Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: …Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Secretary Salvador Panelo. Good afternoon, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon, MPC.

We welcome the acceptance of the VP Leni on the offer, as well as the appointment to her by the President as Anti-Illegal Drug Czar. As we said earlier, we welcome her return to the Cabinet and as I pointed out, that this is her moment and she should seize this opportunity because destiny awaits her and history beckons.

So this is it. By her acceptance, it shows that she is much smarter than her colleagues in the opposition who do not want her to succeed. Welcome Vice President Leni, back to the Cabinet.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Good afternoon, sir. Sir if I remember it right, the Vice President was removed from her post before, as one of the Cabinet members because—

SEC. PANELO: No, she was not removed. Let me correct you there. She was never removed. As I have explained in previous press briefing, the reason why she was not asked to attend Cabinet meetings because the President didn’t want to embarrass her. Because if you recall, as a member of the Cabinet, she was making statements against the policies of the administration; and no member of the Cabinet ever confronted her.

It was… as far as we were concerned, she was still welcome. But that was an eerie thing you know, when you’re a member of a group and then you keep on criticizing the group when you’re outside of it.

So the President felt that she didn’t want to be embarrassed, so she was advised not to attend. But she was not removed, she resigned from her post.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So sir this time, what will be the difference considering that the Vice President already mentioned earlier that she would still criticize the government in so far as the war on drugs is concerned.

SEC. PANELO: No. She did not say she will criticize. She said that she is against killing, she is against… whatever. She is now the drug czar then she can do what she wants. It will be her method of stopping, eliminating the illegal drug menace in this country. And she will have the support of the entire members of the Cabinet, as well as the agencies under her.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But sir, in the event that she would still continue to criticize the administration on its policies, would she be again, asked not to attend anymore any Cabinet meeting or—

SEC. PANELO: I don’t think she will be criticizing because she will be on top of the situation. She will be there, how can she be criticizing herself?

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So sir, paano iyong magiging arrangement? Paano iyong magiging—siya iyong magiging top official doon sa war on drugs. Would she be given the authority, the power to, like over the PNP and the PDEA, paano po?

SEC. PANELO: That is precisely why she has to talk to the President. The next step is for her to see the President so that she can iron-out whatever ideas she has. What are the things she would want the President to give her relative to her position, so they have to discuss?

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So, so far mayroon na po bang communication sa Office of the President kung kailan iyong meeting?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, she is invited I think. But I think the Executive Secretary will do the inviting.

In fact, she’s invited to attend today’s Cabinet meeting. But I supposed it’s so tight, I don’t think she may be able to come.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, just a clarification on that. You sent her an invite to attend the Cabinet meeting today?

SEC. PANELO: No. In fact I said she is invited to attend and I mentioned that already yesterday and the other day and this morning. If she so desires, but I don’t think she would have the time to come here because it’s very tight. She may have some appointments.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: But, are you waiting for her to come?

SEC. PANELO: No. We are inviting her and I think the Executive Secretary will most probably send her a formal invitation to see the President.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Ah, okay. So there is a need for a formal invitation, a formal invitation?

SEC. PANELO: I think so.


SEC. PANELO: Of course she can request for a courtesy call which is the ordinary thing to do among members of the Cabinet. We always ask.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So, sir, does it mean na magkakaroon pa rin ng amendment doon sa Executive Order No. 15, because I think that was the question of Atty. Barry Gutierrez na sinasabi na wala kasi iyong Co-Chair doon sa EO 15? So now that she accepted—

SEC. PANELO: I already responded to that, and the fact alone that the Vice President accepted it, she agrees with our position that there is no need for any amendment. The President has the continuing authority to reorganize. The fact alone that she has been appointed, ipso facto as a lawyer, that is an amendment to the executive order – it’s coming from the President.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Kanina sir, sinabi rin po ni VP Leni na marami raw nagtatanong sa kaniya kung handa na raw ba siya. Pero ang tanong niya, kayo daw ba handa na sa kaniya?

SEC. PANELO: Eh matagal nang handa kaya nga binigay sa kaniya ang posisyon eh ‘di ba? I think that’s common sense. You offered and you give, that means the appointing power is of the belief that the person being appointed is capable of doing the job.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Okay, thank you sir.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, what kind of working relationship can we expect between the President and the Vice President?

