JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, kanina po – sariwang-sariwang balita – sabi ni Sec. Diokno, si former President, Congresswoman Arroyo is interested in the Finance Department portfolio. Do you think that will happen?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t know. We’ll ask the President. We will ask the President, ngayon ko lang narinig iyan. Kasi ang naririnig ko kay Speaker ay she wants to retire. That’s a new development.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Retire as a congressman, congresswoman?
SEC. PANELO: No, she wants to enjoy retirement.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So neither the Budget portfolio or the Finance, she’s not interested in any of those?
SEC. PANELO: Wala siyang nababanggit eh. Kapag nagkausap naman kami every now and then, wala namang nababanggit.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi naman lumulutang iyan sa Cabinet meeting ninyo, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi rin.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Si Secretary Diokno earlier said that he’s hoping for a much friendlier Congress after the midterm elections. Does the Palace share the same view? I mean, are you looking at—
SEC. PANELO: I’m sure it will be friendlier. I said yesterday, if I remember correctly, that the way he was treated could have the result of exuberance to the part of the questioner, temporarily forgetting the rules on courtesies of the House.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: When House Speaker Arroyo took over, were you hoping for a better cooperation especially when it comes to issues like passing the budget?
SEC. PANELO: Oh, yes, definitely. The Speaker has expressed her admiration for the President, her support to the agenda of the President.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: But the budget was not passed for 2019.
SEC. PANELO: It doesn’t mean that the Speaker doesn’t support. As they explained it, there are certain amendments that they need to scrutinize and subject the same to a more review. And perhaps, because of work in Congress that restricts them from passing the budget on time.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Good morning, Secretary. Sir, you mentioned earlier that the President was “obviously joking” when he said that Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas was the one who ordered the ambush of former General and now Daanbantayan Mayor Loot. So why is there a need for the President to issue such statement, sir?
SEC. PANELO: You know, Inquirer.net asked for my reaction, and I asked Inquirer.net to give a transcript. And I read the transcript. It appears to me, since there was this sound of pssss, so it appear to me to be said in jest given the fact that then General Loot is a pet peeve of the President because he is involved in drugs. And Mr. Loot is a known protégée of Secretary Roxas. So I think it was more of an expression of displeasure said in jest.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, kanina sinabi ni Budget Secretary Diokno that the Palace is reviewing protocols to ensure na iyong poor treatment na nangyari sa kaniya sa committee hearing sa House will no longer happen again. So ano po iyong mga changes na nakikita ng Palasyo? And also to ensure na wala namang krisis or parang initan sa pagitan ng Congress and the Palace?
SEC. PANELO: Siguro with respect to the questions to be asked to any member of the Cabinet, there should be an advance submission of questions so that a member of the Cabinet could be ready to respond to the same.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: How do we ensure also, sir, transparency especially diyan sa mga ganitong mga hearings or investigations because it might be impossible for the lawmakers to provide an advance copy of all the questions that they will ask during the hearing, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Definitely, there’s transparency there. And the submission of the question does not restrain them or stops them from asking follow up questions in relation to the questions previously submitted to the member of the Cabinet.
But what happened in Secretary Diokno’s case was, the questions asked of him were not included in the submitted questions. In other words, it was entirely outside of the purview of the questions given him.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, can the Palace impose their own protocols sa House especially it is the hearing of the lawmakers and …
SEC. PANELO: No, actually it’s more of an exchange of courtesy between two co-equal branches of the government. More on courtesies.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Kasama doon, sir, possible if they don’t like the line of questioning or their treatment iyong puwede pa rin silang mag-walk out?
SEC. PANELO: Of course. I mean, that’s the policy of the President. He has been telling all member of the Executive branch that do not allow yourself to be humiliated there. And if you are, then excuse yourselves and leave.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWSONLINE: Sir, balik lang doon kay Mayor Loot. You said earlier, iyong remark ni President was more of an expression of displeasure said in jest, can you elaborate on that, sir? Expression of displeasure …
SEC. PANELO: Meaning to say, if you notice, in some of his speeches, when drug is the subject matter of his discourse, he always name Loot at nagmumura siya ‘di ba, nagagalit siya eh. Kasi, you know, a president can be very displeased with one of his generals involved in drugs, kaya galit na galit siya doon. So that is his way of showing displeasure. He is so disappointed with this man.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWSONLINE: Beyond disappointment, sir, ‘di ba dapat kasuhan na lang si Loot? I mean, is there any update doon sa cases to be filed or have been filed against narco generals?
