Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Good afternoon MPC, kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon, MPC.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, may US visa ka pa?

SEC. PANELO: Mayroon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Na-check ninyo na po last… kung if it’s still valid?

SEC. PANELO: Wala—ba’t ko itse-check, hindi naman ako nagbibiyahe eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Of course, the context is si Senator Dela Rosa has confirmed that his visa has been cancelled by the US Embassy. Your comment, please.

SEC. PANELO: May comment? Well—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The Palace.

SEC. PANELO: —it’s the prerogative and right of any state to disallow or to allow any citizen of any country. I don’t know what reason it was cancelled. Did the US state any reason for the cancellation?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi, sir.

SEC. PANELO: But I understand, according to Senator Dela Rosa the embassy told him if he wants to renew, he can reapply.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, you don’t it has anything to do with the Magnitsky Act and—

SEC. PANELO: I have no idea.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So we’re okay lang if na-cancel iyong visa nun?

SEC. PANELO: Eh puwede naman pala siyang mag-reapply eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So non-issue ‘to, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ha?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Non-issue, parang ganoon?

SEC. PANELO: Sa akin, non-issue.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, iyon muna sir.

SEC. PANELO: Tama naman pala iyong—akala ko si Julie iba ang sulat sa news sa Inquirer. Hindi, iyong… they’re blaming me for the fall of the stocks ng Ayala because of—iyong ginawang istorya ni Julie. Tama naman iyong istorya niya, ang mali iyong mga newscast. Sinasabi nila na sinabi ko daw.

Let me correct that. I never said that we will investigate TechnoHub because it has—it is renting less than twenty. What I said was I read an item on the internet, it alleges this. So we will investigate if this allegations are true or not. Iyon naman ang sulat ni Julie eh, pero pagdating sa newscast iba na – ako na nagsabi, sa akin na galing.

Anyway, the Ayala TechnoHub issued a statement and it says that contrary—I don’t know, but sa statement nila sa news it refers to me. But I think it refers really to an article that appeared in the internet saying that less o mga 22 per square meter. But in their statement, they’re saying that UP will receive – will ha – mind you, the word is ‘will’ – future; will receive 171 pesos per square meter ang magiging renta. And at the same time, at the end of the 25 years, UP retains the ownership plus 16 commercial buildings.

Even assuming that to be true, palagay ko may problema pa nga sila eh. And I told the President about this, and ang reaksiyon ni Presidente, “Eh ‘di tingnan natin kung totoo iyong alegasyon noong article na iyon.” So we will investigate—we will review para malaman natin kung totoo o hindi. In other words, we do not know exactly what. But on the basis of the statement itself ng Ayala, it appears na after 25 years mayroon kang 16 commercial buildings. At one glance parang okay ha, 16 commercial buildings. Eh pero ang problema doon, iyong 16 commercial buildings mo 25 years old na. Sa madaling sabi, nag-depreciate na iyon matagal na matagal nang dapat—

And I was talking to some engineers and contractors, they’re saying na you know these people who hire us, when they tell us 25 years; ang materials namin pang-25 years lang, not beyond 25 years kaya talagang ide-demolish mo na iyong mga buildings mo. Madaling sabi, the depreciation value after 25 years eh halos zero na. So hindi na naman totoo.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Good afternoon, sir. So sir, after the review and the government found out that there are onerous provisions in that contract, what will happen next?

SEC. PANELO: O, eh ‘di siguro tingnan natin kung ano ang magiging rekomendasyon ng ano… ng… one, Department of Finance kasi involved pera eh; number two, iyong Department of Justice kasi it may involve rescission of contract; at saka SolGen – iyong tatlong iyon. Kung anong ano nila…

But let me allay the fears of foreign investors as well as Filipino businessmen. You don’t have to worry about the review, kasi if there is nothing with your contracts, there is nothing to worry about. The President will certainly respect the sanctity of contracts except only when from the very provisions it appears to be contrary to law, contrary to public interest and public policy; otherwise wala ‘yan, ganoon pa rin ‘yan.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, there was this statement earlier today by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia. He mentioned that there were concerns already by some credit rating agencies and some businessmen nga regarding the remarks of the authorities regarding these mga supposedly onerous contracts, and they raised concern about it. And the Secretary said that “the authorities should consider these concerns of the credit rating agencies and the businessmen.”