SEC. PANELO: It should be good, because there is an appointment and there is an acceptance. So the appointee and the appointing power are in accord with the position.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. Sir when she assumes ‘no, iyong position niya as Co-Chair, will she have access to documents from the council? What kind of document—

SEC. PANELO: What council?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The anti-drug council, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Of course she is the Co-Chair, why should she not have access?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, she will have access to all—

SEC. PANELO: As we’ve said, we will give all the support. Being a member of the Cabinet, it behooves all of us to help each other – because her success is the success of the Cabinet as well as this administration and ultimately the Filipino people.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Uhum. Sir, would you know if there has been—has there been a formal invitation o kailangan ba ng formal invitation pa from the Cabinet?

SEC. PANELO: First, if she wants a formal invitation, then that could be forthcoming. But as I said, members of the Cabinet, if you are already a member of the Cabinet, all you need to do is just request for a meeting with the President – that is what we do, all of us. We course through our request to the Appointments Office so that it will be scheduled.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Sir, today iyong Cabinet ninyo, 5 o’clock ano?



CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, Vice President Robredo said kanina sabi niya: “At kahit sabihin natin na ang alok na ito ay pamumulitika lamang at hindi naman talaga ako susundin ng mga ahensiya at gagawin nila ang lahat para hindi ako magtagumpay, handa akong tiisin ang lahat ng ito.”

SEC. PANELO: Good! It only means she’s sincere. Then she should be commended for that.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: What assurance—anong maibibigay natin sa kaniya na this will not happen na—sabi niya na, “Gagawin nila ang lahat para hindi ako magtagumpay.”

SEC. PANELO: As I said, her success is our success and her failure will be our failure. I don’t think we would want that.


EVELYN QUIROZ/PILIPINO MIRROR: Good afternoon, Secretary. So sinabi ninyo po kanina, “dinesignate po si Vice President because she is capable of doing the job,” so, admission din po ba ito na hindi talaga kaya ng dating namumuno sa against drugs ang trabahong ito?

SEC. PANELO: No. As I have repeatedly said, it was her position that the drug war is a failure or is ineffective; and she was suggesting that we should find some facts. And the President feels after listening to her that she could have some facts in her mind. And so, he gave her the opportunity, the chance to help.

EVELYN QUIROZ/PILIPINO MIRROR: Okay. Sir, ano po sa tingin ninyo iyong missing link for the success of the drug operations na dapat i-consider ni Vice President?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, we’ll have to ask the new anti-drug czar. She will be in the hot seat.


Q: Sir good afternoon po. Sir, could you specify, ano po iyong responsibilities ni Vice President sa posisyon na ito and how will she exercise her powers with a co-chair?

SEC. PANELO: We cannot be speculating on a responsibility. It will be between the President and the appointee, they will have to discuss.

Q: But is she equal to PDEA Chief Aquino, Co-chair po kasi iyong posisyon?

SEC. PANELO: Eh ‘di kung co-chair di pareho sila.

Q: But PDEA Chief Aquino is not a cabinet rank, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Oh, so what?

Q: So that means iyong position is.

SEC. PANELO: It doesn’t mean anything, they are both Co-chair in the same entity.

Q: Pero cabinet rank po ba iyong position na in-offer kay Vice President?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, ilang beses na nating paulit-ulit iyan.

Q: Iyon nga sir eh, there is a confusion kasi co-chair.

SEC. PANELO: Ano bang exactly what do you want.

Q: Kasi they are co-chair, sir.

SEC. PANELO: So what if they are co-chair.

Q: So, equal po iyong position nila.


Q: One is cabinet rank and the other is not in cabinet.

SEC. PANELO: Eh ano naman, ano naman ang diperensiya noon, sige nga ikaw naman, ano ang difference?

Q: What are the parameters for success considering—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga natin alam pa iyan, siyempre – kaya nga mag-uusap sila eh. Kaya nga hindi ba si Bise Presidente, mayroon siyang gustong mga idea, mayroon siyang mga hiningi, kaya nga eh oh, di sabihin kay Presidente para, she should know kung ano ang gusto niya to be effective di ba?

Q: I mean as early now, sir, you can say na ito iyong mga puwede nating parameters.

SEC. PANELO: I’m not the President. I’m just his Spokesman.

Q: But sir kasi, iba iyong perspective ng Vice President—ni President regarding drug war.

