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. IGNACIO: Good afternoon Malacañang Press Corps; let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon. Oh by the way, last night the President visited the wake of the late Henry Sy at about past 10 P.M., he stayed there for two hours. He paid his last respects to the late tycoon and talked with the siblings headed by Mrs. Tessie Sy-Coson. He was accompanied by our good friend Bong Go, who is headed obviously for the Senate from what I observed from the response he was getting from the people there; just like Francis Tolentino which is also receiving warm reception.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Since you’ve met…

SEC. PANELO: Yes, Joseph. [laughs]

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, ano ba iyan slate na ba ni Presidente iyan?

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman siyang sinabi but what I know is he is endorsing them every time he has an opportunity to do so.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Anybody else, sir?

SEC. PANELO: So far iyon lang ang naririnig kong mga pangalan eh.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sino pa po?

SEC. PANELO: Si Bong Go, Francis Tolentino and the former PNP Chief Dela Rosa.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Will the President have… will disclose or will he have like a personal slate that he will campaign for?

SEC. PANELO: None that I know as of this time.

JOSEPH/GMA7: None.

SEC. PANELO: As of this time.

JOSEPH/GMA7: As of this—

SEC. PANELO: None that I know of.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Because it’s too early, campaign period is February pa.

SEC. PANELO: Siguro. Hindi natin alam.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: No, because sir there is a report that came out saying that the President will be coming out with a slate which he is calling ‘the do it list.’ Can you confirm that?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa akong alam, I have not received the info yet.

INA/CNN PHILS.: But his options of course are to come up with his own or also adapt his party’s slate, could be Hugpong or PDP. Which—

SEC. PANELO: Well, it’s his call. Depende kung anong gusto niya.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Hindi ba sir dapat automatic din po na that he will carry his party’s slate?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang logical consequence but this President is someone you cannot predict.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Okay, thank you.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, good morning.

SEC. PANELO: Good morning.

NESTOR/INQUIRER.NET: The President mentioned in his speech last Friday that… he hinted at a possible shift in approach to amending the Constitution saying that he might just opt to seek a revision of its economic provisions. So what is now the position of the President as far as his advocacy of pushing for federalism?

SEC. PANELO: Well, you know the President is a very creative person. If he feels that one method is not practical or cannot be realized, he goes to another mode. What is important to him is certain provisions in the Constitution must be amended and—that is a judgment call of the Congress.

NESTOR/INQUIRER.NET: Does this mean that he is abandoning his push for federalism, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily, he was just expressing an idea. It depends how members of Congress would take it.

NESTOR/INQUIRER.NET: What made the President think, sir, that it’s very difficult for his government or for this administration to pass federalism or to push federalism considering he has many allies in Senate and in the Lower House?

SEC. PANELO: Perhaps what he is saying is that it takes too long for Congress to act on it. You must remember that he has been advocating for a revision of the Constitution at the inception of his presidency and Congress know that or knew that. But Congress hasn’t taken serious moves to make it a realization.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, is the President change of mind is it not because of he realized that Congress is not supportive of ConComs’ draft on federal constitution?

SEC. PANELO: Could be, he is expressing an idea. As he tells us he is fond of shaking the trees. So maybe he wants reaction from those who would want to respond to his idea.

INA ANDOLONG/PHILS.: Just one. Can you give us, sir, maybe details on what economic provisions he may consider or he wants amended?

SEC. PANELO: He mentioned during the campaign about the entry of foreign investments; there is so much restriction. He wants to liberalize that.

INA/CNN PHILS.: What else, sir? Mayroon pa po ba?

SEC. PANELO: That’s what I have been hearing during the electoral campaign.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Thank you, sir.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, did the President mention any particular sector po that he wants to liberalize po?

SEC. PANELO:  Iyon na nga iyong sa foreign entry.

BERNADETTE/BUSSINESS MIRROR: Yes, yes. But what particular industries or—

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman siyang binanggit.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: Ah okay. But, sir, does this mean po that the President is not happy with the turnout of the House draft charter po particularly the Arroyo-sponsored draft constitution po?

SEC. PANELO: He didn’t say so. But what he wants is that the Constitution be amended the soonest.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: So ibig sabihin, sir, the President has lowered his sights po regarding his push for federalism po?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman. Eh gusto niya ngang madaliin na eh. Pero he is not alone, it’s Congress. Congress has to do something about it too.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: So sir, is the President expecting the revival of federalism push after the elections po, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I think so, yes.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: So if the elections getting in the way for Congress po to act on it po?

SEC. PANELO: We have to ask Congress why it’s moving slow.