SEC. PANELO: As I said, everything is being considered but there is nothing to worry on the part of the businessmen whether foreign or locals because the government will not be reckless to step into any contract that is not contrary to law.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Will the government be not reckless also in issuing some pronouncements that could somehow affect the businessmen’s interest in the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Any pronouncement that says that the government will examine, evaluate or review onerous contracts is not something that businessmen should be afraid of – because it is the duty of the government precisely to protect the interest of the Filipino people.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But how about sir the President’s pronouncement that he would send these people like the Ayalas and the Pangilinans to jail and he will kick or slap them… something to that effect?

SEC. PANELO: Iyong kaniya naman, on the assumption na totoo lahat na ginawa nga nila iyon. Pero kung hindi naman… hindi ba si Presidente naman kung hindi totoo iyong sinasabi, he apologizes. Sinasabi niya lang iyon kung totoo ito, ‘tong pinaggagagawa ninyo, eh hindi puwede. But you must remember that Ayala and Mr. MVP have already offered to waive, to waive the award which they got because of the contract that is being considered as onerous. So ano bang conclusion mo doon? So pati sila naniniwala na they are not entitled to that ‘di ba.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Hi, sir. Sir, doon lang sa UP. Sir sabi po kasi ng UP, hindi daw po disadvantageous sa kanila iyong kontrata. Will you still recommend investigation sa UP Technohub, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, I just received… ang haba eh. I was asking, “Who is this?” Sabi niya, “We’d rather be anonymous.” But they made a scientific study ha, matindi iyong study nila, ipapakita ko nga kay Presidente eh; isa-isa nilang kinokontra iyong mga sinabi ng—mga statement ng Ayala. So ang the best is to study. First, we want to see the contract.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Sir, even if both UP and Ayala denied that it was disadvantageous to them?

SEC. PANELO: Kasi UP may not know… may not know about the onerous provision kasi you must remember—

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Sir they said, “At that time we saw it as earning something from a resource that we own.”

SEC. PANELO: Exactly, iyon ang tingin nila kasi nga the land was developed ‘di ba and UP was earning; ang pinupunto naman ng mga kumokontra, iyong nag-research nga, masyadong onerous naman ang ginawa.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Sir, iyong kumokontra po ba… ‘di ba unknown? Sabi ninyo sir, anonymous sir.

SEC. PANELO: No. Mayroong ano—what is the name of the—mayroong article eh.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Sino po, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I forgot the name, basta mayroong ano—iyong nag-text lang sa akin.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: So sir, you’re taking it hook line and sinker—

SEC. PANELO: Ha?

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Pinapaniwalaan ninyo sir iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Kaya ka nga—that’s why precisely you will study kasi hindi ka nga naniniwala on both sides sa ngayon. But on the basis lang ng mga statement ng ano, ng Ayala, kung totoo iyong sinasabi nila eh—hindi ko pa nga alam kung totoo but iyon ang sinasabi nila eh.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: So sir hindi kayo naniniwala doon sa sinasabi ng UP and Ayala pareho na hindi disadvantageous?

SEC. PANELO: Kailangan pag-aralan mo, kasi you know we lawyers, we just listen and then we want to go to the contracts, and then we study.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Utos po ba ni Presidente na review-hin iyong kontrata?

SEC. PANELO: Rekomendasyon ko.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Kailan ninyo sir ni-recommend?

SEC. PANELO: The night before.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Wednesday night, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Oo.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Ano sabi po ni Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: Sabi niya, “Eh kailangan talagang pag-aralan ‘yan.”

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: So, kailan ninyo po sir sisimulan?

SEC. PANELO: Eh magre-request muna kami ng kontrata sa UP kasi nasa kanila ang kontrata, wala sa amin. Nasa Board of Regents ‘yan eh. 2008… 2008 ba, 2006?

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: 2006, sir. Sino po sir mag-i-investigate? Will it be the DOJ?

SEC. PANELO: Puwedeng DOJ, puwedeng ang opisina ko. Depende… ire-review mo lang naman eh. And you just make an opinion about it.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Okay, sir. And after sir maimbestigahan, what would you want to happen to the contract? Would you like a renegotiation?