SEC. PANELO: ‘Antayin na lang natin muna na i-outline kung ano ang kanyang powers.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, last time when she was—the Vice President was HUDCC Chairman, I think she resigned or she was asked to resign?

SEC. PANELO: She resigned.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Because her thoughts or her policies are against to the line of policies of the Duterte administration. Again this time—

SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily. As I said kanina pa, the President didn’t want her to be embarrassed inside the Cabinet. Kasi kapag banat ka ng banat tapos kaharap mo iyong mga nasa miyembro ng gabinete, kapag nakantiyawan ka doon, mapapahiya ka. Para hindi na, huwag ka na munang um-attend.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Ito ngayon, ang sabi niya kanina, accepting the post doesn’t mean that she would stop criticizing or saying her own thoughts. So again inaasahan natin na she will be a Cabinet member and a critic at the same time.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga mangyayari iyon, kasi siya na nga, she will be criticizing herself. Siya nga ang bossing sa illegal drug, ‘di ba, oh eh how can she be criticizing her own self, siya nga ang on top of the situation.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, also going back doon sa tanong kanina. As a drug czar, so she will be entitled also with the intelligence reports as what the President has?

SEC. PANELO: Oh siyempre, she will be, kaya nga siya nga ang drug czar. How can you be a drug czar kung hindi mo alam kung ano ang nangyayari sa teritoryo mo.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: And as drug czar, she will be in full control and supervision of the intelligence fund against drugs.

SEC. PANELO: Ah eh na kay Presidente na iyon, kaya nga kailangan mag-usap sila. Dapat si VP Leni, if I were in her place, siyempre sasabihin ko kay Presidente. Mr. President, ito ang kailangan ko, 1, 2,3,4,5. Oh di ba. Hangga’t hindi niya sinasabi, hindi natin malalaman kung ano ang gusto niyang mga pamamaraan, mga bagay-bagay upang siya ay maging matagumpay sa bago niyang posisyon.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Okay, so the whole instrumentalities, resources and powers of the government against illegal drugs is at the Vice President’s perusal and disposal now?

SEC. PANELO: Sinasabi na nga kanina pa eh. Mayroon na ngang memorandum si Presidente sa lahat ng mga agencies involved in the operation, mag-cooperate kayo diyan sa bagong Co-chair.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, sir with the acceptance of VP Leni with the position, she is considered the drug czar of the administration, the government?


PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Can she be considered the drug czar, kung co-chair lang ng ICAD iyong posisyon na in-offer sa kaniya?

SEC. PANELO: Sinabi na nga ni Presidente, siya ang drug czar, ano pa ba.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero co-chair, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Kahit pa – mismo iyong appointing power, nagsabi ikaw ang drug czar, ano pa nga ba ang gusto natin.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, iyon nga, sir. So sino ang mas mataas sa kanila ni PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino.

SEC. PANELO: Eh di iyon ang tanungin niya kay Presidente kung masyado siyang—kung nagdududa pa siya.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, iyon, sir iyong on the operation aspect. For example lang, sir, because they are co-chair, pag mayroong problem doon.

SEC. PANELO: As I said, kung ano ang kailangan ni Bise Presidente, kailangan sabihin niya iyon kay Presidente. Right now, we will all be speculating, hindi natin alam lahat kung ano ang gusto ni Bise Presidente at kung ano ang ibibigay rin ni Presidente sa kanya.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, sir iyong functions ng co-chair siguro noong ICAD is laid out in the EO 50. But you said kailangan mag-usap pa rin sila ni Presidente, so she can tell the President what she needs. So, can we say that her functions can go beyond what was listed or specified in the EO, if that is..?

SEC. PANELO: You will be speculating again, eh kailangan tanungin niya kay Presidente iyon. Puro tayo magi-speculate niyan. Let’s wait for her. We cannot be more Popish than the Pope.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sinabi din ni PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino before that VP Leni would fail as a drug czar because—

SEC. PANELO: Ine-explain niya naman.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: She has no experience in law enforcement.

SEC. PANELO: In fairness to PDEA Aquino, sabi niya, he was only referring to experience – binawi niya naman di ba.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Particular sir, experience in law enforcement. Does the Palace share the same sentiment, sir?

SEC. PANELO: About what?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: About iyong sinabi ni PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino?

