Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Building

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, sabi po ni Senator Gordon kahapon na hahayaan na lang daw po nila si President Duterte na i-announce iyong list ng ninja cops before mag-resume ng hearing. May word po ba tayo from the President kung kailan?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa, wala pang sinasabi.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Is it likely na he will do it after Russia or before Russia?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi ko alam. Basta he said he will, so he will.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Pero po nakarating na po kay President Duterte iyong transcript of the Senate executive session?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa kami nagkita eh, I’ll ask him.

TINA MARALIT/TRIBUNE: Sir, sa reports po may confirmed ASF cases na rin po sa Pangasinan. So hindi po ba ito salungat doon sa sinabi ng Department of Agriculture na contained na nila iyong African Swine Fever?

SEC. PANELO: Puwedeng kumalat. Kumbaga eh—but I understand they are taking measures to stop it.

TINA MARALIT/TRIBUNE: So, sir wala po bang additional marching orders from the President to Secretary Dar regarding ASF?

SEC. PANELO: The orders will be to contain it, stop it.

TINA MARALIT/TRIBUNE: Eh, kaso nga, sir, pag sinasabing nako-contain may lumalabas—

SEC. PANELO: Kung nakalusot eh; alam mo kapag merong contagion kung minsan mahirap ding pigilin.

MODERATOR: Sir, follow up from Miss Bella Cariaso. Sabi po niya si Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte po ordered the ban of pork products from Luzon. She would not do so if she’s confident na DA is handling the situation well. Are you confident that DA will be able to control the ASF?

SEC. PANELO: I think we should address that question to the Secretary of Agriculture. But Mayor Sarah certainly is doing her job as Mayor. She’d want to protect her constituents.

MARICLE HALILI/TV5: Sir, just a quick follow up. So are you still satisfied with how the Department of Agriculture is handling the issue on ASF?

SEC. PANELO: I’m sure the Secretary of Agriculture is competent enough to handle this situation. He hasn’t said anything about not handling it.

MARICLE HALILI/TV5: You are still confident.

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, I think so.

MARICLE HALILI/TV5: Kasi sir, there are questions about the transparency na sinasabi na if from the start, naging transparent na daw iyong Department of Agriculture on the real score of ASF hindi na raw sana hahantong sa ganito iyong sitwasyon.

SEC. PANELO: That’s the opinion of the critics.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, di ba may mga questions kami over the weekend about the status of PNP Chief Albayalde, would you be able to update us?

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman, wala akong naririnig na bago.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Wala po iyong rumors na…

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko narinig iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I mean…

SEC. PANELO: No, ganoon pa rin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Wala pong statement from the Palace, instructions, anything?

SEC. PANELO: None.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sound bite na lang. Iyon pong sa US, ipe-prevent po iyong mga Philippine officials who are responsible for the illegal detention of Senator De Lima. Sound bite lang sir, cause wala pa kami noon.

SEC. PANELO: We already issued a statement. We said that that’s a brazen the attempt at interference of our sovereign affairs. Senator Leahy was saying that it’s the responsibility of the US to call the attention of the Philippine government and for that matter maybe any country to that it has granted aid. Because according to him, of the wrongful imprisonment. First, there is no wrongful imprisonment. Apparently this—I don’t know if he is a lawyer, but coming from a US senator is bad enough; but if he is a lawyer, that makes it worst. He assumes that—because his statement assumes that he is knowledgeable of our laws, especially procedural and substantive law.

And another assumption is that he came here to personally look at the case folder of Ms De Lima; but those assumptions do not exist. In other word he was speaking from blissful ignorance as I said in my statement. And moreover, the grant of aid from one state to another is based on comity and friendship and apparently he is telling us that every grant that the US gives to another country is conditioned on that, that they have the right to intrude into the affairs.

Maybe they have the right to criticize but not concluding that the acts of the Philippine officials are wrong on the basis of records because the records will speak to us that every step of the way that Senator de Lima was given all her rights, due process was strictly observed, she was afforded the right to preliminary investigation, she submitted countervailing evidence, the prosecutor found probable cause that’s whys she was formally charged and the Constitution requires the judge before issuing warrant of arrest to personally examine the evidence to determine if there is probable cause to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest and he did that.

So, I cannot understand where this Senator Leahy and another one, Senator Durbin, are coming from. The problem with them is that they listen to the critics of the Administration and believe what they hear or what they receive as info hook, line and sinker.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, can you afford not to go to the US if ever they would have to ban you?

