USEC. IGNACIO: Good afternoon, MPC. Kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson, Salvador Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon to all MPC members. And by the way, congratulations to the newly elected officers of the Malacañang Press Corps led by the debonair Henry Uri and the universally acclaimed tirador – Joseph Morong. Sa clothes, hindi tirador sa ano—clothes. Fashionista pala!
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi, sir. Good afternoon. Sir, iyong sa ano lang po, sa former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez. Sir, kasi iyong danyos na inutos ng korte na ibayad niya doon sa mga pamilya ng biktima ay hindi naman po siya nakapagbayad – ni singko. Hindi po ba ito maidadagdag doon sa ano sa kaniya, sa parusa or sa hatol sa kaniya dahil hindi siya nag-comply eh?
SEC. PANELO: Ang alam ko. Ang alam ko, hindi ba, kapag hindi ka nakabayad parang dagdag iyon sa number of days. Iyan ang alam ko noon, ewan ko kung nabago na iyon.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So maiku-consider po bang may good conduct talaga siya eh hindi nga siya nagbayad eh.
SEC. PANELO: Ang nagdi-determine niyan ay hindi naman tayo kung hindi iyong DOJ.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Iyong seven life sentences po niya, papaano naiku-compute iyon sa good conduct doon … maibabawas?
SEC. PANELO: You’ll have to address your query to DOJ Secretary, teritoryo nila iyon eh.
GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, so the Palace thinks this is a lawful … in event that he will be released, it will be lawful, there’s nothing wrong with it or illegal about it?
SEC. PANELO: Basta until the law is there, you cannot do anything. You have to commend the law. Kaya nga ‘di ba sabi ko, the wisdom of that law will have to address it to the lawmakers.
GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: So the Palace would not oppose it as long as it is a lawful release?
SEC. PANELO: The Palace cannot oppose the law. The Palace can only implement a law, or the Office of the President. If we have any concern on the wisdom of the law, then it should be addressed to lawmakers. That law was passed during the administration of President Benigno Aquino, right?
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, agree or disagree. Papaano ninyo makukumbinsi ang taumbayan na wala ka – personally – kinalaman doon sa posibleng paglaya ni Mayor Sanchez?
SEC. PANELO: Unang-una nga, iyong batas na iyon, iyong batas na iyon ay hindi iyon iginuhit sa panahon ng administrasyon – that’s number one.
Number two, as correctly pointed out by Secretary Guevarra, hindi ka na kailangan lumapit o hindi na kailangan ang pamilya ay lumapit kung kani-kaninuman para masama ka doon sa potential beneficiaries kasi mayroong kondisyones doon eh. Kung pumasok ka doon, automatically, they will re-compute your sentence. Kung kasama ka doon, eh di … batas iyon eh.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, ang basis for that is iyong good conduct, right?
SEC. PANELO: Iyan ang sabi ng batas.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So may pagka-subjective iyong pagdetermina ng whether you are showing good conduct during your incarceration?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman. Kasi kapag sinabing good conduct, wala kang infraction. Kasi even inside the Bureau of Prisons, there are regulations. So if you violate that, there is an infraction so hindi ka good conduct on a particular day or particular month or particular year.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Pero having in possession a kilo of shabu and also living a lavish lifestyle inside his ‘kubol’ and also not paying the damages ordered by a competent court, considering all these premises, is he qualified from your end or is he showing good conduct?
SEC. PANELO: As I said, hindi namin turf iyan; turf iyan ng DOJ; kung ano iyong batas, dapat sundin nila iyon.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, officially, iyon pong representation ninyo kay Mayor Sanchez ended when – if you remember?
SEC. PANELO: Noong matapos iyong hearing, last day of hearing. Thereafter, kasi mayroon akong dating previously scheduled bakasyon sa Amerika, kami ng pamilya ko, kaya nag-withdraw na ako. Kasi there is a period of time within which to appeal, so hindi ko na mahahawakan iyon. And before that, sinabihan ko na si Mayor Sanchez noon na hindi na ako pupuwede so another lawyer took over.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So 1995 sir ito? Promulgation kasi was 1995 ‘no?