SEC. PANELO: She will learn on the job, lahat naman iyan eh – everyone learns.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, iyong the problem on drugs, is that not important enough to have a person in position that will not learn on the job, but instead is already capable to handle the job in the first place?

SEC. PANELO: Let us not underestimate the capability of this Vice President. When she was criticizing, she appeared to have a lot of ideas in her mind. Because she said, it’s not effective, let’s use other tact that she must have, a lot of ideas in her mind. So let’s wait for her.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir it’s safe to say that the Vice President will be handling operational aspect of the anti-drug operations?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro, dahil drug czar nga, parang iyong si Erap, di ba noong crime czar siya noon, operations siya.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: So, puwede siyang mag-deploy ng police and any other?

SEC. PANELO: Lahat ng iyan will have to be discussed with the President. Siyempre magkakaroon sila ng outline, guidelines.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: So sir what will be the role of President Duterte in the drug war now, after he has designated—

SEC. PANELO: He is the President of the Philippines.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: So, he will still be on top of the drug campaign?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kaya nga ginawa nang drug czar si VP Leni, di siya ang on top of the situation, of course she will be reporting to the President. The President will be listening to her. She will be asking advice from the President kung okay iyong ginagawa niya baka mayroon pang gustong gawin.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: sir, ang sabi ni President Duterte noong una, hindi siya makikialam kapag si VP Leni na iyong tumanggap dito nga sa drug czar na position, pero kanina sabi ni VP Leni sa end ng kanyang speech na may natitirang higit dalawang taon pa si Pangulong Duterte, hindi pa huli.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi dalawang taon – dalawang taon at walong buwan. Kasi November na eh, eh ‘di bilangin mo, June eh.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay, sir more than two years sa term.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi mo binibilang, binilang ko uli eh.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Higit two years, sir. Ang sabi po ni VP Leni, hindi pa huli ang lahat para magtulungan sila ni Pangulo. Ang tanong po: Makikialam po ba si Pangulo, makikipagtulungan po ba siya personally kay VP Robredo?

SEC. PANELO: Aba eh kung hinihingi ang tulong ni Presidente, ba’t naman hindi siya tutulungan? Meanwhile, we will let her to lead that agency.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So, ibig sabihin, sir pupuwede siyang mag-interfere in the middle of her work?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung gusto nga ni VP, eh kung gusto niyang humingi ng tulong kay Presidente, sabihin niya, Mr. President kailangan ko pa yata ito, Oh eh siyempre tutulungan siya ni Presidente, hindi pakikialam iyon. Kung hindi pagtulong iyon sa isang miyembro ng gabinete.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So mag-i-interfere lang po si Pangulo kapag humingi po ng tulong si VP Robredo?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi mag-i-interfere – tutulong. Kasi kapag sinabi mong interfere, papakialaman mo iyong hindi mo dapat pakialaman; ibinigay mo na nga ang trabaho. And as you notice, the President doesn’t interfere with any of us, in all the departments, unless we ask him to help us. Hindi siya nakikialam talaga eh, ganoon ang istilo niya ever since; kahit noong mayor pa siya, ganiyan siya. Kaya lang, accountable ka.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Means to say, sir, ready na umalalay si Pangulo kay VP Robredo?

SEC. PANELO: Ano, anong sabi mo?

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Ready pong umalalay any time?

SEC. PANELO: Ano pa ba ang tawag mo doon sa memorandum? May instruction na nga eh, alalayan ninyo eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, I’m sure there will be fundamental differences between the President and Vice—

SEC. PANELO: Ikaw naman, nag-speculate ka na kaagad ng fundamental.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I mean, based on their statements and based on her criticism of the drug war. That’s not speculation; that’s based on past behaviors.

SEC. PANELO: Baka naman when she accepted, iba na ang pananaw niya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And then she wants the alternative ideas, you said before.

SEC. PANELO: Na alin?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: That she might have different idea, that’s why you got her in, right?

SEC. PANELO: Baka hindi different, baka mas improved ideas, mas better.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Still, not the same idea. Now, suppose VP Leni will have a different directive as to where she wants to lead this drug war and very different from the way President Duterte wants to conduct it. Will she be given free reign?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, hindi pa nangyayari iyan kaya speculation iyan.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Policy question na lang, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I will not go into that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Policy question: Will she be given a free reign?

