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 Malacañang Press Corps. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Good morning, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Hello there, good morning. We’re ready if you are… Joseph! [laughs]

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I think you’re ready for a statement on a particular subject; we’re ready to hear you.

SEC. PANELO: Which one?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The bishop, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Bishop… We already issued a statement. He said that it is a disgrace for—it is a disgraced presidency with the President at the helm. I wonder if he has asked himself, what is a ‘disgraced’ – one who is a member of the clergy making unsavory language against a man or against the President who is only doing his constitutional duty to serve and to protect the people or one like the President who instead of throwing mud, would rather smile and joke about it.

I think the good bishop is forgetting that Christ has taught us that if someone throws stones at you, then throw a piece of bread in return. That’s a Christian doctrine and that is a teaching of the Church. It appears that the good bishop is not practicing what he teaches and what he has learned in the seminary.

Also, the good bishop I think is misinformed of the survey results which shows that majority of the Filipinos accepts the style of governance of the President; and of course, his style of delivering speeches is factored in that survey. Either he is misinformed or not informed, or he is ignoring the result.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Do you think that there will be a stop to this ‘word war’ between the Catholic Church and the President?

SEC. PANELO: As we have said, rather than throw mud… we must remember that all of us are parts of one whole, and the Church should lead in the prayers – or everyone including the President because the success of this President is the success of all of us. So rather than lambast the President, it would be more Christian-like to pray for the one whom you feel to be sinning against whatever doctrines you had in mind.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, statement ni Father Santiago Salas ng NDF-Eastern Visayas, sinasadya raw po ni Presidente iyong pag-atake sa Simbahang Katoliko dahil—upang maiwasan daw po iyong pakikiisa ng simbahan sa mga dismayadong tao sa ‘wicked and blood-thirsty puppet regime’ daw po ng kasalukuyan.

SEC. PANELO: Well, he is entitled to his opinion, that’s part of freedom of speech but there is no basis for that statement. The President is open to all. Even if the CPP-NPA has been launching ambuscades and engaging in extortion activities, the President always reserves an opening, a window for them to sit on the negotiation table. The only condition he has imposed is that, stop doing the ambuscades and stop your extortion activities and we’ll go back to the negotiation table.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Hi, sir. Sir, can you confirm reports that the President has tasked someone to lead backchannel talks with Joma Sison?

SEC. PANELO: I have no information on that, but I will not be surprised if there is one.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Reports say it’s Mr. Andal, former PCA Chief.

SEC. PANELO: I do not think so.


SEC. PANELO: I don’t think so.


SEC. PANELO: Well, he’s not involved in the negotiation process. Members of the panel would be Secretary Bello, he’s one of them.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Pero sir backchannel eh, baka—isn’t that possible? Informal…

SEC. PANELO: I do not have any information on that. It could be.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. But sir, considering the President’s continuous tirades against Joma Sison, why would he suddenly consider talking to him again?

SEC. PANELO: No, let me correct you there – not suddenly. He has been open to that ever since. The only condition is stop doing this ambuscades and extortion activities; because he doesn’t want Filipinos killing each other – that has been his line and policy ever since, even when he was still a Mayor.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Follow up lang, sir. Lagi na pong nire-reiterate na may mga conditions para bumalik doon po sa pag-uusap ng dalawang panig. So sa pagkakataong ito, ano po iyong nakita ng Pangulo para mag-utos sa isa pong personalidad para makipag—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa natin alam kung may inutos siya eh, we’re just speculating. I have not confirmed that; I said it could be possible. But what is important to me is if there is one, then the CPP-NPA at this time and for a change should listen to the President. Enough of these ambuscades, enough of these extortion activities and we will sit down. And most likely, they may finally listen to the urgings of the President. I think they are also tired fighting the government.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So sir sa inyo talaga, malabo iyong senaryo na magpatuloy iyong peacetalks hangga’t may ginagawang ambush or giyera ng mga—?

SEC. PANELO: Yes definitely, because useless. Eh ba’t pa kayo nagpi-peacetalks, ‘yun pala pinapatay mo iyong mga kalaban mo at you’re still doing illegal acts.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Pero hindi ba sir the government is, right now, at war with NPA.


REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, hindi ba parang—kung wala pa namang bilateral peace agreement or bilateral ceasefire; so talagang expected because we are at war, expected na may mangyayari sa ground. So hindi ba puwedeng ituloy lang iyong pag-uusap, ‘di bale nang may nangyayaring giyera pa rin sa baba, until finally magkaroon ng bilateral—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi puwede, kasi magiging inconsistent iyong peace talks mo. Kaya nga peace talks, ba’t pa kayo naglalabanan? Ang nagiging problema yata – begging the pardon of Joma Sison – I think the problem is parang there is a disparity between him and the ground; parang hindi siya sinusunod eh. Kasi otherwise kung sumusunod iyong ground forces sa kaniya, gusto niyang makipag-usap, dapat sumunod din sila sa mga conditions.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, balikan ko lang iyong ano kanina… Kasi si Mr. Andal mismo iyong nag-announce/nagsabi na the President talked to him last week pa and ordering him to initiate the backchannel talks with the NDF. So…

SEC. PANELO: Kung sinabi ni Presidente sa kanya, di good. He can do his best and I hope the other side will do his best too.

But let me say that we are always positive on any development… good for all of us.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET: Sir, good morning. Yesterday senators agreed to delete the additional 75 billion funding allegedly inserted into the 2019 budget of DPWH.

SEC. PANELO: The senators?

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET: Yes sir, yesterday agreed.

SEC. PANELO: What did they do?

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET: Agreed to delete the 75 billion additional funding for DPWH. Sir, is Malacañang concerned that this would affect the key infrastructure projects of the government?

SEC. PANELO: Number one, the assumption is wrong. The Executive did not insert, trabaho nga nila iyong magbigay ng budget proposal eh. Number two, that’s the job of Congress to amend. Kung ginawa nila iyon, di they were doing their job.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET: So are you not concerned. Is Malacañang not concerned that this will affect the infrastructure projects of the government?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t think so. There are many ways… the Executive is very creative as well as Congress, tingnan natin.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET: Could you be more specific, sir. Creative iyong—

SEC. PANELO: Well, kung kulang, di puwede namang magdagdag ng appropriations di ba, may supplemental budget, puwede naman iyon eh, puwede lahat iyon kung gusto. Basta for the good of the country dapat every branch of the government should cooperate.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQ: Sir, if there were no insertions, sir… iyong P75 billion, then why wasn’t Public Work Secretary Mark Villar informed about the additional budget? Because he admitted that he had no prior knowledge of the funds.

SEC. PANELO: Baka naman he was misquoted. It cannot be na he had no prior knowledge, kasi that was discussed in the Cabinet. That was a proposal, all of us were present and all of us consented to that. Baka na-misquote o baka hindi niya lang ano—and in fact, I talked to him during the last Cabinet meeting. I said, ‘Secretary Mark, there are some or there are few messages to you from members of Congress. They are saying, why are you silent because Secretary Diokno has pointed to you with respect to the so-called additional budget sa DPWH.’ Ang sagot sa akin ni Secretary Villar eh – tama naman siya. Sabi niya, “Eh kasi Sec. Sal pinabayaan na lang namin si Secretary Diokno para isa lang ang nagsasalita.” Ang sabi ko naman sa kanya, ‘okay din iyon siguro, pero mas maganda rin iyo, since pinoint-out ka ni Secretary Diokno, eh di i-validate mo rin.’ Sabi niya, ‘oh sige.’ In other words he agrees to what Secretary Diokno said.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQ: So, he was aware of the additional funds?

SEC. PANELO: I think so, yes. Kasi saan ba manggagaling iyon, DPWH, kung hindi sa kanila rin. Hindi naman alam ni Secretary Diokno iyon, siya lang nagpe-prepare—saka prinesent nga iyon sa Cabinet eh.


SEC. PANELO: Of course. Every budget is to be presented in the Cabinet and it has to be approved by the President. At tinatanong ni Presidente, any objection on this, meron bang… eh wala naman.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQ: Sir, when was the presentation, iyong that P75 billion?