SEC. PANELO: Eh depende, kasi we will be speculating. Hindi mo pa nga alam kung totoo o hindi.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Okay, sir. Mayroon po bang nagsho-show ng interes doon sa lupa po na iyon so far?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean nagsho-show ng interes?

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Interested parties na kumuha noong lupa for—

SEC. PANELO: Wala akong naririnig. Ang interesado ang Ayala, siyempre they want to maintain the contract.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Sec., regarding water. Nabanggit kahapon ni MWSS Chief Salamat na in the event that the two concessionaires refuse to accept the deal, puwedeng mag-conduct ng public bidding. Pero ang sinabi ni President Duterte, kapag hindi in-accept, ina-nationalize. So ano ba iyong magiging options ng government talaga?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung anong sinabi ni Presidente.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Nationalize.

SEC. PANELO: Siya ang Chief eh, siya ang executive officer, siya ang bossing eh.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: So you prefer muna iyong nationalization option bago iyong—

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang sabi ni Presidente.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, if we go back doon sa pag-review noong 1997 contracts over water, tiningnan natin iyong involvement ng government lawyers ‘di ba. In the case of UP, kasi ‘di ba sa UP autonomous siya, so nag-enter siya into a contract with Ayala. When it entered into a contract with Ayala, may higher government lawyers pa po bang nag-approve doon o nag-review noon at the time it was made?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Actually, hindi ko alam. UP is an independent entity, it has its own lawyers. And since its Board of Regents that approved it, they will be consulting their own lawyers – mayroong general counsel ang UP eh.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Okay. So if ever po, if ever there’s any liability on the part of UP, it will stop with UP? Walang mas mataas sa UP na maaaring nakapag-review ng kontrata bago siya tuluyang napirmahan… or dumaan ba siya ng DOJ?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam kung papaano. I don’t know, kasi nga I have to look at the contract – sino ang pumipirma doon; sino ba ang mga signatories.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: As of now sir, nakapag-request na tayo ng contract from UP, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa, hindi pa.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, iyong one-on-one interview mo last night with the President, hindi natuloy—

SEC. PANELO: Due to pressing family matters.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: May we know, sir—?

SEC. PANELO: The family was there and other … nandoon ang pamilya kahapon sa Bahay Pagbabago.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Visit lang sir, or something—

SEC. PANELO: Oo, visit. Siguro… basta nandoon silang lahat, nag-visit siguro!

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Walang sinabi, basta ang sabi – nandoon ang family.

Q: First and second?

SEC. PANELO: Ma’am Honeylet was there.

Q: Ah, second.

SEC. PANELO: Pero it was only moved to … kasi alanganin na eh. Babangga sa newscast kasi eh.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Exactly, kaya nga parang—

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: I remember, the previous one, the part 1 was early ‘di ba? Mga alas tres.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Mga ganoon.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: We’ll recommend.

USEC. IGNACIO: May follow up doon? Rosalie, then Celerina.

SEC. PANELO: Oh incidentally that Sin Tax Law, that has been approved, there is one provision there that was vetoed – Section 5, regarding the authority of the court to first grant seizure of properties, as well as searching. Kasi under the law, the BIR can do that. But the new Sin Tax Law introduces an amendment to the National Internal Revenue Code that says that court muna bago kayo. Vineto ni Presidente iyon. So balik ulit sa dati. In other words, hindi natuloy ang amendment.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, regarding that vetoed provision. Dahil ba sa magiging tedious kapag sa Supreme Court, kaya mas gusto ni President sa BIR na lang ulit?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, parang you reduce the capability and the power of the BIR to do its job. Precisely ang trabaho niya nga para alagaan mo ang revenues at kapag mayroon kang nakitang mga iregularidad, you can do something immediately. Eh kapag magpa-file ka pa ng kaso, aabutin ka ng siyam-siyam; baka nawala na iyong gusto mong kunin, nakatakas na.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, regarding po sa 2019 novel coronavirus. Mayroon po bang marching orders ang Pangulo? At anu-ano po ang protocol and directives sa mga airports kung saan puwedeng pumasok iyong may mga sintomas ng bagong misteryosong virus?

SEC. PANELO: I talked with Secretary Duque, and he said that we are on top of the situation. It has not reached an alarming level that we have to do some drastic measures, like prohibiting people from entering, especially those suspected of having that kind of virus.