SEC. PANELO: I will not go into that until it happens.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So you cannot say that she will be given free reign?


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You cannot say that in terms of power, sir, in terms of power—

SEC. PANELO: Eh pag-uusapan pa nga iyong exact, the scope of her power. Siyempre kailangan … kahit ako, kung ako rin si VP Leni kailangan malaman ko, “Ano ba ang extent ng power ko, Mr. President? Tinatanggap ko ngayon iyong posisyon ko pero bigyan mo naman ako ng bird’s eye view – “ano bang akin diyan?” Kapag nalaman ko, medyo, “Puwede ho ba, sir, akin ito?” – ganoon, kailangan hintayin muna natin iyong dalawa mag-usap.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: All right. So the President will still not dictate, but spell out the powers that VP Leni can have?

SEC. PANELO: Not spell out. Kasi si VP Leni siyempre would want certain powers, ‘di ba? Oh di tatanungin niya si Presidente, “Mr. President, puwede ba ito akin?” Hintayin natin, hindi pa natin alam eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: How much power is the President willing to give the Vice President? Policy question…

SEC. PANELO: Basta kailangan maging successful ang drug war kung sa tingin niya ay hindi pa successful.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Sir, I think iyong question between who’s more, weightier than PDEA Chair and the Vice President who is a vice president and a Cabinet rank—

SEC. PANELO: Eh di si Presidente ang magdi-decide noon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Presidente pa?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Secretary, kasi si Vice President ay mga assumptions siya eh. I will read her statement ‘no, “Pero sa dulo ang pinakamahalagang konsiderasyon para sa akin ay simple lang: Kung ito ang pagkakataon para matigil ang patayan ng mga inosente at mapanagot ang kailangang mapanagot, papasanin ko ito.” So may assumption siya na may mga killings na ganoon. How would these assumptions affect iyong relationship niya with the President and the Cabinet?

SEC. PANELO: Basta siya ang drug czar: Kung ano ang gagawin niya, eh ‘di tingnan natin; Basta ang purpose palagi ay tapusin natin itong illegal drugs.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL STAR: But do you think such assumptions could, you know, affect iyong harmonious relationships supposedly with the Cabinet? Kasi mayroon na siyang notion na may—

SEC. PANELO: That’s speculation eh.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Kasi may notion na siya na may mga namamatay na innocent.

SEC. PANELO: Kasi hindi pa natin alam kapag nandoon ka na. Halimbawa, ikaw ang crime czar, pagkatapos may nag-report sa iyo o kaya nandoon ka mismo, nakita mo kung bakit napatay iyong isang tao – dahil lumalaban. Oh, hindi ba? Magbabago ang perception mo kasi kung dati hindi mo nakikita tapos actual nakikita mo, “Eh tama pala,” hindi ba? Hindi pa natin alam!

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL STAR: So you’re saying iyong pagtanggap niya ng post, it can somehow educate her about iyong reality—

SEC. PANELO: Kasama lahat iyan eh, kasama lahat. It can enlighten her or it can even deepen what she believes in – depende. Nandoon na siya eh, siya ang makakaalam ngayon kung tama ang mga sinasabi ng mga kalaban ni Presidente – kasama na rin siya doon – o mali. Kasi nandoon na siya eh. Kumbaga nasa ground ka na eh, hindi ka na lang nakikinig. Iba siyempre iyong nandoon ka sa ground.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, this is sort of similar to the other questions. You mentioned earlier that the President does not interfere with members of the Cabinet. So is the President giving the Vice President a free hand in, for example, reviewing the drug war because she is the drug czar?

SEC. PANELO: He said so himself.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So does the President need to seek the—or rather, does the President need to seek the President’s permission for, let’s say, instances where she wants to execute major changes in anti-drug operations?

SEC. PANELO: The Vice President needs to know the scope of her authority. That is basic in one occupying a new position.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, the question is: Does she need to seek the President’s permission if she wants to implement major changes in the drug war?

SEC. PANELO: It depends kung ano ang agreement nila; if she can do it already, bakit pa hihingi siya ng permiso. Kaya nga hihingiin niya na iyon bago pa lang siya maupo eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So far now, for example, sir, if we ask you, can she go as far as suspending anti-drug operations pending review?