SEC. PANELO: I think three, four Cabinet meetings ago, four months ago pa iyon, matagal na iyon eh.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQ: So that was the first time that Secretary Diokno presented the additional?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi lang the first time, palagi namang one time lang nagpe-present ng buong budget eh, hindi naman series of presentation iyon eh. When you prepare a budget, the entire, siyempre ipe-present mo iyon sa the President’s budget sa Cabinet, then we all listen, sabihin ninyo doon, oh ito iyong item para sa ganito, sa education. And then, tatanungin niya, any comment, any objection whatever? Wala naman nagsasalita, and then somebody “may I move to approve.” Iyon, ganoon ang style sa Cabinet.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQ: So, he was informed, sir, si Villar?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi lang informed, he was present in the Cabinet. Unless he went out to make a pee, hindi niya narinig iyong portion na iyon. But, I doubt.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Sec, how could we say na hindi maapektuhan iyong infrastructure, eh iyong P75 billion was intended to meet iyong requirement doon sa infrastructure spending on a certain percentage nung GDP?

SEC. PANELO: As I said, puwede namang… kung maapektuhan, puwede ka namang humingi ng supplemental, hindi ba. Basta kailangan talagang may appropriation ang Congress.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Pero how can we even ask for a supplemental budget, eh iyong main budget nga hindi pa maipasa?

SEC. PANELO: Eh sa ngayon, hindi pa, pag napasa iyon at kulang, o di puwede ka namang humingi ulit.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Pero ano iyong chances sa tingin ninyo na mapapasa iyong budget within the first quarter na target noong economic managers, given na iyong issue na ito nagpe-persist pa?

SEC. PANELO: Sa tingin ko, maa-approve iyon. Iyon ang naririnig ko sa members of Congress. In fact, even Senator Sotto, when he texted me, said ‘kami okay kami diyan.’

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: What makes you optimistic, Sec, na maa-approve iyong budget?

SEC. PANELO: The statement of Senator Sotto and even Speaker Gloria Arroyo said na they are working on it and they will do their job.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: So, you expect this tiff between the DBM and Congress to be resolved soon?

SEC. PANELO: I think so, mawawala na iyon.


SEC. PANELO: Eh, kung aprubahan nila iyong budget, di tapos na.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: May makikita ba kayong parang paraan paano nila mare-resolve iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kapag inaprubahan iyong budget, di tapos na iyong conflict. Kasi iyong conflict nila arose out of the items in the budget. Eh kung in-approve na nila iyon, so anong conflict pa ang pag-uusapan.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Pero iyong conflict na iyon, palagay ninyo paano kaya mare-resolve iyon? Kasi parang iyong both sides, parang ayaw.

SEC. PANELO: That is why I was saying if you approve the budget, di wala nang conflict. Di ba? That’s logic.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Nasa schedule today yata po iyong dating Bacolod COP, scheduled to meet the President today?


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Si Ebreo, sir, iyon pong…?

SEC. PANELO: I didn’t see that in the schedule.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Wala pa rin, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Wala sa schedule na nakita ko.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Baka private iyong nakalagay. But why would you think that the President will call for him in a meeting…?

SEC. PANELO: Of course, I do not know if he did call. Otherwise we will be speculating again.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, in the speech he said that he have to go to Malacanang and talk, pinatawag talaga, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Baka para sabunin. Masermunan.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, you have a comment on Trillanes, sir. Cause he went to Davao and then face the complaints there?

SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi niya, I’m here to face the challenge. Meaning, ibig niyang sabihin, puwede naman siyang hindi magpunta, parang iyon ang ibig niyang sabihin, parang pinakita niya, since nandito ako, nakita n’yo naman. Tinanggap ko ang hamon.

Ang sagot ko naman sa kanya, wala ka namang choice. Dahil kung hindi ka pumunta roon eh baka naaresto ka na kaagad. The problem with this guy is like he pompously claims to be unafraid of the criminal charges against him and yet his body language, his rantings against the President show the opposite. He is in mortal fear of going back to jail.

Iyan ang katotohanan diyan, eh ganoon na lang siya. He has to consult with his lawyers and prepare his defense. You must remember that the charges have been filed in court because the court found probable cause, iyan ang importante diyan. Hindi pupuwede iyong palaging sasabihin na, ‘Itong dinemanda ng administrasyon.’ Hindi naman administrasyon ang nagdemanda sa kaniya sa Davao eh, it’s former Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte and Attorney Mans Carpio. And ang basis nila doon iyong mga libelous remarks niya; not this administration, it has nothing to do with that.