So far naman, mukhang … I understand, there’s only one minor coming from China that arrived in Cebu that was suspected of having that. Sabi naman ni Secretary Duque, okay naman iyon, nagamot naman. Tapos I was asking him, “What can we do?” Sabi niya: “Alam mo, ang talagang gamot doon ay preventive – kailangan healthy tayo, iyong ating immune system ay malakas. Kasi kahit ano pang sabihin mo, kapag mahina, lahat ng virus, lahat ng sakit ay dadapo sa’yo.” Iyon ang sabi niya sa akin.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Pero, sir, mabilis po iyong pagkalat ng virus sa Asia. At mayroon na rin pong confirmed case sa US. So are we not going to ban those coming from Wuhan City—

SEC. PANELO: Sinabi niya, hindi pa, hindi pa nakikita iyong kailangang gawin iyon.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: How about our airlines sir, are we not going to discourage them to stop muna iyon pong flight to Wuhan City?

SEC. PANELO: I was listening to the Spokesperson of PAL. They were saying they have some protocols on that. Kapag mayroon lang napapansin silang umuubo o ano, doon pa lang sa ticketing, doon sa pag check-in mo mayroon na silang protocols doon eh. Hinihiwalay na nila, ini-examine na nila. Mayroon na silang mga ginagawa.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: So the directives of the Palace is to—

SEC. PANELO: Wala pang directive ang Palace na ano. Kumbaga, kung ano iyong sinabi ni Secretary Duque, iyon na muna.

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBNnews.com: Hi, sir. Sir, nakausap ninyo na si Presidente regarding the US invitation po? The invitation to visit US po, nakausap ninyo na po si Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: And your question is what? Will he accept or not?

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBNnews.com: Kung tatanggapin niya, sir.

SEC. PANELO: This was his response. He said … the first invitation—in fact, dalawa na yata ‘di ba – dalawang personal invitation. And then there was this uproar about the five senators introducing provisions in the budget in relation to Ms. De Lima. He said, one, he has to ponder over it. Why? Because he doesn’t want to go there and if he is already there, some US senators would be unhappy seeing him there, because he is supposed to be number one on the list.

Number two, sabi niya, “I do not even know if US will issue me a visa. And if I’m issued a visa, I do not know if when I arrived in the States I would be allowed entry.” Kaya sabi niya … iyon ang sagot niya!

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBNnews.com: He is open po to visit the US?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga, sinasabi niya nga na … kumbaga, tinapon niya sa inyo. ‘Iyan ang aking posisyon; mamaya hindi ninyo ako papasukin eh.’

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBNnews.com: So, sir, nagwo-worry po siya for his safety? Iyon po ba iyong …

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nagwo-worry for his safety kasi hindi niya alam baka … ‘Kung iyan ang posisyon ng mga senador, sinasabi nilang iyan ang batas ninyo, eh baka hindi ninyo ako papasukin diyan; Bakit pa ako pupunta roon?’ – Parang ganoon ang point niya.

So in other words, the ball has been thrown to them. Then they have to do something about it. Since the President has already made his position on the matter, kapag sinabi ng ano, hindi pupuwede iyan, eh ibang usapan na iyon.

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/TRIBUNE: Yes, sir. Bale kasi ang invitation came from President Donald Trump himself ‘di ba?

SEC. PANELO: No, the invitation is to the ASEAN leaders for the US-ASEAN Special Summit. Sa lahat ng mga leaders.

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/TRIBUNE: Yeah, pero kasama naman po si Presidente.

SEC. PANELO: Iyong dalawang previous invitation, personal invitation iyon ni President Trump, while this one is an official invitation to all ASEAN leaders.

FRANCIS WAKEFIELD/TRIBUNE: Sir, what if kung lahat ng ASEAN leaders ay nagpunta doon tapos si Presidente lang ang hindi pumunta, hindi ba parang pangit naman sa imahe ng Pilipinas kung hindi siya pupunta?