SEC. PANELO: She will have to talk to the President so that she will know the extent and the scope of her power as drug czar.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So for now, sir, hindi pa malinaw sa Malacañang? You can’t give us a clear—

SEC. PANELO: Sa Malacañang malinaw, pero siya, baka hindi pa malinaw sa kaniya.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Ano iyong malinaw, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi natin nga alam.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Akala ko malinaw.

SEC. PANELO: Kung ano iyong nasa batas, iyon ang malinaw. But the Vice President may want—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Let’s disregard what she wants. What are—

SEC. PANELO: No, that’s very … no, no, no. The Vice President has made some conditions. Remember? Marami siyang hinihingi eh. This is the time for her to ask the President baka mayroon siyang gustong hingiin. So let’s not preempt her.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, sorry, ano po iyong sinasabi ninyong malinaw in as far as—

SEC. PANELO: Oh di malinaw na siya ang magiging drug czar. She will be on top of the situation; campaign against illegal drug trafficking in this country. But there are laws for that so she has to enforce that.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Okay. Kung malinaw po as drug czar, can she, for example, order a stop to anti-drug operations?

SEC. PANELO: What? Hindi lang she will stop drug, siya ang mag-i-initiate ng drug—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Pero pending review because she is the czar nga.

SEC. PANELO: Ina, if you are the drug czar, siyempre iyong mga police drug operation, malalaman mo iyon. Siyempre, “Ma’am, ganito ang gagawin namin, ganiyan, ganiyan.” “Ako ang boss ninyo, mali yata iyan, ito ang gawin natin,” oh hindi ba, ganoon lang iyon – ikaw nga ang bossing eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So she can? That’s what we’re asking, sir, can she right now, let’s say, order police officials, “Oh i-hold ninyo muna kasi pag-aaralan ko muna ngayon.”

SEC. PANELO: It goes without saying, if she’s the boss, then she can do that.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Okay – without seeking the President’s help?

SEC. PANELO: Siya na nga, in-appoint na nga siya eh, ano ba kayo?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Without ha, without ha.


SEC. PANELO: Na ano?


SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga precisely they have to talk. Kasi sa ngayon hindi niya rin alam kung ano—kasi like may question, “Sir, co-chair eh,” eh di kailangan tanungin mo si Presidente. Kailangan malaman mo iyong scope ng authority mo. Ganoon din ang gagawin ko kung ako ang na-appoint.

KRIS JOSE/REMATE: Sir, ano naman po ang masasabi ninyo doon sa tingin ng iba according to VP Leni, “iyon daw pong inalok na position sa kaniya ay trap para siraan at pahiyain lamang siya, naghahanap lang ng damay ang gobyernong Duterte,” ayon, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Sinagot ko na rin iyon. Ang sagot ko doon ever since, iyong mga nagsasabi noon, ayaw lang nilang magtagumpay si VP Leni, ayaw nilang tanggapin iyon para magtagumpay siya bilang isang public servant serving the people. But she proves to be smarter than them.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Hi, sir. Good afternoon po. Sa statement po ni Vice President Robredo kanina, may binanggit po siyang ganito, “At kahit sabihin na nating ang alok na ito ay pamumulitika lamang at hindi naman talaga ako susundin ng mga ahensiya …” Mayroon din po kasing binabanggit ang ilang pulitiko na nagsasabi na dapat din pong may kalayaan si VP Robredo na mag-appoint ng mga bagong pinuno sa PDEA, DDB dahil siyempre bilang drug czar, dapat may tiwala rin siya sa pamunuan ng mga ahensiyang ito. So mayroon din po ba siyang karapatan na mag-appoint?

SEC. PANELO: Nasagot ko na rin iyan. ‘Di ba sabi ko, kailangan malaman niya kay Presidente ang scope ng authority niya – malalaman natin lahat ‘yan ‘pag nagkausap na silang dalawa.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Anong assurance naman po na talagang susundin o anong magiging—


ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Assurance na susundin siya ng mga ahensya kung hindi niya papalitan ‘yung—hindi niya po sigurado iyong katapatan?