BERNADETTE/BUSINESS MIRROR: Thank you, sir.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL.STAR: Sec., given the recent realities – the delay in the budget, the issues about the present draft – how optimistic is Malacañang that Congress will pass federalism within the President’s term?

SEC. PANELO: Well, it is—the President is optimistic that it will because he knows that federalism will help the development of this country. It’s a matter of I think time on the part of Congress who would do it.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: So you think federalism should be an election issue during the midterm polls?

SEC. PANELO: Whether or not that will be an issue will depend on the candidates themselves. They will raise it as an issue.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: Do you want to hear debates about federalism during the campaign?

SEC. PANELO: Come again?

ACE/PHIL.STAR: Do you want to hear debates and discussions about federalism during the campaign?

SEC. PANELO: Me?

ACE/PHIL.STAR: The Malacañang.

SEC. PANELO: Well, the Palace cannot have controls on the issues that will be raised by any candidate running for the Senate. So it will just wait for these candidates to raise whatever issue they want that the electorate would be interested in.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: Thank you, Sec.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, but don’t you think the President’s statement saying that he is now open to just a revision of the economic provision affect his push for federalism?

SEC. PANELO: Not really. Maybe what he is just saying is siguro unahin ninyo ito—kung ayaw ninyong madaliin ang federalism eh ‘di unahin ninyo ito. But the federalism idea of the President remains. It will always be there, kasi he believes in it.

And now that you mentioned about federalism, I talked with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari sometime ago and also former Governor Sakur Tan who presently are not really opposing BOL but they feel that federalism to them is much better than the BOL.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, do you have a one year old apo?

SEC. PANELO: Oo—now that you mentioned about … Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Julia—

JOSEPH/GMA7: Perfect!

SEC. PANELO: It’s her birthday today.

JOSEPH/GMA7: How old is she, sir?

SEC. PANELO: One year old.

JOSEPH/GMA7: One year old?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH/GMA7: So in eight years time, sir, she can be charged under the juvenile… [laughs]. She may be able to be… She may face in eight years time under the law—

SEC. PANELO: Not under the law.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Under the bill—

SEC. PANELO: Under the proposed bill.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Proposed bill. Do you agree with the age?

SEC. PANELO: You know, I think from the point of view of the President, the law presently is being used by the criminals to use the children. So to my mind, he wants that amended to protect the children. But apparently those opposing it don’t see it that way; mali yata ang tingin nila. Kaya nga gusto ni Presidente iyon to protect the children, they are being used. Because if you have a law that will criminalize this particular age bracket, eh hindi na gagamitin ng mga kriminal iyan, eh kasi useless pala. They are using them now kasi alam nilang pre… they can get out. Iyon ang purpose ni Presidente.

JOSEPH/GMA7: He didn’t mention any age bracket right? The President, he just said that 15 is probably too high—

SEC. PANELO: Yes, kasi from the experience of the PNP, ang mga ginagamit ngayon mga 10 years old, pati  9 nga ‘di ba iyong latest na nakuha ng PDEA mga 9 years old up to 12.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Do you think 9 is too young?

SEC. PANELO:  Depende iyon kasi eh, sometimes 9 years old iba ang discretion. Like my 3-year old granddaughter last year, iba ang mga sagot niya sa akin. Like for instance my 3 year old granddaughter Pia, she was alone in the room and when I went inside, I told her, ‘Oh Pia, why are you alone? Where is everybody else?’ And my granddaughter at that age even without looking at me said, ‘Grandpa, it’s nice to be alone.’ Can you imagine that, 3-year old?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is she contemplating committing crime, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ibig sabihin, depende siguro sa 9-year old eh. Iba na ang panahon ngayon. Because of modern technology, parang ang bibilis nilang…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is she contemplating committing a crime, perhaps at that age?

SEC. PANELO: Maybe she is contemplating of eradicating crime like the President.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So you prefer nine? You’re okay with nine?

SEC. PANELO: Depende eh. There are so many proposed bills eh, hindi ko na nga … may nine, may ten, may eleven.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why not five? I mean, just to push the idea.

SEC. PANELO: Five, masyado namang ano, hindi pa kumbaga. Siguro, tama. Pero sa akin, puwede nang nine.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Considering nga the technology. Iyong nine parang equivalent na to 12, 15 years old eh – may discernment na.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: May discernment na.

SEC. PANELO: May discernment. Kasi nga sa criminal law, kapag may discernment ka na, you know what is bad and what is good – eh may problema ka sa batas; you will be accountable.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, but there’s an article ‘no, it said that based on our statistics, PNP, there’s only like less than two percent of all the crimes are committed by minor.