SEC. PANELO: That is assuming na hindi siya pupunta. Hindi ba sinabi niya na nga ang posisyon niya. Kumbaga, tinapon niya sa Amerikano iyong nasa isip niya. Una, ayaw kong maging unhappy iyong mga senador ninyo; pangalawa, hindi ko nga alam kung papapasukin ninyo ako o hindi, kasi mayroon kayong sinasabi diyan na batas.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Pero hindi ba parang change of stance or tone ito kasi previously—

SEC. PANELO: Change of what?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Change of stance or tone. Kasi previously the President will say, ‘No, hindi ako pupunta.’ And ngayon ay nagpa-ponder na po siya.

SEC. PANELO: Kasi nga personal iyong imbitasyon sa kaniya ni Trump, personal lang eh. EH ito iba eh. It’s an official invitation to all ASEAN leaders and there is a special summit.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Although last time, hindi rin naman siya nag-qualify ng ganiyan; dati, “Talagang hindi ako pupunta!”

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kaya nga sinasabi … sinasabi niya ngayon, dati ano iyon, mga personal invitation lang. This one is ibang imbitasyon ito. But ang problema nga, because of that, I don’t want to see the senators seeing me and being unhappy me being there. And at the same, I don’t even know if they will allow me or not. One, will they give me a visa? Number two—kasi wala siyang visa eh.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: So okay, given the word ponder, is it safe—

SEC. PANELO: Pondering. In other words—

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Pondering, yes. So is it safe to say na he is not closing his doors to visiting the US?

SEC. PANELO: Depende iyon kasi, in other words, he is throwing the ball to them. Tingnan ko kung ano ang reaksiyon ninyo. Kapag sinabi, ‘No, we are giving you a visa. We will allow you entry, including all your delegations,’ oh di kapag bumalik sa kaniya, then I will ask him, ‘Mr. President, ano na tayo?’

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: So iyon na iyon. Okay, salamat, Sec.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: So sir, if the conditions are met na nabigyan siya ng visa and—

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman siyang in-impose na condition ah. He just expressed certain sentiments relative to some issues that may affect his entry.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, sir based on your explanation, so, ‘yung interest of the ASEAN and the role of the Philippines prevails upon the President’s personal views against…

SEC. PANELO: No… From what I look at his response is, gusto niyang pumunta. ‘Yan ang nasa isip ko but papaano ako pupunta kung ‘yan naman ang sinasabi n’yong kondisyon sa Amerika. Ni hindi natin alam kung makakapasok ako doon, wala pa nga akong visa. Oh, ‘di ba?

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, we—what—the President wants an assurance—

SEC. PANELO: He… he—in other words his throwing—exactly nga, pinapabayaan niya na ang US government, ‘di mag-decide kayo. Ano, you’re still inviting me or not?

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, an assurance from the US government—

SEC. PANELO: Kasi on a personal level, he doesn’t want to go there for the reasons he has already stated. One, he cannot stand the weather, the temperature, Oh! ‘di ba? At saka it’s a long trip, basta long haul ayaw niya eh.

CELERINA MONTE/DAILY MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, sundutin ko lang ‘yung sinabi ni Tina. So, the President wants a categorical assurance from the US—

SEC. PANELO: No, he didn’t say that. Basta ‘yun ang usapan namin at kino-quote ko siya exactly ‘yung salita niya.

CELERINA MONTE/DAILY MANILA SHIMBUN: So, ano dapat ‘yung signal na gagawin ng US?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know! Then let the US receive whatever signals it wants to receive from the statements of the President.

CELERINA MONTE/DAILY MANILA SHIMBUN: So, if the President won’t push through with trip, it means that the US did not give any good signal to the President?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know. Mag-ii-speculate na lang tayo. Basta ‘yan na ang posisyon ni Presidente.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, sundot ulit.

SEC. PANELO: Ano, ano?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sundot ulit, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Ano, ano?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, so what you are saying is that the President might consider accepting the invitation if the US, in good faith, gives him a visa ang allows him entry?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Ikaw naman, sir eh…

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know. We have to respond or rather we’ll have to wait for the response of the US doon sa mga sinabi ni Presidente. I’m sure nakakarating naman ‘yun ngayon dahil sinasabi ko na ‘di ba? Mino-monitor naman tayo ng lahat ng embassy eh.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Um… um…

SEC. PANELO: Eh ‘di siyempre sasabihin ah, ganito.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Pero sir ‘di ba since it’s an official invitation for the ASEAN–US Summit na ini-invite siya, ‘di ba automatic naman na, o, bibigyan ka ng visa, ia-allow ka entry. ‘Di ba ano ‘yun… head of state siya eh alangan namang—

SEC. PANELO: Normally, yes. But these are non normal times with respect to this case of Ms. de Lima kasi ipinasok nga siya doon eh. Kaya hindi normal ang sitwasyon.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Um, um.., But didn’t you also say na ‘yun ngang the rider on de Lima—regarding de Lima, ‘yung sa US Budget, ‘di ba sabi n’yo po before na it’s upon the prerogative of the Executive which President Trump controls.

