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 Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat. Itong si Arjay mukhang may mischievous smile…

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, I already forwarded to you the pastoral statement of the CBCP.

SEC. PANELO: I haven’t read it. Ano bang sinasabi? Sige sabihin mo kaagad para maka-react ako…

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Okay. Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles issued on behalf of the CBCP yesterday a pastoral statement—

SEC. PANELO: That?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: And I will read in parts some lines referring to the statement of President Duterte against the Church: “As far as we know, the freedom of expression does not include the license to insult other people’s faith especially our core beliefs. We know that this cuts deeply into the souls of our people especially the poor” – that’s the first one, sir.

And on being critical of the anti-illegal drugs campaign, the CBCP said: “As Bishops, we have no intention of interfering in the conduct of state affairs, but we have a solemn duty to defend our flock especially when they are being attacked by wolves. We do not fight with arms, we fight only with truth.”

And they added that no amount of intimidation or even threat to their lives will make them give up their prophetic role especially giving voice to the voiceless. So, initial reaction sir for the first two.

SEC. PANELO: Well, I will refer him to the statement of—let me refer you to the statement of Bishop Socrates. He said that he’s worried with the health of the President rather than the Church because according to him the Church for so long a time had passed through trials and whatever. In other words, it does not affect the Church, but I cannot understand why CBCP now is reacting. If the good Bishop Socrates is saying that it does not affect the Church then why should others be affected.

Second, the President was not actually criticizing the institution – it was criticizing certain hypocritical acts of the members of the Church, especially those who wear the cloak… or the cloth.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: They have admitted their shortcomings, sir, saying: “We have already mentioned in our previous statements that we bow in shame when we hear of abuses committed by some of us, that we hold ourselves accountable for their actions and accept our duty to correct them.”

SEC. PANELO: Oh, so? So what if they—what do you mean ‘they,’ they themselves?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Yes, the CBCP.

SEC. PANELO: Are they saying that all of them, members of that CBCP are guilty of immorality?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Not all of them, “some of us…”

SEC. PANELO: No, but they are saying that “We admitted our guilt in shame…”

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: They are saying that they have their own share of failures and shortcomings, and they admitted that some of them…

SEC. PANELO: The President also admits, he says “I’m just human and I will do everything under the Constitutional mandate to serve and to protect the people—

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Then why the continued verbal attack against the Church, sir?

SEC. PANELO: No, he’s not really attacking – he’s questioning certain doctrines. And as I said before, it behooves them to explain to the President the validity of the doctrines that are being taught to us, Catholics.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: And despite this admission, why the President keeps criticizing the Church then and that has been happening since 2016?

SEC. PANELO: The idea is to let them know that these hypocritical acts will not go unnoticed. And the more you should repeat them, the better for the faithful so that they will know – because not all faithful are listening or every—

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Of course—sir, they know, that’s why they said they have their own share of failures and shortcomings – they are aware.

SEC. PANELO: This is the only time that I’ve heard of them admitting that guilt, not before.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: They said that before, that’s why they repeated it today or yesterday in their statement.

SEC. PANELO: I don’t have that statement. I’ve never heard them admit to that. Moreover—again, the charges of the President go to the specific priests who committed the acts – not necessarily even with the CBCP members. Now if they feel alluded to, we cannot do anything about that. If they admit their guilt, then well and good.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, the latest bombing took placed in a place of worship, a Catholic Church. You don’t think it has anything to do with the President’s attacks and criticisms?

SEC. PANELO: Oh definitely not. In fact, the President is outraged. He’s so angry that they have not respected a place of worship – that’s why he declared war against all these perpetrators.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: And do you think his criticisms against the Church helps? Does it help?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean? What do you mean it help what?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: You see … the protecting the Church from terror acts…

SEC. PANELO: I don’t get your question…

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Does it help sir in protecting the Church especially the faithful from these kinds of acts?

SEC. PANELO: It helps in cleansing the institution of its members. But if you say that the President’s criticism of them would embolden others to disrespect the Church, I don’t think so.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Uhum… But violence—

SEC. PANELO: Those who will attack places of worship especially with the Catholics are doing it because they do not believe in that religion. In other words, they are disrespecting precisely the religion. It’s directed against—to my mind, apart from challenging the capability of this government to secure the safety of the citizenry, it is also showing its utmost disrespect to this religion.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Can we not consider the President’s word against the Church as verbal violence?

