Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

MODERATOR: Statement, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Well, we welcome the ushering of the New Year. We hope to have a better Philippines with the President doing what he has been doing. All his promises are being done – the fight against corruption, criminality, the drugs and the improvement of the Filipinos lives. He wants to have at the end of his term, his countrymen enjoying a comfortable life and a lasting peace.

FRANCIS: Good morning, Sec. We heard may bago na raw AFP Chief of Staff na napili si Pangulo at ang turnover daw po ay sa Camp Aguinaldo on Saturday. Will the President be attending the event, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, wala pang pinaparating sa akin so I cannot respond to that. Wala pa akong natatanggap, wala pa sa schedule.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Secretary, you just confirmed that there is a third senator, US senator banned in the Philippines because of his support for the entry ban against officials behind the De Lima detention. Will the ban extends also to other senators who has issued resolutions supporting De Lima before?

SEC. PANELO: I will have to ask the President.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Lima iyon di ba.

SEC. PANELO: I will ask the President on that. So far iyon pa lang tatlo.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: But is it possible?

SEC. PANELO: I do not know. I’ll have to ask the President.

ROSE COZ/UNTV: Sir, any statement from the President regarding po doon sa latest po na insidente ng pagpaslang po sa OFW natin sa Kuwait and DOLE po ay nagpatupad na po ng partial deployment ban?

SEC. PANELO: Well, as we said earlier, the President is outraged by that, it is a violation of the agreement between these two countries and the incident is under investigation. The Secretary of Labor as you said has already executed a partial deployment. Let’s see if it becomes full deployment of the ban.

ROSE COZ/UNTV: Any statement po from the government for the Kuwaiti government dahil po sa nangyari pong—

SEC. PANELO: The statements made by Secretary Bello and myself are the statements of this government.

ROSE COZ/UNTV: Do we see total deployment ban in the future and ano po ang magiging pinakadahilan para magpatupad ng total na deployment ban?

SEC. PANELO: That depends. That depends.

ROSE COZ/UNTV: Another case of abuse against—

SEC. PANELO: That will depend on the endorsement or recommendation of Secretary Bello.

ARRIANE: Sec, iyong recent death po ng OFW. How does that affect our country’s ties with Kuwait?

SEC. PANELO: Well, hindi ba… meron na ngang partial ano eh—

ARRIANE: Yes sir, but on a government to government level. How would that affect?

SEC. PANELO: Di naapektuhan na nga, ano ba ang tawag mo doon.

ARRIANE: Are we considering cutting ties with Kuwait, sir, at this point?

SEC. PANELO: Baka naman masyado nang seryoso iyon, tingnan natin how it develops.

ARRIANE: Pero, sir is that—are we considering that at this point pinagaaralan po ba o hindi pa po?

SEC. PANELO: As I said earlier depende iyon sa rekomendasyon ni Secretary Bello.

CEDRIC/GMA7: Sir, following the President’s statement, sir, in support of Kaliwa Dam project. Iyong Makabayan Bloc, sir, nag-isyu na rin ng statement ulit na saying it’s a disastrous plan daw for the country to proceed with the project and may mga “onerous” provisions daw doon sa project or sa contract. Any reaction, sir?

SEC. PANELO: First, did they explain why disastrous? Did they elaborate why it’s disastrous? Number two, what are those onerous provisions?

CEDRIC/GMA7: Iyong mga sinasabi nila, sir, may mga provisions na talo ang Pilipinas—

SEC. PANELO: Like what? They have to specify so that we can respond accordingly.

CEDRIC/GMA7: Sinabi sir ni Congressman Isagani Zarate, sir, may mga probisyon sa kontrata na ikalulugi ng Pilipinas. Kung sakali daw magkaroon ng dispute, hindi ito maaring iresolba sa local courts, dapat daw na dalhin sa China international Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, iyong mga ganoong provisions daw po na unfavorable sa Pilipinas, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I’m sure those who drafted the agreement know exactly whether or not those provisions will be disadvantageous to this government. So since inaprubahan nila iyan, palagay ko nagkaroon na ng checking diyan kung disadvantageous nga o hindi.

CEDRIC/GMA7: Unless supposed, sir, the President will not agree with what the Congressman said sir na it is one side kumbaga iyong project.

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung makita ni Presidenteng one sided, di pareho rin nung sa water, di ba, ayaw niya ng onerous provisions.

TINA/DZMM: Sir, meron na po bang schedule iyong pagpirma ng Pangulo sa 2020 budget?

SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi ni Senator Sotto, mukhang meron siyang info na January 6.

TINA/DZMM: So how about from the President’s side?

SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi niya sa akin, di ba last time, sabi niya January, first week.

TINA/DZMM: Sir, meron na po ba kayong alam na provisions that he might veto or…?

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman siyang binabanggit.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, iyong proposal because of the still high number of injuries to the firecracker related injuries—

SEC. PANELO: High number? Di ba ang laki nga ng reduction.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Still, but marami daw iyong attributed to the even legal or the legal firecrackers.

SEC. PANELO: Eh maraming matitigas ang ulo kasi.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, parang they are now… Department of Health Secretary Duque is now pushing for a bill for a total ban of firecrackers in the country.