SEC. PANELO: Hintayin na lang natin iyong dalawa mag-usap tungkol sa scope ng authority nilang dalawa—niya.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Okay sir, another question po: Bilang co-chair pero ang titulo ay drug czar, so, ano mang desisyon niya po kailangan ba ng consensus ng interagency committee o—

SEC. PANELO: Antayin na lang natin uli kung anong pag-uusapan nila ni Presidente tungkol doon.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Okay sir, thank you po.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Just taking your answers to Ina, very clear answers. Now, so meaning she has the authority to replace, remove or appoint—

SEC. PANELO: No, I didn’t say that. I told you repeatedly she – the Vice President, has to know the scope and extent of her authority that is why she need to talk with the President. Until such time we cannot speculate, we cannot insist on that she has this authority or she has none.


SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa natin alam lahat iyon.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Going back doon lang sa specific na—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi… ‘Yun na nga sinagot ko na nga eh. ‘Yun na rin ang isasagot ko sa’yo eh.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: ‘Yung sagot ni Ina na “can implement whatever she wants to make the operation successful because siya iyong anti-drug czar.” So, in so doing, therefore she has the authority to… for example: To remove, replace a PNP drug operation or drug operators if she saw it na unfit iyong opisyal doon sa anti-drug operations?

SEC. PANELO: Same answer to the question.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, ‘di ba kapag nag-offer ka ng position alam mo kung ano iyong ibinibigay mong posisyon, correct? Yes? ‘Di ba?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman ako nag-appoint eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, but you’re the spokesperson, my God naman.

SEC. PANELO: I will only express you the thoughts of the President.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Exactly! [unclear]

SEC. PANELO: He hasn’t told me anything about it, I can’t say anything about it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: For example—

SEC. PANELO: So, what is your point?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Basis of—the basis is the—

SEC. PANELO: What is your point nga?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I’ll go to my point, premise first.


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You have the memorandum from the President—


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: May tenure and then my order na—


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: —Papatulungin ‘yung PDEA and PNP. ‘Pag nag-offer ka sa Vice President, so trabaho iyon—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi na siya trabaho, in-appoint na siya, hindi na siya nag-offer.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Exactly! Exactly! So, trabaho ang iyong ibinigay kay VP Leni, correct?


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Anong klaseng trabaho, drug czar, correct?


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Parameters? We don’t know as of this time?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa nga kasi nga si VP Leni mayroon siyang gusto apart from dati na alam natin. Hindi pa natin alam kung ano ang gusto niyang iba pa kasi marami siyang sinasabi, “I want this”, iyong makulit siya, hindi, hihingiin mo rin ganito – well, lahat iyan sasabihin niya kay Presidente – malalaman natin lahat iyan after their talk.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So, halimbawa, sir, i-restate ko lang ‘yung question kasi baka doon magkaroon ng problema later on. ‘Pag magkaiba iyong direksiyon ni Presidente at ni Vice President, anong mangyayari?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa natin alam ‘yun, nag-ii-speculate tayo kung magkaiba. Eh, paano pala kung hindi? Hindi pa natin alam kung pareho.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ayaw niya ng may patayan, fundamental difference.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga natin alam pa iyon. Let us not—you are jumping—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alam natin ‘yun, sir. That’s not speculation.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. ‘Di ba sinagot ko na? Ayaw mo ng patayan kasi hindi mo pa alam na nandoon ka sa ground, hindi ba? Kasi naririnig mo, Oh, pinatay! Iyon pala nandoon ka na nakita mo harap-harapan, “Ah, kaya naman pala!” You see? So, hindi pa natin alam kung anong magiging posisyon…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, imposible iyong gusto ni Vice President na magkakaroon—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi imposible – hindi pa natin alam lahat iyan. Hanggang hindi pa siya nauupo hindi natin alam kung anong magiging posisyon niya on a particular matter relative to the drug war.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So, sir klaro from you, the Palace offer the position that has no parameters?

SEC. PANELO: The Palace offered and appointed her to a position of anti-illegal drug czar which means that all the laws relative to stopping the drug menace is to be enforced and she is on top of the enforcement now after accepting that position.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And it’s early to tell kung may fundamental difference in what’s going to happen?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa natin alam iyan.


INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: So, are you advising the Vice—Are saying that the Vice President shouldn’t make any moves yet until she meets the President, wala munang ganoon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. In fact, if she wants to talk with the President—‘Di ba iyon ang hinihingi nila?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Hindi—Oo nga. So, meeting muna bago siya mag-start actually—

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre! Kung ako rin siyempre, “Mr. President, I’m accepting. Ano na bang—what can I do and what can I not do?”


TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, kanina si Defense Secretary Lorenzana was saying na wala na raw calamity funds ang local government units, especially in the areas affected by the disaster in Mindanao? Is there a need for Malacañang or the Department to ask for additional calamity funds, supplemental budget o isasama na sa 2020?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam iyong parteng iyon. I haven’t talked to Secretary Lorenzana. Iba napag-usapan namin kanina eh.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Anong napag-usapan ninyo, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Scarborough napag-usapan namin eh.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: So sir, anong update?

SEC. PANELO: Scarborough? Sabi niya kahapon lang daw niya nalaman. Iba-validate niya kung ano iyong report. Hindi niya pa raw ano—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, tuloy po ba iyong plano ni Presidente to go on leave? To rest for—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: —a week after—tapos na iyong ASEAN?

SEC. PANELO: Mayroon na ba siyang sinabi?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Si Senator Bong Go po ang nagsabi that the President was planning to do that.

SEC. PANELO: Na kay Presidente iyon.


SEC. PANELO: Ako, if you will ask me, he really needs to rest kasi parang iyong—may mga comment doon sa mga leaders eh. Parang “Your President looks overwork. Don’t let him work too much.” ‘Yun lahat comment noong mga nandoon.


SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi lang naman namin, “Actually, yeah. He’s working very hard and the same time he had an accident so that contributed to what you’re seeing now.”

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: So, no final plans yet, decision that he will push through—?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa, wala pa. I’ll ask him. He’s supposed to be—he will be talking anytime now.


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, other matters: Iyon pong pinag-usapan ninyo ng DND, iyon ‘yung sa Scarborough – ‘Yung flares ‘no – so DND level, trying to verify pa?

SEC. PANELO: Oo. Kahapon niya lang daw nalaman iyan. Magre-research muna daw siya kung anong ano.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero hindi ba tauhan niya—I mean, military person iyong nagsabi ng ano eh, iyong [unclear]?

SEC. PANELO: Kung hindi pa nakakarating sa kaniya ng—siyempre, babasahin niya pa lahat ng mga dokumento?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, within the AFP alam na nila na nangyari iyong flares nang February ‘di ba?

SEC. PANELO: Basta iyon ang sabi sa akin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, may question is: Papaano po iyong response natin doon – the China is asserting rights—

SEC. PANELO: May response na doon si ano ah… si Teddy Boy Locsin, si Secretary Locsin. Sabi niya, if NICA validates that then he will file a diplomatic protest.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Diplo protest. Do you think, sir that China is being aggressive now?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know.


SEC. PANELO: I don’t know. What do you mean aggressive?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Aggressive like firing flares and then telling ships that Scarborough is a Chinese territory.

SEC. PANELO: We’ll take the stand of the SND. He will have to validate what exactly happened there and as well as the stand of the Secretary of the Foreign Affairs that if it’s validated by the NICA then we will file a diplomatic protest.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, right now we can’t say whether it’s objectionable or not – Palace side?

SEC. PANELO: If that’s true we have to object to that as the Secretary of foreign Affairs says. We will have to file a diplomatic protest.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why is it objectionable?

SEC. PANELO: Why not? If you’re doing things that will aggravate the situation there, there’s already a tension there. Precisely, that is the common stand of the ASEAN members: That there should be an exercise of self-restraint among those who are claimants so that it will not aggravate the situation there.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is China provoking actions in the South China Sea?

SEC. PANELO: How is that?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is China doing provocative actions in the area, or just provocative actions?

SEC. PANELO: Anything that will aggravate the situation, it is.

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

CELERINA MONTE/DAILY MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, iyong plan of the President to take a rest, does that mean that he will take a leave of absence at ia-allow ang Vice President to act or taking a rest na ile-lessen lang iyong kaniyang mga ginagawa, iyong mga engagement niya?

SEC. PANELO: Palagay ko, ile-lessen lang. Eh, workaholic iyan eh, ayaw papigil magtrabaho. Saka maraming ano, you know the job of the President, just reading the briefer and signing the papers, ang tagal na trabaho ’yun.


SEC. PANELO: Most likely he will lessen his volume of work para hindi siya masyadong pressured.

MODERATOR: Thank you, MPC! Maraming salamat, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.


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