Si Bernadette yata may… the dancing princess.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, I would just like to get—

SEC. PANELO: Aba magaling sumayaw iyan.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, I would just like to get the Palace reaction to a statement from corn farmers group that Land Banks’ loan to Hanjin Subic shipyard is against its mandate to prioritize the provision to financial aid to Filipino farmers and fishermen. The PhilMaize group said the loan to Hanjin is a slap in the face of agriculture sector. The Philippines subsidiary of the Korean firm is not even in the agriculture or food sector. The President should look into this and find out why a shipyard was prioritized over farmers. Will the President heed the call to investigate this matter considering that previously ordered Land Bank to go back to its original mandate of helping farmers po? Thank you.

SEC. PANELO: Ang ibig sabihin niyan they are complaining bakit pina-loan ng Land Bank?


SEC. PANELO: Iyong Hanjin? Hindi naman walang collateral, parang…

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: Na parang pina-prioritize po, sir, ng Land Bank iyong… itong Hanjin nga over the farmers po, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro we will ask Land Bank kung—kasi hindi natin alam exactly, baka naman may collateral eh. Kasi iyon ang nabasa ko, diumano. Ang pagkabasa ko, kulang ang collateral but I also read that the assets there are over and above the combined loans of these five banks. So kumbaga hindi rin malulugi ang mga bangko, nandiyan pa rin. In fact, they have grouped together and they will not be… anyone of them will not on its own kunin iyong mga assets, kagaya noong mga nangyari sa Victoria Mills nagkagulo sila. This time gusto nila na—gusto nga nila na i-rehabilitate eh kasi mayroong gustong mga pumasok, mayroong dalawang Chinese firm, mayroon ding Filipino firm. At saka tandaan mo, there is a petition in court to rehabilitate it. For all you know baka ma-rehabilitate pa rin.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: But sir, don’t you think the President will get frustrated knowing that the Land Bank allegedly nga po prioritized Hanjin over the farmers’ welfare po considering nga po iyong previous order niya na ibalik ng Land Bank iyong dati niyang mandato na tulungan muna iyong farmers po, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Baka naman iyong sinasabi mong loan occurred prior to the presidency, hindi natin alam. Kailan ba iyong shipyard loans na iyon? Baka hindi pa Presidente si Pangulong Duterte noon.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: Okay, sir. But sir, i-investigate po kaya ito ng Malacañang o ipapaimbestiga ba ito ni President iyong regarding sa Land Bank allegation po ng corn farmers group po?

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro I will write the Land Bank kung ano iyong estado noong loans at saka when did it start, kung may collateral to inform the President. And then the President will take action.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: Okay sir. Kasi sabi po ng PhilMaize susulatan daw po nila si President about this po.

SEC. PANELO: Sige, we welcome any letter coming from any citizen. And we will always take action.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: Okay, sir. Thank you, sir.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, na-identify na po ba iyong drug lord supposedly being protected by Ebreo?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa akong naririnig eh.

INA/CNN PHILS.: But assuming since the President relieved him from his post because he was protecting a drug lord or drug dealers in Bacolod, kilala iyong mga dealers na ito. Hindi ba dapat sabay silang hulihin?

SEC. PANELO: But what I know is that he is involved in the illegal drug trade whether as a protector or participant. Siguro we will wait for the PNP exactly anong charges will be file against him, administratively or criminally.

INA/CNN PHILS.: I think sir, if I’m not mistaken the President identified him as protecting—

SEC. PANELO: He identified?



INA/CNN PHILS.: The President when he announced—

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga sino? Sino bang… may binanggit ba siya?


SEC. PANELO: Iyon lang ang sinabi niya eh.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Ah okay. But then—

SEC. PANELO: Hintayin natin.

INA/CNN PHILS.: But then it goes without saying that he is working with drug dealers in Bacolod who ideally should have already been identified and nasaan sila ngayon?

SEC. PANELO: Then the police should give us the information. Sa ngayon hindi pa natin alam exactly kung anong extent ng participation niya. But the President has relieved him precisely because siguro may nakita na ebidensiya na kasama siya or sangkot siya whether—

INA/CNN PHILS.: So unahin iyong police doon sa mismong dealer?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Ang unang-una, hindi mo pa nga alam kung sino ang involved eh. So we have to know the extent of his participation, sinong ka-contact niya. Kasi you have to get the source. Ganiyan naman sa criminal investigation, you get first the small fry and then malalaman mo kung saan nanggagaling iyong source. Hindi mo naman kaagad malalaman kung iyong principal eh, usually you start with the small fishes.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Thank you sir.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi sir. Sir, sabi po kahapon ng PNP wala naman daw po silang derogatory info against ano po, the Bacolod City Chief of Police iyong ni-relieve po ni Presidente—

SEC. PANELO: Siguro sa kanila.