SEC. PANELO: Oo, kaya nga.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Sir, considering that public backlash ‘no, and the DOJ naman is under the Office of the President, do you think it’s of wisdom to maybe reconsider that decision to grant liberty to Mayor Sanchez because of the gravity of the crime and—
SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, hindi pa naman tayo nakakasiguro kung mari-release nga. Hindi ba sabi ni Secretary Guevarra, potential beneficiary rin siya kung mapasok siya doon sa sinasabi ng batas. Until such time that law is amended, eh susundin iyan ng Executive.
You must remember that … I understand, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, June 25 yata may ruling ang Supreme Court. Because there was a petition by inmates, they felt that the law applied prospectively would be unfair to them, kaya they went to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court said, hindi. That’s a penal law so applicable retroactively. Kaya sabi ng Supreme Court, i-release ninyo lahat kung sino ang mga qualified – iyon ang sabi ng Korte Suprema.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, hindi ba glaring iyon na parang, well, having a shabu inside—
SEC. PANELO: Iyong parteng iyon, iyon nga ang sinasabi ko, kung may infraction ka, then that should be considered by the…
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Should be considered …
SEC. PANELO: …Kung sino iyong nag-i-evaluate.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And it doesn’t seem like it’s good behavior, isn’t it?
SEC. PANELO: I forgot na kung sino iyong narinig kong nagsalita, kung si Senator Drilon ba. If you committed a violation on a particular month or year, then you are not qualified—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: For that year?
SEC. PANELO: Oo, you’re ineligible kasi nga mayroon kang infraction. Pero I’m not familiar with the regulations, you’ll have to ask the DOJ.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ineligible for that particular … ibig sabihin sir, kapag iku-compute mo, iyon lang year na mayroon kang infraction iyong hindi ka mag-a-apply doon sa GCTA or as a general rule, you will not be able to—
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam talaga iyong ano niyan eh, iyong how they apply it. Hindi ko nga alam na may batas na ganiyan until sumabog iyong balita, saka ko lang nalaman.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Try ko lang: Should he be released considering the crime he has committed and what it represents probably?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t think that’s for me to respond because there is a law. If he qualifies under that law, then we cannot do anything. The best remedy there – you amend the law.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Or abolish?
SEC. PANELO: Or repeal it. That’s for the lawmakers.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, following up on the question of Joseph. Naging controversial kasi iyong sinabi ni Senator Bato dela Rosa that Mayor Sanchez deserves a second chance. As the former lawyer of Mayor Sanchez, do you think that he deserves a second chance?
SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, I am not emotionally attached to all my clients. As a matter of practice and principle, dapat hindi ka attached eh. So if that’s the opinion of the good Senator, I think he is entitled to—
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: But do you share the same opinion, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Ang pagkakaalam ko kasi, iyong imprisonment is reformatory. Unlike before na punishment, vindictive. So following that logic, apparently the logic of the law is to give chance to those who have reformed themselves, and rejoin society.
Q: [OFF MIC]
SEC. PANELO: That’s the logic.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, you think that Mayor Sanchez has already been reformed by the years that he spent inside the prison?
SEC. PANELO: Ah I don’t know, I have no personal knowledge of what he was doing inside. That’s for the… whoever committee is in charge of determining whether an inmate has violated an infraction or whether or not such infraction would disqualify him with respect to the beneficiary being granted that law.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, do you think that he deserves a second chance considering ang tagal na niya doon sa kulungan?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam eh, kasi since I do not know exactly kung good behavior siya doon o hindi… I will be incompetent.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Thank you, sir.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, wala na po ba talagang magagawa iyong Pangulo about this issue? Because some lawmakers including specifically Senator Lacson is saying that the parole will not be approved without—
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman daw parole ito eh.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Can you explain to us why you’re saying that the President cannot stop it or walang say iyong Pangulo dito?
SEC. PANELO: Ang may say doon siyempre iyong nag-e-evaluate. They will follow the law. ‘Pag sinabi nilang disqualified ‘to, o eh hindi na makakasama iyon.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: And iyong mga approved or qualified, hindi—you’re saying it will not—this list of names will not pass through the President’s office anymore?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kasi automatic iyong naka—sa batas nakalagay doon kung sino iyong bibigyan, at saka sabi ng Supreme Court i-release mo kung qualified; kung hindi, eh hindi ka pupuwede.