SEC. PANELO: No.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Why?

SEC. PANELO: It’s still part of the freedom of expression. I said, he is not attacking the Church – he is just criticizing certain immoral acts of some members of the Church.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So what would stop the President then?

SEC. PANELO: Nobody can stop him from saying his mind on certain matters that he feels are wrong.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Alright, thank you sir.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Just a quick follow up, sir. How can you say that the President is not criticizing the Church and that he’s only going after specific members…

SEC. PANELO: Yes…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: But he mocks, as you mentioned earlier doctrines being you know, propagating—

SEC. PANELO: Not he mocks, he is questioning the doctrine.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: He mocks the Bible, he mocks the Jesus—How—and saints…

SEC. PANELO: Not Jesus…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: He did. I remember because the President said, “Bakit si Jesus kung God siya, nagpapa-crucify.” Anong klaseng diyos daw iyon…

SEC. PANELO: Oh, then you respond to his questioning your doctrine. You don’t—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: So, how is that not criticizing the Church if you know, this is a teaching of the Church?

SEC. PANELO: You must remember, if you noticed there are statements coming from the President signed by him. And the Black Nazarene, he recognized and in fact asked the faithful to follow the examples that Christ did when he was still in the physical plain.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Well yes, but that does not disregard the fact that again, he still comes out to these statements, how can you say that these are not criticisms? And how can you say that priests, if they feel alluded to, wala nang magagawa doon? Eh ang ina-attack nga iyong tinuturo po nila eh…

SEC. PANELO: No… When you say kasi ‘attack’ parang… You’re just questioning the doctrines.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: The President has a quote before, sir: “I will continue attacking the Church.”

SEC. PANELO: Ah… eh siguro when he say attacking, ang ibig niyang sabihin: “I’m questioning your doctrines. You justify to me your doctrines.” You must remember that… I forgot the name of the book – that criticism of the President—ah, now I remember. According to… who’s that columnist that… the columnist that teaches about esoteric, si Jaime Licauco. In fact he wrote a column and I sent it to the President, he said that the things that the President has been saying has been said a thousand years ago – about the Bible, about the doctrines… And according to him even those people then could not explain and their defense, sabi niya just believe in it. Basahin mo iyong ano ni Licauco. In other words, the President is just questioning the doctrines, so you—he doesn’t believe in it. So, you respond.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Okay, so is that what the President wants at the end of this all just for the Church to justify its doctrines. Ano ba? Does he want an apology, does he want—

SEC. PANELO: Not really. In other words, he believes—as he said, I am testing the limits of civility. I’m testing the limits of the freedom of expression. In other words—even the Church criticizes the President. So they can throw criticism, they should also accept criticism.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So, it’s going to be a back and forth thing until the President end his term?

SEC. PANELO: Then, let it be. You know in debates… when debates are open enough heard, we learn from them, we learn. We see the validity of each statement coming from the contending parties.

Anyway, according naman to Bishop Socrates, ‘it doesn’t affect us.’ O hindi ba, dahil entrenched nga naman kami; kahit ano pa ang sabihin mo, ganun pa rin iyong mga devotion ng tao. Eh ganundin naman si Presidente, nagki-criticize siya, pero at the same time he says let us follow the teachings of Christ, oh di ba. So, in other words, very clear na specific lang iyong ano niya, criticism.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, this is the first time that the CBCP as a group issued a statement. What is your reading about it?

SEC. PANELO: Well, according to them, they are admitting guilt, it’s a collected—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: To the act of coming out with a statement to – not naman challenge, maybe contests – some of the President’s statements. This is the first time.

SEC. PANELO: Me, my suggestion is rather than attack the President by way of making this statement, I’d rather that they issue a statement that they are all praying for our President to succeed in his endeavor. And if there are mistakes, they pray to God that he be enlightened on certain mistakes that they perceive to be wrongs.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Specifically, they said something about, number one, the drug war ‘no. Ang sinasabi po nila ay… iyong usual criticism that the small ones, iyong mga maliliit na mga drug users and drug peddlers are the ones being, you know, maybe punished and iyong mga drug lords ay hindi nakukuha.