SEC. PANELO: SIguro iyon iyong statistics nila; hindi nakikita iyong ibang nangyayari. You must remember na statistics is limited to certain respondents, certain data.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: This is PNP official data, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Kahit na official data, hindi naman lahat malalaman nila eh. Ang daming hindi nagrereport, ‘di ba? Nalalaman lang ng mga PNP na ginamit kung nahuli nila. Eh iyong mga hindi nahuli, oh di wala iyon sa survey, wala iyon sa statistics.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just to pick your brain a little bit more. You said kanina na—

SEC. PANELO: You were picking my brain, I didn’t know that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: [LAUGHS] So it’s not picking your brain yet. Anyway, sir, how is this going to deter again the use of minors?

SEC. PANELO: It will deter the criminals from using the minors because it’s useless for them do that kasi magkakaroon ng criminal responsibility. Right now, they are bold in doing it kasi alam nila lilibre, magagamit ulit nila, pagamit nang pagamit. Kasi mare-release lang iyon, oh di gagamitin mo na naman, iri-release na naman nila. Kaya I think the law is geared towards the protection of the minors rather than, from the point of view of those opposing it eh labag daw sa kanilang interes – I disagree.

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBNnews.com: Hi, sir. Good afternoon. Sir, going by that argument, don’t you think that we will be unjustly punishing minors who may not be fully aware of what they’re doing or because they are just being manipulated by criminal groups?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, our law if they are enacted, mayroong mga provisions there that will say kahit na iyon ang edad mo, if you did it with discernment, ito ang magiging penalty mo. If you did not do it with discernment, ito ang gagawin sa iyo – rehabilitation, so forth and so on. Hindi naman absolute eh.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, what about the liability of the parents?

SEC. PANELO: Ay dapat mayroon. From the point of view of the President, ang mga parents dapat may liability rin kapag pinapabayaan nila iyong mga anak nila o they allowed them to be used in criminal activities.

HENRY URI/DZRH: What punishment they should—

SEC. PANELO: Oh eh di kulong, or maybe they will be deprived of parental custody over the children, eh masakit iyon kapag tinanggalan ka ng parental custody sa mga anak mo.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So dapat ikulong din—

SEC. PANELO: But we will leave that to the lawmakers because hindi naman …

HENRY URI/DZRH: Pero from the point of view of the Spokesperson and a lawyer, dapat ikulong din iyong mga magulang na nagpapabaya sa mga anak?

SEC. PANELO: Oh definitely. Ako, I’m all for that. Personally, as a citizen of this country, parents should be accountable for their children, lalo na iyong mga bata pa not when they are already of age.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Is that the Palace’s statement or your personal statement?

SEC. PANELO: No, even I think the President. Kasi he did it during his stint as mayor, pinakukulong niya iyong—I remember, telling us during campaign, even he was President, may nakita raw siyang mga bata na natutulog sa ilalim ng sasakyan. Pinahuli niya iyong mga magulang, pinakulong niya.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Sir, can we say na sa news that this is a Palace’s statement, that the parents should be jailed for allowing—

SEC. PANELO: Well, let’s just say that given the action of the President as mayor, I think he is open to making the parents accountable for the criminal acts of the children, if the law says that they can be criminally accountable. Because right now, hindi pa puwede.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Sir, what is the President or Malacañang’s basis why it is supporting this measure which, again, specifically lowers it to the age of nine? Because you were saying earlier ‘di ba, you think mayroon nang discernment iyong bata, UNICEF however is saying that the brain of a child only matures at around 16 years old. And the group is also asking if lawmakers would insist that kapag nine ay mayroon nang discernment, bakit ang pagpapakasal they have to this 18?

SEC. PANELO: The theory of the President is this: The present criminals are the very minors that were used by the criminals.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: The present criminals ngayon, iyong mga bata. In other words, lumaki na sila na ganoon ang ginagawa nila sa krimen kasi nga palagi silang nari-release eh. Nahuhuli sila, iri-release, so they commit another crime hanggang nasanay na silang mag-commit ng crime kaya—iyan ang mga bagong kriminal, bagong henerasyon ng kriminal, kaya he wants to protect them. That’s why he calls the Pangalinan law stupid law because he created the generation of criminals.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Sir, just to clarify. Because the question really is why nine, not 12 or—why nine? Is there a medical, I don’t know, study that would make you believe that nine is talagang may discernment na iyong bata? Paano po ba?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro iyon ang based on the statistics of the PNP. And as I said earlier, considering the modern technology, iyong ganoong edad ay mas marami nang alam kaysa iyong 10 years ago.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: From a lolo’s perspective, sir, hindi talaga siya too young, iyong nine?