SEC. PANELO: Yes, of course, except that when you file a case, you have to have evidence to prove your case. And that’s the job of those who want to file a case against him. Otherwise, you file a case and then that will be dismissed, eh di useless din. You have to build up a case against a particular accused or respondent.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, but do you think it is proper for the President that as an expression of displeasure, he would make serious accusations against Mar Roxas that he ordered, although it was a joke, you said, sir, that he ordered the ambush of Loot.
SEC. PANELO: If it is a joke, then it’s not an accusation. And as the President says, you can’t stop me from making jokes.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: But do you think this is necessary, sir, for the President to make such statement?
SEC. PANELO: Whether it is necessary or not, that is his style. And that style has been factored when he was running for the presidency and was voted into office overwhelmingly given that input on his style.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, follow up on that. Given that the President has the power, do you think making such joke could be tantamount to bullying?
SEC. PANELO: No, I do not think so. People make jokes and it doesn’t mean you’re bullying someone.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But it involves the reputation of another person?
SEC. PANELO: If it is a joke then it does not reputation because you’re joking about it. If you noticed, even I have been subjected to the jokes of the President but I don’t mind if it’s a joke.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, regarding naman the official figure of the government regarding the death toll sa war on drugs. It’s already 5,050 since July 1, 2016 up to November 30—
SEC. PANELO: Which is way behind the 30,000 that is being spread by some false news agencies.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So it’s small? How do you view this, is it small or big?
SEC. PANELO: But you know, the number of deaths occurring in drug related cases will depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, the by-bust operation. You know I’ve been reading reports, and I’m even amazed at until now there have been many buy-bust operations all over the country. Ang dami pala, nagugulat nga ako – talagang grabe, so kailangan talagang… the fight against drugs should be unrelenting.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So that death toll – how do you view that?
SEC. PANELO: It means that the people involved there are resisting arrest or using violence; that’s why in the process, they are given the consequent violence coming from the police officers.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Are we expecting more deaths?
SEC. PANELO: Plus… plus… I’ve been saying that most of the drug related cases of so-called extra-judicial killings are coming from the members of the syndicate themselves.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Uhum. But sir this is the official figure ng government. So are we expecting that the figure could still increase until the end of the President’s term?
SEC. PANELO: It depends on how those involved in drugs will respond to operations against them. If they become violent just as early, the result will be violent too. What you sow, you reap.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Thank you.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, if you said that the joke was to express—the President’s way of expressing displeasure kay Mayor Vicente Loot, then, why Mar Roxas ang itinuturo niya?
SEC. PANELO: As I said, Mr. Loot is known to be the protégé of Mr. Roxas. In other words, if I were in his shoes I would be maybe using the same; para kumbaga siya iyong—kinakantiyawan ko si Mar, “Iyong bata mo, involved sa drugs, bakit mo pinabayaan ‘yan?” Parang ganoon iyon, parang ganoon ang dating…
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Could politics be a reason, sir?
SEC. PANELO: No… kumbaga kantiyaw iyon eh. Wala.., ano lang iyon…
HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary iyong kaso ng pagpatay sa bodyguard/aide ni Atty. Glenn Chong, umabot na ba iyon sa Pangulong Duterte at ano ang sabi ng Pangulo rito?
SEC. PANELO: We haven’t talked about it, but I supposed it has reached him.
HENRY URI/DZRH: So wala pa siyang sinasabi, wala pang utos kung—
SEC. PANELO: Well the police agencies are doing their work with respect to that.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Thank you.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sec., could you clarify please iyong comment ni—or iyong remarks ni President Duterte about showing no mercy for NPAs? Ano ibig sabihin noon, is he still open to peace talks given that statement that they do not deserve mercy because they’re involved in banditry, in criminal activities?
SEC. PANELO: It only means that he is going to respond in kind. If you—I don’t know if you heard of it, there have been recent ambushes. In fact yesterday, there was again another ambush of a police station somewhere in the Bicol Region I think. In other words, remember they said that we’re going to have a truce – Christmas truce, and yet look at what they’re doing.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Pero, hindi pa naman nagte-take effect iyong ano eh, iyong truce nila.