SEC. PANELO: Exactly! Kung prerogative ng Executive, di hindi mo alam kung anong gagawin ng—wala pa naman silang—First, wala silang listahan so hindi mo alam kung they will.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay.

SEC. PANELO: Wala, malabo nga lahat eh. It’s all—Even de Lima herself is saying, “Oh, if they are allowed there…’ kasi hindi pa naman nag-o-operate ‘yung batas.” Oh, di ba?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Can you say that President Duterte is worried about that rider?

SEC. PANELO: The President is never worried about anything except the sufferance of the Filipino people and their interest.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay, sir.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Kailangan sir, ma-persuade si President Duterte?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Hintayin natin kung ano ‘yung response ng Amerikano doon sa mga sinabi niya.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Did you communicate to the US ‘yung mga sentiments na iyan formally?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi na kailangan. As I said, all embassies – I discovered coming from them – they’re all monitoring pala all these press conferences.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Okay, sir. May—mayroong—

SEC. PANELO: So, alam na nila kung anong posisyon kasi sinabi ko na ngayon eh.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Okay, sir. Mayroon po ba kayong—

SEC. PANELO: Kasi he’s supposed to say that during the tete-a-tete, eh na overrun eh ‘di I’m compelled to share it to you.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Pero sir given na may mga—naka-cancel ‘yung visa for example ni Senator Bato—

SEC. PANELO: Pero hindi natin alam kung in relation to what ‘yun eh.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Ayun nga, sir. Tutuloy pa rin po na si PRRD if ever?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Mag-ii-speculate tayo.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Hindi po ‘yun kino-consider? Hindi ‘yun factor?

SEC. PANELO: Let’s just wait for the response of the US government.

ARIANNE MEREZ/ABS-CBN NEWS.COM: Okay, sir.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, categorical question. Does he or does he would—he not want to go to the US?

SEC. PANELO: I do not know.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ah, okay.

USEC. ROCKY? Other issues?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why—pero sige I don’t—

SEC. PANELO: [laughs]

USEC. ROCKY? Joseph.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I do not know ‘yung sagot natin, sir?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Yun ang—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero ang sabi n’yo kanina parang gusto niya—

SEC. PANELO: You asked me personally, I do not know.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No, no, no… Because you talked to him?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, pero… ‘Yun ang sabi niya eh. Hindi ko mabasa kung anong ibig sabihin—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But you said earlier na parang feeling niya gusto niyang pumunta? On the 1 P.M. mark.

SEC. PANELO: [laughs]

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Clarify lang sir. Parang ano ba? Gusto na niya—

SEC. PANELO: ‘Yung mga nanonood ang daming komentaryo sa inyo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Like the President, we do not care except—charot! Sir, hindi… does he or just he would wanna go?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi… basta ‘yun ang kaniyang sagot.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay.

VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Sir, in short, takot po na ang Presidente pumasok sa teritoryo ng US?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga natatakot itong mamang ito eh. Hindi ba sinabi ko sa’yo walang kinakatakutan ‘to.

VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Okay, thank you.

SEC. PANELO: Takot lang siya ‘pag naghihirap ang taong bayan, gagawan niya ng paraan ‘yun.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, will it make a difference kung official visit ang pagpu—pag-imbita sa Pangulo?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Basta sinabi niya na ‘yung posisyon niya. You can draw your conclusions kung ano man ang you have in your minds.

CELERINA MONTE/DAILY MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, just the Palace’s view regarding the gross domestic product. It was 6.5%—ay, 6.4% last quarter last year; but full year, it’s 5.9% and according to NEDA, it’s the slowest in eight years.

SEC. PANELO: Ano raw ibig sabihin nun?