SEC. PANELO: Alin iyong nine?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Nine, hindi ba siya too young? I mean, can you imagine a kid going to jail because a criminal—

SEC. PANELO: As I said, it doesn’t have to be going to jail naman eh. Kasi depende sa provisions ng batas eh. Kahit na may edad na nine, halimbawa mayroong palaging kolatilya eh, if he or she did it with discretion, ito ang para sa kaniya; kapag hindi, ito naman iyong sa kaniya. So the lawmakers will make a distinction.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yeah, but under the Bill, sir, to be fair, after 18 siya iku-commit sa regular jail if found guilty ‘no. But do you think—okay, let’s take a case, for example a theoretical case of a kid, 9-year old kid that’s being used by a drug syndicate to be a courier ‘no. Halimbawa si Pia, iyong apo mo, biglang nautusan and then she followed because she didn’t know any better, right—

SEC. PANELO: Ah she will know.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No, I mean assuming, sir, assuming—

SEC. PANELO: My Pia is so intelligent, she would definitely know.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So for example, a 9-year old—

SEC. PANELO: Baka sagutin ka niya, “Excuse me, Tito Joseph …”

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: [LAUGHS] I’m not the drug courier. [LAUGHS] So, sir, anyway, theoretically ‘no, let’s test the idea: A 9-year old kid was asked by a syndicate, for example, a small time, you know, drug runner in a barangay, padala mo siya, “Ano po ito?” “Kendi,” then she does it. And then she gets arrested, 9-year old. It’s not her fault, is it?

SEC. PANELO: Depende. Siyempre depende. If the 9-year old is intelligent enough and smart enough, she will, “Ano ba itong dadalhin ko?” If you can prove na alam niya na it’s an illegal item, oh di may discernment na siya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So still, that—

SEC. PANELO: Depende pa rin sa ano, depende sa circumstances surrounding a particular incident. Hindi naman ganoon ang batas, tinitingnan pa rin ng batas, ano ba. You cannot just prosecute—or you can prosecute but it depends on the evidence.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So ang point of contention niya, sir, is the discernment—

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, discernment palagi.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But the assumption of the law is that—

SEC. PANELO: Kahit na even the present law, may discernment palaging pinag-uusapan pagka 15-years old—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But isn’t the assumption of the law, the 9-year old has the discernment to commit crime so therefore we can prosecute?

SEC. PANELO: No, depende iyon sa batas mismo. And most likely, I don’t think na ilalagay nila iyon. Kasi iyong present law natin, kahit na iyong 15 na sinasabi, depende pa rin kung he did it with discernment. Ibababa lang siguro iyong edad, pero same provisions – may kolatilya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, can I just get your comment on what the Foreign Affairs Secretary said regarding that, sir, because he twitted over the weekend ‘no, I’m just trying to find it. This is Secretary talking about that, and I quote, “Children can commit crimes but lowering the age when they can be jailed at nine will have pedophiles panting anxiously for the day they can call prison guards for takeout kids for sodomy. That is the only motivation for lowering the age of criminality to nine.” Your comment please?

SEC. PANELO: Well, Secretary of Foreign Affairs made that statement. He has reasons to believe in what he says so I leave it at that.

DHAREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBNnews.com: Hi, sir. There’s this March 2017 Pulse Asia Survey wherein Filipinos were … the respondents were asked: Only nine percent agree that 9-years old should be the minimum age of criminal responsibility; while for 15-years old, 55% of the respondent. So by pushing this proposal, would the President or the Congress, you know, go against the opinion of the Filipinos?

SEC. PANELO: That’s the call of Congress. It’s the Congress that will make the law. The President did not say naman na particular nine, wala siyang sinasabi. Just lower it, so depende na iyon. We will not question the wisdom of the lawmakers.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Oo, nasa kanila na iyon.

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: That’s why we’re trying to ascertain where the Palace is. Because the President naman didn’t say specifically na nine or 10.

SEC. PANELO: Yeah.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: At this point, that’s why we’re asking, do you think that the President is okay with nine because probably too young?

SEC. PANELO: As I said again, depende nga sa discernment iyon eh. Kahit na nine kung may discernment, may problema ka na, alam na ng bata.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Si Presidente kaya okay sa nine?

SEC. PANELO: I’ll ask him para sigurado.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But right now—

SEC. PANELO: Basta ang gusto niya ay i-lower.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Lower but not nine?

SEC. PANELO: Basta iyon ang sabi niya, i-lower. Tatanungin natin para mas eksakto. I’ll issue a statement.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, update on the bill forming Housing Department which was transmitted to the Palace in January 16? Mayroon na po ba, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa eh. Wala pa kaming info. No feedback yet.

USEC. IGNACIO: MPC, wala nang tanong? Okay na? Okay na. Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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