Siguro I think what is important is, you strictly observe the impositions under the law.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Exactly, sir. Speaking of that, related doon sa mga previous questions, because there were reports that again, he had infractions while he was there. Is there any—
SEC. PANELO: Exactly. That is why I’ve been saying that dapat iyong committee whoever is in charge, they should consider everything.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Will the Palace or the President perhaps order a review of his possible early release, his chances of that?
SEC. PANELO: There is already—‘di ba sabi ni Secretary Guevarra, “I have ordered a reevaluation of the people involved in high profile cases.” So, ongoing.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, pakilinaw lang. Pagka ho parole, walang papel na pinipirmahan ang Pangulo para mapalaya ang isang nakakulong na?
SEC. PANELO: I’m not sure about that, iyong sa parole.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Oho. Saan ho lang at kailan pumipirma ang Pangulo, between the two?
SEC. PANELO: Pardon siguro, pagdating sa pardon.
HENRY URI/DZRH: So, pardon.
SEC. PANELO: Pardon.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Ang Pangulo ang pumipirma kung sino ang kaniyang ipa-pardon?
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
HENRY URI/DZRH: ‘Pag parole?
SEC. PANELO: ‘Pag parole, sa Bureau of Pardons and Parole ang pagkakaalam ko.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Okay. Para lang ho malinaw, kasi dito sa case na ito—
SEC. PANELO: We will check on that ha, kasi iyon ang… initially iyon ang aking ano, ang assessment diyan na ‘pag parole, parang Bureau of Pardons and Parole; pero ‘pag pardon whether conditional or absolute, definitely Presidente—
HENRY URI/DZRH: So, hindi na ho umaabot sa lamesa ng Pangulo ‘pag parole?
SEC. PANELO: I’ll check with that. I’ll check para sigurado tayo.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Thank you.
JULIE: Sir, earlier you said that Secretary Guevarra has ordered a review of the computation of the GCTAs of the prisoners. Was this order given by the President or sariling kabig po ni Secretary Guevarra?
SEC. PANELO: Kay Secretary Guevarra.
JULIE: In any case sir, is there any way for the Palace or the President to oppose iyong release ni Sanchez should be… you know, officially approved by the—
SEC. PANELO: I think Secretary Guevarra knows the law and he will implement it.
SEC. PANELO: Kung ano ‘yung nakalagay sa batas, iyon ang gagawin niya.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, doon sa proposed budget submitted by the Duterte administration for 2020, lumalabas doon that iyong allocation for surveillance is amounting to 8.28 billion pesos, 4.7 for intel expenses and 3.4 billion for confidential expenses. Of the 8.28 billion, kalahati doon—or more than half, 4.5 billion will be going to the Office of the President. Could you please explain sir, bakit kailangan ganoon kalaki iyong allocation for intelligence and confidential funds for the Office of the President?
SEC. PANELO: Eh dapat naman sa Office of the President, it has to have resources to determine iyong mga threats against the state. Kailangan iyon, and you need money for that.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero bakit ganoon kalaki sir, 4.5 billion?
SEC. PANELO: Aba’y talagang… mahirap mag-secure sa isang bansa, kailangan mo talaga ng pera. You need people, you machines, technology… maraming paggagastusan eh.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, could you explain or justify bakit almost half of our budget for surveillance will be going to the Office of the President?
SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro—I do not know exactly the reason; but if you will ask me, I’ll be using my common sense by saying that you really need money if you want to secure your country. And the Office of the President is one of the better offices that can secure the security of the land.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, could you allay concerns na possible na magamit iyon for corruption kasi 4.5 billion?
SEC. PANELO: Eh, malabo iyon ‘pag Office of the President. Eh, because number one si Presidente nga na ayaw ng corruption eh. Napaka-istrikto ni Presidente eh.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Okay, thank you sir.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, good afternoon. So if it’s for the security of the country, why should not put the amount or the money sa like for AFP or sa pulis, those—
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba kasama na iyon? Apart from that, mayroon din sa Office of the President.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero why—parang ilagay doon iyong bulk sa OP mismo not doon sa mga agencies or departments?