ROSE/HATAW: Pati po sa PDEA, sabi po ng PDEA. At sabi rin po ng PNP marami daw pong accomplishments iyong Chief of Police na binanggit ni Presidente.

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro iba ang source of information ni Presidente. Eh Presidente ito ang dami nitong tentacles of intelligence.

By the way, I just saw the future Congressman of Antipolo, Attorney Fidel Nograles. May I acknowledge his presence. Kandidato ito. He used to be with the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL.STAR: Sec., tuloy na sa Huwebes iyong participation ni President Duterte doon sa—

SEC. PANELO: Nasa schedule.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: Sa BOL. So what are your expectations? Do you think it can persuade people in Cotabato to support the BOL given na may mga recent incidents doon iyong bombing that made them somehow express reservation over this measure?

SEC. PANELO: Again, I will repeat what I said yesterday: the President’s voice is a powerful influencing voice.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: So he can persuade them?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, eh kung influential ang boses niya, bakit naman hindi?

ACE/PHIL.STAR: But then you also said that he will abide by the decision?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, oo eh kung despite the support and the campaign, the overwhelming majority or even a slight majority says ayaw nila. The President cannot do anything but to comply with the sovereign voice of the people in Mindanao.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: So ano iyong tingin ninyo iyong mga sasabihin ni President Duterte that will persuade them to support?

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro pareho iyong mga dating sinasabi niya na ito ang pupuwedeng maging solusyon sa problemang century old na. Kung ano iyong mga sinasabi niya and I think he will just be repeating the same.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: Thank you, Sec.


CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, good morning. What was the response of the DFA doon sa letter kahapon sa data—

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi pa. Papadala ko pa lang. Pipirmahan ko pa lang ngayon iyong letter eh. Nasa mesa ko na ba? Pipirmahan ko pa lang eh.


SEC. PANELO: Iyon na nga eh. Hindi mo malaman, sabi walang leak; sabi ng isa, mayroon. Tingnan natin. Kaya nga sabi ko mahirap talagang magsalita o mag-comment nang wala pang facts.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, this is not the first time na mayroong date breach dito sa Philippines—

SEC. PANELO: When was the first time?

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Iyong Comelec, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Comelec? Mayroon ba?

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: So, sir, what is the assurance of this administration that this incident will not happen again, especially that President Duterte is pushing for national ID system?

SEC. PANELO: First, the Comelec is not this administration. It’s an independent entity. Kung nagkaroon man ng leak doon, hindi sa amin iyon. Number two, eh mukhang lumalabas, iyong DFA wala namang leak. So, hindi pupuwedeng what guarantee kasi wala pa namang nangyari. But certainly, as we said, the President will not allow any breach. Siyempre this is a delicate matter, and DFA will be doing its job to secure the database.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sir, balik ko lang po sa BOL, in relation to the question of Ace. Kasi po si House Majority Leader Andaya Jr. claimed yesterday in a privilege speech na failed daw po si Secretary Diokno na mag-allocate ng budget for the plebiscite. Do you refute the claim?

SEC. PANELO: As far as I know, hindi maaapektuhan iyong funds. Nakita ko iyong report ni Secretary Ben. Iyong sa Comelec, hindi maaapektuhan. Iyong sa BOL …mayroon, mayroong pondo.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Do you think, sir, the good Congressman nakakatulong po iyong mga statement niya? Because siyempre, once the people heard about these statements na wala pa lang pondo, for example sa plebiscite, sa tingin ninyo po ba makakatulong iyon para—

SEC. PANELO: Puwede rin namang sanay na ang tao sa kaniya. Kasi, unang-una, kung walang pondo eh di sana kinansel na iyon. ‘Di ba? Sana ni-reset na iyon, pinostpone [postpone] na. But obviously tuloy, so may pondo.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Pero, sir, ano po iyong magiging statement ninyo regarding doon sa sinabi niya na parang winawalang kabuluhan ni Secretary Diokno iyong efforts ng Duterte admin na magkaroon ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa Mindanao because of—

SEC. PANELO: Well, the response is: his statement is misplaced and without basis. There are funds for the plebiscite.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, follow up on Ros’ question. So do you think Congressman Andaya is a purveyor of fake information?