SEC. PANELO: Iyon na nga… If you’re going to have a truce, you might as well show your sincerity by not doing anything contrary to what your intention is.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, go pa rin po iyong peace talks, possible—open pa rin ba iyon?
SEC. PANELO: The President is always open to end bloodshed in this country. He doesn’t want any killing among Filipinos. But for as long as they violate the terms of a peace talk, then the President will never allow it to happen.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sec., isa na lang. Can you clarify iyong comment ni President na he will hamlet iyong mga Lumads.
SEC. PANELO: Hamlet?
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Iha-hamlet daw niya iyong Lumads, supposedly to protect—
SEC. PANELO: When did he say that? I didn’t heard—
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Parang iga-gather niya in certain areas to spare or protect them from the influence of the NPAs.
SEC. PANELO: Ah perhaps what he means is that to protect them, to shield them from harassment or from a undue influence, from indoctrination coming from the left – then he will do it for their own good and safety.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Mayroon na bang concrete acts ngayon iyong security forces to implement that, or other government agencies?
SEC. PANELO: Ah… I need to ask the Department Secretary of National Defense about that.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Thank you Sec…
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sec., tanong lang po namin iyong status about sa rice tariffication bill kung bakit ‘di pa po napipirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte?
SEC. PANELO: If it was submitted to the Office of the President, I supposed it will be signed anytime.
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Do we expect within the year or next—sa first quarter na lang?
SEC. PANELO: Let’s see. If it’s there, it will be signed.
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Bakit po nabibinbin, sir? I think early November—
SEC. PANELO: Sa dami ng trabaho ni Presidente, ang dami ng trabaho si Presidente ‘di ba?
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Pero priority po niya iyong—hindi ba siya po nag-certified as urgent?
SEC. PANELO: Yeah… He will decide on that soon enough.
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Thank you, sir.
DAHREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN: Sir sabi po ni Sec. Piñol, one of the implications of the passage of the Rice Tariffication Bill is that NFA will no longer sell NFA rice.
SEC. PANELO: 27 pesos per—
DAHREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN: Yes sir, so mas mataas na po iyong price. So—
SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi nga nili-liberalize muna iyong…
DAHREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN: Opo. Ano po ang magiging reaction ng Palasyo sa possible backlash nito from the public, especially those who are… umaasa po sa murang bigas po?
SEC. PANELO: Well, ‘pag ni-liberalize mo naman eh magkakaroon ng competition in the market. So magpapababaan sila ng presyo, otherwise hindi sila mabibili, hindi ba? Kaya nga—law of supply and demand iyan eh.
DAHREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN: Thank you, sir.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir do you confirm, magko-courtesy call si Catriona Gray kay President Duterte tomorrow?
SEC. PANELO: Tomorrow ba? Parang…
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Or anytime this week or next week?
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, ang alam ko mayroon.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Kailan, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko lang alam ang specific date. But si Secretary of Tourism Berna said, definitely – courtesy call.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: This week sir? Next week?
SEC. PANELO: Oh, eh ‘di pa-open natin…
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir this week, next week? Kailan po?
SEC. PANELO: As soon as she arrives. Hindi natin alam kung kailan ang dating niya. Mamaya ba? We will issue a statement, tanungin ko si Secretary Berna kung exact date – plus the request of MPC to be present…
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Open sir, open to media?
SEC. PANELO: Now that you mentioned Catriona Gray, I bumped into Cory Quirino last night in an event and we were talking about Miss Universe. You know what, she told me: “You have forgotten Catriona Gray, Sal…” Sabi ko, “Why?” “You were one of the judges at the Miss World in 2016, and you were telling me that your choice and most of them there…” ang choice namin pala si Catriona Gray. Kaya lang, somehow natalo kami sa botohan. Sabi ko, “Siya pala iyon…”
Q: [off mic]
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, number four siya… Number four lang siya sa Miss World. Yeah, siya pala iyon… Kaya pala sabi ni Doktora Panelo, “Sabi niya ‘yan iyong ano…” Hindi ko naman siya matandaan.
USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Thank you, MPC. Thank you, Spokesperson Salvador Panelo…
SEC. PANELO: Thank you…
Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)