SEC. PANELO: Eh, para makatulong doon sa mga department. Iisa lang naman ‘yan, they are still within the Office of the President, lahat sila.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Yes, sir. Still with the Office of the President.
SEC. PANELO: O, eh ano bang problema doon?
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero sir, at least iyong accountability is more on, like for kung sa Defense, nandoon sa Secretary of Defense or DILG…
SEC. PANELO: The President is not exempted from accountability, kung if you’re talking about accountabilities. Lahat na mayroong hawak ng pera are required by law to account, so I don’t think there is a problem with that.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, following up. Iyong doon sa breakdown sir ng intelligence funds, sa intelligence funds going to the DND and AFP, only 10 million will be going to the Office of the Secretary, Secretary of National Defense; and then 39.7 million for the Philippine Navy. Considering na malaki iyong issue po natin doon sa trespassing and militarizing iyong areas natin within our EEZ, bakit ganoon lang sir kaliit iyong mga allocations natin?
SEC. PANELO: Wala namang problema iyon, because the Office of the President can provide funds for that also ‘pag humingi si Secretary of National Defense with respect to the security. May authority si Presidente roon na bigyan sila.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: But, that would mean another layer ng bureaucracy sir?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, Office of the President mismo iyon, ‘di mabilis. ‘Pag sinabi ng Presidente ‘release’, ‘di release kaagad iyon; Presidente na ‘tong nagsasabi eh.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Thank you, sir.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, tuloy pa tayo sa China?
SEC. PANELO: Yes, 28… ‘di ba nilabas na iyong date.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi sir si Presidente kahapon, sabi niya parang may pumipigil sa kaniya na pag-usapan iyong arbitral ruling.
SEC. PANELO: Mayroon ba?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yeah, he said so yesterday.
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, sinabi niya pero wala akong alam na kung saan galing.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi naman po sa kaibigan ninyo, sir?
SEC. PANELO: [Laughs] Wala naman akong naririnig.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Supposing ano… China insists na no arbitral ruling talk. What are we—
SEC. PANELO: O hindi ba sabi ni Presidente, “Whether you like it or not, I’m sorry but I have to raise it,” ‘di ba?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Should he? I mean, belaboring the point, should he really? I mean, considering iyong ganoong advice?
SEC. PANELO: Eh, iyon ang… iyon na ang desisyon niya eh. He will raise it.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Interesting iyon sir ha, may nagsasabi sa kaniya na ano… huwag pag-usapan iyon. Eh iyon na nga iyong sinabi niyang objective niya.
SEC. PANELO: Ewan ko, baka ikaw. [laughs]
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hmm?
SEC. PANELO: [Laughs] Hindi natin alam, basta iyan ang desisyon niya.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi naman ikaw iyon, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Ah, lalong hindi.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: [Laughs] Sige…
SEC. PANELO: Ilan ba sa inyo kasama?
MPC: Madami, sir.
SEC. PANELO: Wow!
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, so knowing China attitude. So you are open to the possibility that China might call it off, iyong nakatakdang working visit ng Pangulo sa Beijing?
SEC. PANELO: Eh, nasa China iyon kung ano ang kanilang reaction doon.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: If China insist na no talk on arbitral ruling, the President will cancel it, as he said it yesterday.
SEC. PANELO: Sabi niya?
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Yes.
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ang sinabi niya, di huwag na lang tayong mag-usap. Eh kung ano iyong sinabi ni Presidente, iyon na iyon, hindi na mababali iyon.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, doon sa sabi ng China na Philippines should ban iyong lahat ng off shore gaming operation sa Pilipinas, kasi ginagamit rin ng kanilang citizens na parang laundering money from China?
SEC. PANELO: Di ba sinagot na natin iyon? Kasi under our laws, hindi naman iyon illegal. But I understand from PAGCOR, ini-stop na nila iyong application. Kaya nga hindi ba parang nagsalita iyong spokesman nila na they welcome it and appreciate it.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, sabi rin ni Senate Minority Leader Drilon na iyong POGO operations ay actually wala namang pakinabang ang ating ekonomiya kasi lumalabas iyong pera.