SEC. PANELO: You said that; I didn’t. But others might agree with you.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sabi ninyo, sir, misplaced. How about the Palace, do you agree—

SEC. PANELO: Purveyor of what?

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Fake news or fake information.

SEC. PANELO: Baka naman he was just misinformed that’s why iyong kaniyang basis eh, iyong statement niya mali rin. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt to everyone and sunder.

His father is a very good friend or was a very good friend of mine.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, on passport again, sir. Mr. Yasay in his statement as posted on his Facebook page, he recalled that on February 10, 2017, Mr. Panelo, as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, determined that the assignment of the passport printing services UGEC was illegal and demanded that all rights over all the personal data, source code, data center and other information related to the performance of the e-passport’s printing services unlawfully subcontracted to UGEC be conveyed to the DFA or be acknowledged to be exclusively owned and controlled by the DFA. Sir, can you confirm this? Was this your opinion?

SEC. PANELO: That was my initial opinion. But I said, as in my memo said, that will be the initial opinion on the basis of so less document that you’re giving us. That’s why we’ve been asking them, “Give us more documents para conclusive iyong aming opinion.” Eh hanggang ngayon wala pang dumarating na kumpleto eh. Like iyong—I didn’t even know that mayroong previous foreign ka-kontrata ang DFA. Hindi ko alam iyon, kasi wala nga silang pinapadala eh.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Hindi mo finallow up [follow up] up, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Finallow up [follow up] pero siguro busy rin sila. Marami na akong letters, pero—

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: When was the last time you wrote them?

SEC. PANELO: Several months ago, I think.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Like, last year, of course?

SEC. PANELO: Parang ganoon. But hopefully they will kasi nga medyo nagkaroon na ng … eh alam mo naman tayo, ganiyan eh. Kapag mayroon kang kaso, may iskandalo, biglang kumikilos. But mukha namang nakikita ko, na wala naman palang problema doon sa breach, na whether iyong sinasabi may illegality on the contract will depend on all the documents that they will be giving us. And then, we will give a conclusive opinion on the matter.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, bakit parang wala namang problema doon sa breach?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi sinasabi … naririnig ko sa TV iyong mga nagsasalita, wala raw.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Pero wala ka pang document, sir, as you said wala ka pang—

SEC. PANELO: But coming from those who are supposed to be securing the database, I will believe them. Sila ang nagsasabi na wala. Kanina lang narinig ko iyong—sino ba ito? Iyong Commissioner sa Privacy Communication, ini-interview.

Q: Liboro.

SEC. PANELO: Liboro. Eh para ngang—even si Secretary Locsin, parang initially sinabi niya, may breach. And then after that, parang wala nang breach; and then third, parang ayaw na niya munang mag-comment. Titingnan muna kung ano ba talaga.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So you’re changing your initial opinion?



SEC. PANELO: My official opinion on the matter was: let us determine first whether or not there is a breach or not. Iyan ang sinabi ko kahapon. I have not changed it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sa BOL. For the past couple of days, we’ve been asking you the support of the President. From your statement that he said—

SEC. PANELO: The President supports BOL. Iyon ang sinabi niya sa Cabinet. He said, he will campaign for it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Then the message to the Bangsomoro Region ahead of the elections is?

SEC. PANELO: The what?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The message, sir, for the people who are going to vote in the plebiscite?

SEC. PANELO: Oh I’m sure he will be saying that on January 18. He will make his speech, and I would not want to preempt him on what he is going to address the people who will be listening to him.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: From the government’s perspective, what is at stake here, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Well, from the point of view of the President, the BOL will solve the age-old problem of the Muslim rebellion. Iyan ang sinasabi niya ever since.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Do you think it will succeed in the plebiscite, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Well, hopefully. But we cannot naman determine the pulse of the people eh. We can only speculate. But what is—as I said, what is certain is the President will abide whatever the decision of the voters there.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Joseph. Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you also.


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