CELERINA MONTE/DAILY MANILA SHIMBUN: Mababa! So, hindi nag-grow ‘yung economy—mababa ‘yung growth ng ekonomiya natin.

SEC. PANELO: Eh, sabi naman nila ganun daw talaga ‘yun eh. ‘Pag bumaba, wala ng ibang puntahan kundi umakyat, so why worry?

CELERINA MONTE/DAILY MANILA SHIMBUN: So, the Palace is not worried? Is not concerned about that—

SEC. PANELO: I think we have competent economic managers, they’re doing their job very well.

ALEXIS ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, you’re confident—o how confident are you that the figures or the growth will accelerate or the figures will improve?

SEC. PANELO: Since the economic managers say that we should not be worried, we believe them.

ALEXIS ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: What gives you that confidence?

SEC. PANELO: Because they are competent. Remember ‘si ba ‘yung inflation rate natin eh na-control nila ‘yun. Ang dami nilang ginawang measures eh. Magagaling nga sila eh.

ALEXIS ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sige, Sec.

PRINCE GOLEZ/ABANTE: Sir, good afternoon! Sir, according to the recent SWS survey, 72% of the Filipinos are worried about the health of the President. Should the public be worried, sir, about the President’s health?

SEC. PANELO: I think it’s a given that any citizenry in a particular country should be interested and be worried about any state of health that the head of state has. But in the particular case of the President, he keeps on telling us exactly what he feels. He tells us his sufferings on particular illnesses that he got arising from accidents. In other words, he has not hidden, kept from us anything that involves his health. He tells us even when he goes to the doctors for examination.

But of course we’re glad that people are worried because it only means that they love the President. He may not be as strong as a bull like you, much, much younger, but certainly he can still function effectively as President.

In fact, if you will compare him with the previous President, they may suffer in comparison with respect to the pace he has taken in fulfilling his job as President. I haven’t seen any President traveling the way he travels. He flies from one point to another, visiting the troops, visiting calamity victims, having situation briefings, attending wakes, visiting injured personnel in the military and PNP and at the same time doing his work and still reading books. Ibang klase nga ‘tong Presidenteng ‘to! Kaya that’s why I always tell you when the President looks groggy/hoarse it only means one thing – kulang iyong tulog niya on a particular day.

Kasi every time I see him, when he shakes my hand and the grip is very strong, ang ganda ng tulog nito. Kasi halata mo siya ‘pag kulang ang tulog, nakaganun lang ang kamay niya eh, limp. Limp ‘pag nagshe-shake ng hand. Iba-iba ‘yung pag-ano ko eh… kumbaga, ‘pag inaantok ka siyempre gusto mong matulog.

PRINCE GOLEZ/ABANTE: Sir, after the President’s medical test in October last year, nagkaroon ba siya ng follow-up test, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Parang wala akong narinig na nagpunta siya sa ospital.

PRINCE GOLEZ/ABANTE: Sir, hindi naman po reason ‘yung health concern sa pagiging hesitant ni President Duterte sa pag-visit sa Estados Unidos?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hind kasi ever since ayaw niya talagang pumunta roon sa lamig eh. Pareho lang kami nun takot sa ano…hindi naman takot, malamig. ‘Pag lamig talaga… me, I turn off the aircon eh.

PRINCE GOLEZ/ABANTE: Thank you, sir.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, fine tune lang po ‘yung sa Wuhan…

SEC. PANELO: Saan?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: ‘Yung Novel Corona Virus. ‘Cause there are calls to suspend the flights that are coming from Wuhan, China to Kalibo ‘cause…siyempre dun galing ‘yung virus and si Congressman Biazon has recommended to the CAAP to suspend the flights from that area. Response of the Palace, what do you think of this?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa kaming natatanggap na ganung rekomendasyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Do you think we should suspend—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. When the recommendation comes then we will evaluate it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, hindi tayo nag-aalala, sir, sa possible spread—

SEC. PANELO: Wala…wala pang—wala kaming natatanggap pa na rekomendasyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, at this point, no reason to panic as per Secretary—

SEC. PANELO: According to Secretary Duque, wala raw.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay

USEC. ROCKY: Okay. Thank you, MPC. Thank you, Secretary Panelo.

                         ##

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