SEC. PANELO: Di hayaan natin ang PAGCOR kung ano ang rekomendasyon nila.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Hi sir, baka may update na kayo regarding iyong policy for foreign vessels to seek permission if they plan to pass through our territorial waters?
SEC. PANELO: Wala pa.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: What prompted the President to suddenly make that directive?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t know what prompted him, but he asked me to issue the statement, that is why I did.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, under the UNCLOS, this is according to Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, foreign merchant ships and warships or rather the exercise by foreign ships and warships of innocent passage through territorial sea cannot require prior permission or prior notification. What do you say to that, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Sabi nga ni Secretary, nabasa ko iyong statement ni Secretary Esperon, we will maintain that position as initiated by the President.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So are you ignoring that provision in the UNCLOS which says that we cannot require them to ask our permission?
SEC. PANELO: Alam mo iyong sabi nga ni Presidente, to avoid misunderstanding. Ibig sabihin mas maganda iyong alam natin para we can secure them also, di ba?
CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, after your announcement – the other day yata iyong Tuesday ‘no?
SEC. PANELO: Two days ago.
CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: May nag-comply ba sir, na foreign vessels, may nag-notify na ba sa Philippine government?
SEC. PANELO: Wala pa akong natatanggap na report coming from the military or the Coastguard.
CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Did they just ignore the warning of the President?
SEC. PANELO: As I said, wala pa akong natatanggap sa opisina ko or I’m not have been told if Office of the President have received any report coming from the national defense department.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, but demanding or asking foreign vessels, especially the commercial ones, to ask clearance before they have actual passage sa ating territorial waters. Isn’t that runs counter to our advocacy of freedom of navigation and over flight to the South China Sea?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, baka precisely the purpose is to secure them para alam natin kung may daraanan doon, di may escort pa silang Coastguard.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Sir, ipa-fine tune lang natin, cause you know, the President is abogado, he say so, the order covers territorial sea with reference to warships and civilian ships or just warships?
SEC. PANELO: I will ask him that particular; kasi ang sinabi niya all foreign vessels – iyon ang statement di ba.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: All foreign vessels, regardless whether…
SEC. PANELO: But I ask him exactly whether it refers only to war vessels or including merchants.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: And also, territorial and EEZ or just territorial.
SEC. PANELO: Oh, sige para sigurado.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Kasi sir, doon sa mga ibang literature that we read, mayroon naman na countries na nag i-imposed ng prior notification. Because ang justification is that maybe it’s a security issue. So, meaning did the President detect a possible security issue that is why he had to issue that kind of advice?
SEC. PANELO: I need to ask him that, that particular issue you raised.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, may medyo hindi lang ako naintindihan sa speech ni Pangulo last night. Kasi he mentioned taxation gross, ito iyong quote sir. “Let us go to –sa ating taxation gross, maski sino ang tanungin mo, wala daya sa gross, kung tingin ko ilan ang”—sir nandoon ka ba kagabi, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Wala, sa Romblon iyon eh – Romblon. Hindi you know, I think that query should be addressed to Secretary Dominguez, siya ang Finance eh. Mas makakaintindi tayo.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Sir, how come that the President will not meet the Filipino community, instead he is going to watch the FIBA basketball?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko pa nakita iyong schedule, we are not sure on that. Kung FIBA, di nandoon din ang Filipino community, manunood.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Sir SOGIE, kino-quote si Gretchen na sinabi daw sa kanya ni Presidente na ise-certify tama ba, na maipapasa iyong SOGIE bill.
SEC. PANELO: Kinuote (quoted) si?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Si Gretchen sir – iyong transwoman, sir.
SEC. PANELO: Quoting who?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Quoting the President, because they met, di ba?
SEC. PANELO: Ah, sinabi raw sa kanya?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: By December. Do we know if this is for a fact?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi natin alam, silang dalawa ang nag-usap. I need to ask him in that particular thing.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Yeah, but your comment on the resistance of some senators, kasi I think yesterday si SP Sotto said na parang there is no chance that that bill – at least the SOGIE bill as filed – will not pass?
SEC. PANELO: We always say that the wisdom of enacting a law will have to be dependent on the lawmakers themselves.
USEC. IGNACIO: Okay thank you, Secretary Panelo.
Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)