SEC. PANELO: Of course. I’ve been there several times over.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And you don’t mind being barred from entering?

SEC. PANELO: No.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Because?

SEC. PANELO: Because it’s not the only country that you can go to and enjoy the sites and the sounds.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sige, sir. Thank you.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, on ASF again, sir. What’s Malacanang’s advice to LGUs on handling ASF? Like Ms Sara Duterte already banned the entry of pork products from Manila. So, what’s Malacanang’s advice to LGUs?

SEC. PANELO: The local governments? I think that’s for them to decide. Each one will have to decide for themselves.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Let’s say LGUs will say: Okay, let’s ban them, the entry of all pork products from Manila.

SEC. PANELO: Then, if that’s their decision, we have to respect them. They are only trying to protect their constituents.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, is the Palace even aware of the gravity of the ASF cases?

SEC. PANELO: Certainly, the Palace is aware of that. That’s precisely why the Secretary of Agriculture is doing something about it.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Alright. So, the Palace is being updated by the DA from time to time on the matter?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, definitely.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Alright. Thank you.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, balikan ko lang ‘yung question ni Joseph on the ban for Philippine officials na—

SEC. PANELO: Moreover, before I forget. That ban is just a proposal—

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay.

SEC. PANELO: —in a senate committee and I think the views of the two senators are in the minority; otherwise, some senators would have supported that. In other words, that ban will be only effective upon the approval of both Houses of Congress of the United States.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, follow-up ko lang po. Si Representative Edcel Lagman, he said na contrary doon po sa sinabi n’yo earlier ‘yung statements daw po ng dalawang US senators are not a form of interference in Philippine affairs. Sabi ni Lagman, “The freedom of public discourse allows officials of one country to criticize or even condemn the acts of officials of another country for genuinely perceive their actual violation of civil, political, and human rights.”

SEC. PANELO: Only if the criticism is based on official records.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay.

SEC. PANELO: But this particular case, they say there is a wrongful imprisonment and it’s very clear that there is none.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir—

SEC. PANELO: While the US can ban – just like our country can – there must be some basis for that, like if you are declared persona non grata, you have committed any transgression of their laws then you can certainly be banned.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, to be categorical about it. We do not reject criticisms of other countries outright. Ang kondisyon po natin, it has to be based on?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah…

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: On what, sir?

SEC. PANELO: On truth. If you’re just like what they’re doing, they are criticizing us for wrongful imprisonment. What is their basis for wrongful imprisonment? Just because Ms. De Lima and her supporters are saying that it is? You know, the usual convenient refuge of political chameleons is that they easily change their beliefs on the basis of a political agenda. ‘Pag makakabuti sa kanila, babaguhin nila ang posisyon nila.

Like that congressman. He’s a lawyer, he should know. How can there be a wrongful imprisonment when there is preliminary investigation and there is an issuance of a warrant for the arrest? It would be different if she wasn’t afforded the P.I.; or a warrant of arrest was not issued when she was arrested and detained – that’s abuse.

So, when Senator Leahy was speaking of abuse, he’s referring to himself. He’s abusing his freedom of expression, criticizing without basis and making it appear that it is true when it is not.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Secretary, good afternoon po. Na-mention ninyo po kanina na two lawmakers out of hundred senators lang … iyong regarding po doon sa proposal na i-ban iyong entry ng Philippine officials involved. Pero will you not discourage Philippine officials from travelling to USA, baka magkaroon ng conflict if ever they try to go to US?

SEC. PANELO: No, because the proposed ban is with reference only to government officials who according to the Senator, when the State Secretary has credible information – oh look at the word “credible information” – that these officials have something to do with the wrongful—so dalawa ang collatilla eh. Unang-una, can it be credible when you say that this official has something to do; pangalawa, wrongful. Hindi nga wrongful imprisonment eh; it’s legal.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: So there’s nothing to be afraid of sa mga government officials who want to go to US—

SEC. PANELO: No, I don’t think so.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, will the Palace care to comment on iyong sa SLEX because—

SEC. PANELO: What’s SLEX?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Iyong blinock [blocked] nila iyong … kasi may ginagawa na ano, and it’s causing sobrang haba ng traffic on the—I know this is a private corporation, Skyway. But since it’s affecting public conveyance, any probably thoughts of Malacañang how we should deal with it or—

SEC. PANELO: That will be under Secretary Tugade, right? We will ask him about it.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, good afternoon. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is suggesting to the Department of Foreign Affairs to immediately cancel the passport of the alleged Drug Queen Guia Gomez Castro. Is the Palace sharing the same sentiments, sir? Dapat ba?

