diperensiya niya eh.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, sabi po ng majority and minority senators, wala na raw pong pag-asa ang Cha-Cha sa Senate, and the 17th Congress in general given until July na lang. Anong reaksiyon natin? Mukha bang ipu-push pa rin ng Duterte—

SEC. PANELO: Well, kung wala nang pag-asa ngayong December, eh nandiyan naman iyong susunod na session, eh di mayroon pa rin.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Are you still confident, sir, na within the term of President Duterte?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, definitely. Mahaba pa naman ang kaniyang term.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PDI: Sir, just to clarify doon sa … you said … do you think Speaker Arroyo should explain the realignments?

SEC. PANELO: I think so, given the amount involved, given the reaction of people like you. We citizens also would like explanation.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PDI: So will the Palace ask her, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I think, there is even no need for that. The fact that some quarters are reacting, it behooves those who are involved in the realignment to respond to the protest of some elements of the society.

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay, thank you, Christine. No more questions, MPC? Okay. Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.


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