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo kasi ang problema hindi nila pinapakinggan si Presidente ng maayos eh. Ano ba ang dynamics ng illegal drug trafficking. Iyong shabu para sa mga masa iyon, kasi iyon ang mura; iyong mga marijuana sa mga pang-mayaman.

Now, iyong mga mahihirap… I think I said this earlier before, what the syndicate did was to spread shabu for free. In-addict nila iyong mga sa barangay. So nung na-addict na, oh di siyempre hahanapin mo ngayon—ang galing nga ng mga sindikato eh.

So nung na-addict na, they will have to get shabu to continue with the addiction, eh wala naman silang pera, so ano ang nangyari ngayon. So they will have to steal, una sa pamilya nila and then sa neighborhood. Pag hindi sila nag-succeed, oh di siyempre magho-hold up na iyan, papatay na iyan. Kaya galit na galit si Presidente, kasi sinira nila iyong bagong henerasyon eh. That’s why—at the same time, kinakalimutan din nila na when you are addicted to it, eh talagang may diperensiya ang utak mo, walang addict at walang courier na papayag magpa-aresto. Palaging may mga armas iyan eh.

You know, I’ve been reading reports coming from the PNP, nababasa ko eh. Talagang kapag may buy bust lalaban, marami ring aresto, mas marami ang aresto kaysa nakikipagbarilan. Kasi iyong naaresto naman nagugulat sila kasi nire-raid sila. So—pero kung buy bust operation, kapag nakahalata eh talagang magbabarilan iyan.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But do you agree with the proposition, sir, na iyong mga maliliit lang iyong nahahabol ng gobyerno?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kasi nga sila ang mga involved eh. But don’t tell me also na iyong mga druglords, hindi natatamaan, eh hindi ba ang dami na ngang napatay na mga druglords in connection with operations ng mga pulis eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You say that meron ding efforts to—Sir, for example iyong sinasabi nila si Peter Lim, alleged drug lord, where is he now?

SEC. PANELO: Eh di ba wala yata dito sa Pilipinas, nakatakas. But it doesn’t mean na pinabayaan mo, kung nakatakas eh. Saka isa pa, parang hindi sila makapaniwala na iyong mga nag-surrender noon, nagtutu-turo na ng mga members ng syndicate eh, kaya nga maraming ang napapatay din eh ng hindi nalalaman ng pulis; in other words, to silence them.

Isa pa, nagkakaonsehan. Pag nagkakaonsehan ng deal siyempre magpapatayan iyan, kaya maraming ganyan. But definitely, it’s not state-managed, state-initiated operation against those who are killed in police operations.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, last doon sa statement. They don’t agree also with lowering the MACR.

SEC. PANELO: What’s MACR?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Minimum Age for Criminal Responsibility (MACR) to 9. So parang… you know, again, iyong mga batang napapariwara ay walang guidance, they are coming from usually, maybe you know, economically-challenged families, no guidance at all so—

SEC. PANELO: Ang problema kasi hindi nila alam iyong background ng batas eh. As I said before, iyong previous law, pegged it at 9. 9 with discretion, pero hindi pa kinukulong iyon eh, nire-rehabilitate iyon eh. Pagdating nilang majority age at ganun pa rin sila incorrigible, saka lang sila sinisentensiyahan ng hukuman. Matagal iyon, that has been there since 1900s, iyong Revised Penal Code iyong provision na iyon. That was only changed in 2006, itinaas ng 15 years old.

But you know, I just read sa internet, merong dalawang bata sa America, 10 years old na nakademanda ngayon. Kasi sa kanila yata up to 8 eh na may criminal liability. This 10 years olds, pinatay nila iyong baby, ten year old lang iyan. Eh di ba sinasabi nga ni – I don’t know kung sinong senador iyon – o si Gordon, sinasabi niya sa ibang bansa nga, hanggang 8, 7; eh tayo nga inakyat na nga natin, ang dami pa kayong reklamo.