SEC. PANELO: Siguro pabor si Presidente roon, dahil sa Davao nga di ba meron siyang batas nung Mayor pa siya.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So most likely you expect him to certify it as urgent, considering—

SEC. PANELO: That’s probable.

JOYCE: Sir, sa pagpili lang ni Pangulong Duterte sa next AFP Chief – kay Santos. Anong basehan ni Pangulong Duterte when he chooses the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, hindi ko pa alam kung na-choose niya na nga iyong sinasabi mo.

JOYCE: Kinomfirm na po ni Executive Secretary Medialdea.

SEC. PANELO: Eh di kung na-confirm na, ibig sabihin kinonsider ni Presidente lahat ng mga factors like competence, honesty, administrative ability, lahat iyon kinonsider ni Presidente.

JOYCE: And what is the President’s message to the incoming AFP Chief of Staff?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko pa alam, he hasn’t given me any message. But you know, everytime a government official is appointed by the President, ang palagi lang niyang sinasabi, ‘all I’m asking is competence and honesty in your work.’ Iyon ang palaging message niya.

Part 2

JOYCE: Sir, how about the next PNP chief?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba sinabi niya dito muna kay DILG Secretary Año.

JOYCE: Until when iyon, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Oh ‘di ba sabi niya hanggang kelan niya gusto. He will decide.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, ibig sabihin, until now wala pa siyang nakikita sa lahat ng mga top contenders na honest and competent to qualify for the PNP top helm?

SEC. PANELO: Obviously, that goes without saying.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Kasi, Sec doon sa speech previously ni President Duterte, sabi niya si Secretary Año daw muna ang humawak, para by the time they exit in two years, hindi na ganoon kabigat iyong problema. So, is he saying he won’t appoint a PNP Chief until the end of his term?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi natin alam kung iyon nga ang ibig niyang sabihin. Kasi naman every pronouncement by the President is subject to change depending on the conditions prevailing at that time an announcement was made. If the conditions no longer obtain, then the President necessarily will have to change his stand on a particular matter.

TINA: Sir, does it mean na lagi na lang may OIC sa PNP? Since DILG Secretary si Secretary Año more on supervision lang siya?

SEC. PANELO: Wala namang sinabi si Presidente na iyong OIC, wala na di ba. So, I supposed the OIC remains.

TINA: So, we can say status quo, sir? No more 4-star general muna, because 4-star rank eh belongs to the Chief?

SEC. PANELO: Wala namang sinasabi si Presidente.

TINA: Any message sir, to the PNP regarding this, the President’s order with regards their morale and guidance?

SEC. PANELO: Well, I think the message of the President is very clear, hindi ba? As far as he is concerned, may problema ang PNP, kaya si DILG Secretary Año muna.

ARRIANE: Sir another matters lang. sir, sabi po ng DOH iyong 60% daw sir ng reported firework related injuries for the New Year were caused by legal fireworks: mga Kwitis, Lusis, Fountain. And sabi po ni DOH Secretary Duque, “nakakainis kasi karamihan nang mga na-injure ay dahil sa legal na fireworks, hindi po mga illegal,” may comment po ba iyong Palace dito, sir. Is the Palace planning to recommend a total ban on all fireworks, personal fireworks?

SEC. PANELO: Di ba kung si Presidente ang masusunod, gusto niya total ban. But marami ring nakikiusap na puwede namang i-regulate – so, siguro iyon muna.

ARRIANE: Okay, sir. Pero, sir would the Palace recommend editing iyong list ng mga legal fireworks natin, i-limit pa po?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko pa alam iyan, depende siguro iyan, ang magre-recommend diyan iyong mga agencies involved in the enforcement.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Pero Sec, given na iyon nga, 35% decrease daw in firecracker related injuries, how would the Palace assess iyong campaign ng DOH with regard doon sa reminder na huwag nang magpaputok?

SEC. PANELO: It should be relatively successful given the fact that there has been a down trend in injuries – 35%, malaki rin ang 35%. Saka walang deaths ha, iyon ang ano doon, significant. There is no death unlike before.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: So, relatively successful.

SEC. PANELO: I think so, from my point of view.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: So, it’s relatively lang, kasi nga may high number of injuries pa rin.

SEC. PANELO: Baka maiwasan pa iyon, hindi natin alam kung bakit, hindi ko rin maintindihan kung bakit nagkaroon ng injuries, kung—EH ‘di illegal pa rin – kala ko ba legal.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Mga Kwitis lang naman.

SEC. PANELO: Baka carelessness.

CEDRIC/GMA7: Sir, water concession po sir. Sir, dineny na po ng Manila Water iyong sinabi ni Pangulo na nangongolekta daw itong Manila water ng—nangongolekta daw for treatment plant near Harrison. Ang sabi po ng Manila Water: “The Manila Water does not collect from the consumers for the cost of future project, sir.” Baka po may information kayo, saan po itong treatment plant na ito o saan po nakuha ni Pangulo iyong information, kasi sinasabi ng Manila Water, no such thing daw po.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba from the very beginning nagbabayad tayo ng for water treatment na dapat mag-establish sila ng facility, mula’t sapul pa iyon pero never naman sila nagtayo ng facility. Iyon!