SEC. PANELO: I understand she’s facing warrants of arrest. So if she is facing warrants of arrest that would be a good idea.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Are you supporting, sir, na dapat i-cancel?

SEC. PANELO: I said that’s a good idea.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Will you recommend it, will the Palace recommend to DFA?

SEC. PANELO: Let’s just say, it’s a good idea. It’s for the DFA to decide.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, another DFA-related question. Iyong 22 fishermen po in the Recto Bank incident, they claim na hindi pa sila properly compensated for what happened at wala pang binibigay iyon Chinese boat owner. May nag-donate lang po na ibang entity na second-hand boat.

SEC. PANELO: At marami, maraming nag-donate. Alam ko milyon na iyang umabot sa mga donation nila.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Pero iyong mismong boat owner—

SEC. PANELO: Now with respect to that, hindi ba ang sabi ng Chinese government, we have to file an insurance claim. That is why they should and… they should file. Hindi ka naman basta bibigyan, siyempre may insurance iyong shipping company.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Are we aware through the DFA, sir, if nakapag-file na sila ng insurance claim?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. I have no knowledge.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: For the Palace, sir, ano po iyong tamang timeframe para ma-compensate ng Chinese owner iyong—

SEC. PANELO: You have to file an insurance claim, and then let the process proceeds. Mayroong mga protocols iyan eh. Hindi ka naman basta bibigyan ng insurance company, kailangan mayroon munang claim. Iimbestigahan pa ng insurance company, saka lang sila makakatanggap.

But meanwhile, palagay ko sa ngayon, marami silang tinanggap na saklolo, alalay coming from various sectors. But they should file an insurance claim.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Even if, sir, na may alalay silang na-receive from other sectors, the Philippine is still demanding na ma-compensate sila, correct?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, because kailangan dahil sila ang may kasalanan eh – iyong ship. Moreover, ‘di ba inamin naman nila. Sabi nila, they are willing to pay kahit na aksidente lang.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So, sir, nananawagan po ba kayo na dapat ma-release na iyong claim nila as soon as possible?

SEC. PANELO: No, what I am saying is, mag-file muna. How can you release a claim kung wala namang insurance claim.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: But is that being facilitated?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know. There must be—these fishermen should go to a place where …

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: By themselves?

SEC. PANELO: Oh bakit naman hindi? Ikaw naman. Don’t underestimate the fishermen. They can go to their mayor, for instance, and ask help. Oh di dadalhin sila ng mayor doon sa proper entity.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, comment lang doon sa report ng AMTI – Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative – na the Chinese Coast Guards are being seen in the areas that we are claiming more frequently, and they are not peeping shy about it. Meaning—

SEC. PANELO: Saan galing iyang information?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sa Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative po. They’re saying that the Chinese are there and they are not very shy about making their presence felt.

SEC. PANELO: Then we will ask to validate that claim or that observation—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ask who?

SEC. PANELO: From the Defense department.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi na siya, sir, parang medyo arrogant on the part of Chinese to—

SEC. PANELO: Assuming that it’s true. Iba-validate pa nga natin eh. Then if that is validated, then we file the usual diplomatic protest.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: May nangyayari ba, sir, diyan sa mga diplo protest natin?

SEC. PANELO: The fact alone na nag-file ka ng diplomatic protest eh di may nangyari na. You’re complaining eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yeah, but in terms of action, in terms of response from China …

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba mayroon na ring nangyari na nagreklamo tayo tapos hindi nila tinuloy. Remember iyong mga fishing vessels noon na ang dami-dami tapos nawala? Ang explanation nila doon ay kasi fishing season. After that, wala ka nang makita – isa, dalawa na lang.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, this incident in conjunction with the statement of the Foreign Affairs Secretary that, you know, Chinese grants, they don’t materialize. Can you really trust the Chinese when they say something?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: If they say that they’re going to move from our area, they’re not going to do this… at this point in our relationship with China, do you think there is really trust there?

SEC. PANELO: The President is still trust them.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi, sir, this move by … as reported by the AMTI, parang hindi ba siya, sir, utter disrespect sa atin?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, hindi pa nga naba-validate iyan. Hintayin natin ang validation.

MODERATOR: Questions? No more questions na po? Okay. Salamat po, MPC. Salamat, Secretary Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

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

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