CEDRIC/GMA7: Pero, sir ang sinasabi po nila hindi sila nangongolekta for future projects and in fact, sir meron pa daw 13 billion na uncollected pa raw po na expenditures.

SEC. PANELO: The President is not even referring to future projects, ang nire-refer ni Presidente, mula’t sapul dapat gumawa na kayo ng facility na hindi ninyo ginawa. Meanwhile sinisingil ninyo kami, mga consumers na hindi n’yo naman ginawa.

CEDRIC/GMA7: May information kayo, sir, saan po itong, sa Harrison daw, near Harrison daw po na treatment plant?

SEC. PANELO: Meron silang treatment plant sa Harrison?

CEDRIC/GMA7: Galing daw po kay Presidente iyon.

SEC. PANELO: Na?

CEDRIC/GMA7: Near Harrison daw po – treatment plant, si Pangulo daw po ang nagsabi?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, parang ang narinig ko sa kanya, sinasabi daw nila na meron daw diyan. Kumbaga narinig niya na meron, pero ang alam niya nga wala. The water concessionaires confirmed na meron? Exactly iyon na nga ang sinasabi ni Presidente, iyon ang pagka-intindi ko sa speech niya, sinasabi nila meron daw diyan, hindi ko alam kung meron, kung nasaan man iyan.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, previously nagbanggit ang Pangulo na swak sa syndicated estafa itong Pangilinan saka Ayala iyong concessionaires ng Maynilad and Manila Waters. Totohanin ba ito ng Pangulo o hanggang banta lang? Are we expecting actual filing of syndicated estafa against these two owners?

SEC. PANELO: Pag sinabi ni Presidente, tutuluyan niya iyan.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Very good.

SEC. PANELO: Very good.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Kung hanggang banta lang, di at least kung talagang sinabi niya na swak eh, so meaning he has substantive evidence against the concessionaires.

SEC. PANELO: The every evidence nga iyong kontrata mismo eh. ‘Di ba sinasabi niya, it mirrors the provisions of the anti-graft. Lahat ng mga ginawa nila labag sa anti-graft.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, again just for the record, we are expecting a case to be filed and not just a mere threat?

SEC. PANELO: Remember that the President is the Chief enforcer of laws, and that is his duty. He would be reneging from his duty if he does not do that.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: Sir I don’t know if it was already asked earlier, pero just to be sure. Bakit sir iyong tatlong US senators lang ‘yung pinapa-bar ni Presidente pagpasok ng Pilipinas, why not all the 11 sponsors, what’s the logic behind that, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro iyong tatlo ang lumalabas na sila ang masugid, hindi pa natin alam iyong iba.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: And what triggers sir, the President na biglang maisama iyong si Senator Markey?

SEC. PANELO: Kasi parang lumalabas sa mga news items na very strong ang endorsement ni Markey.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: We were informed earlier na na-moved pala iyong mga events ni Presidente for today – tomorrow.

SEC. PANELO: Tomorrow…

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: What happened, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, baka nagpapahinga si Presidente.

MARICEL HALILI/TV 5: Holiday pa rin, okay thank you, sir.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Clarify ko lang iyong sa Makabayan, Sec. so, the President is willing again to review iyong Kaliwa Dam deal, kasi sinabi ninyo kanina, if there are onerous provisions.

SEC. PANELO: Oo. That goes without saying na ang Presidente naman, basta may nag-point out sa kanya na merong onerous provision tinitingnan kaagad iyon. Kung nakaligtas man iyon doon sa mga dapat tumingin, siya mismo titingnan niya iyan.

ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Kahit sinabi niya na maaaring iyon na iyong last chance ng Manila to have water.

SEC. PANELO: Oo puwede mo namang tanggalin iyong onerous provision, ituloy mo pa rin iyong kontrata.

JOYCE: Follow up lang po doon sa tanong ni Macy. Sabi po ni Senator Bong Go, masama daw po iyong pakiramdam ni Pangulong Duterte ngayong araw kaya hindi siya makakapunta doon sa Davao Del Sur. How is the President po ba, the state of his condition and health?

SEC. PANELO: Masama lang siguro pakiramdam. Ordinary naman iyon, kahit ako masama ang pakiramdam ko ngayon. Pag kulang ang tulog mo, ‘di ba natural lang iyon, but after that tomorrow okay na naman iyon.

JOYCE: Pero, sir matagal naman siya sa Davao. So I think he already rested for a couple of days.

SEC. PANELO: Oo, pero marami din siyang ginawa doon di ba? He attended the Rizal tribute, pumunta siya doon sa mga cancer victims, binisita niya iyong ibang earthquake victims, namigay siya ng mga tseke, marami rin siyang ginawa eh.

JOYCE: So doon sa sinabi na masama ang pakiramdam, hindi naman ito anything serious?

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi, ano lang iyon, ordinary masamang pakiramdam ng isang 74 year old.

JOYCE: So, there is nothing to be worried about?

SEC. PANELO: Oh no.

##

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