But let me restate the policy of the law: The law is directed more against criminal syndicates and neglectful parents and protective of the children who are in conflict with the law. That precisely why kailangan may rehabilitation and that is also why merong komite that will oversee them – may doctor, may psychologist, marami kumpleto eh. Para nga alagaan iyong mga bata, hindi naman ikukulong eh.

Ang palaging naririnig ko doon sa mga critic, why are we going to imprison. Hindi nga ini-imprison eh, nire-rehabilitate nga eh. So, in other words, mukhang hindi nila naintindihan iyong purpose ng batas at saka iyong batas mismo. I suggest they read the provisions of the proposed bill.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, I think the House has already passed its version third and final reading yesterday.

SEC. PANELO: 12, di ba? And even the Senate, I think, is considering 12.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So because there is still that process—will the President certify this as urgent so it can move faster?

SEC. PANELO: I will ask him when we meet this afternoon if he will certify it. But since, according to him he is okay with that. Baka sakali. But, I think, even without certifying it, I think the House and Senate are bent on approving the bill.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, 12 na tayo, sir no?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Balikan ko lang iyong sa Church, Sec. You mentioned about testing the limits of freedom of expression, tama, Sec?

SEC. PANELO: That is what he said.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Okay. Would that include iyong spreading nung unsubstantiated pang claims, halimbawa iyong 80% daw ng priests are gays, may basis ba si President doon or si Bishop David is into drugs and he stole some donations from the…

SEC. PANELO: Siguro may basis siya—

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: How about the 80%? Did he make a survey of the entire Catholic clergy: Are you gay or what… kasi walang proof iyon, how would you justify those—

SEC. PANELO: I think his basis was… remember iyong inilabas ni Pope? The Pope, he made a statement, if you cannot be celibate, leave the Church. The Pope will not be saying that if he has no basis na maraming gays sa loob ng kaniyang Simbahan. Pope, Papa na iyan ha—

ACE/PHIL.STAR: So saan nakuha iyong 80 percent?

SEC. PANELO: Ng alin?

ACE/PHIL.STAR: Iyong 80 percent niya.

SEC. PANELO: Siguro nagbigay lang siya ng number. But given that the Pope is the one saying it, siguro hindi ordinaryo ang number. I don’t think the spiritual leader of million… more than so many million Filipinos will make a statement on that. It’s such an important statement that is adverse even to the Church.

ACE/PHIL.STAR: So kailan tingin ninyo matatapos itong batuhan—

SEC. PANELO: Well, gaya nga ng sinabi ko eh ‘di hayaan na lang natin sila. Anyway, mukhang wala namang—wala naman akong makitang kasiraan on both sides. Kasi iyong ‘pag sinabi mo, nakakasira kaya kay Presidente eh sabi na nga ni Bishop Socrates, oh kahit anong banat mo nandoon pa rin iyong debosyon ng tao. Sa parte naman ng Church sasabihin niya, kahit anong banat mo sumusunod pa rin ang tao sa amin. So parang polemics lang ang nangyayari.

What is important is: is this President doing his job as President of the country whose job is, one, to serve the people; and number two, to protect them.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, do you think or does this administration think that the Church is interfering into the state’s affairs?

SEC. PANELO: That was the President is saying, he feels that, stop interfering with my governance.

CHRISTINE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: So criticism is interference sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ang alin? What he is saying is: the Church, you are supposed to be in the spiritual side, huwag na iyong governance ng gobyerno. Kasi you are questioning the method by which this President is doing his duty. Eh ‘di since kayo sa spiritual eh ipagdasal ninyo na lang, turuan ninyo na lang ang tao kung ano ang tama at mali.

In other words, we have enough critics – we have the opposition, we have the human rights. Dadagdagan mo pa eh supposed to be spiritual side ka. Iyon ang punto ni Presidente.

CHRISTINE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: So the Church cannot question the…

SEC. PANELO: They have been doing that.

CHRISTINE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: I mean—

SEC. PANELO: Nobody has stopped them anyway, kahit na ano ang sabihin ni Presidente ganoon pa rin. So let it be then. Sabi nga eh let the flowers bloom kung ganoon. Tingnan na lang natin. Anyway, hindi nga ano eh, hindi naman distractive on both sides eh, wala nga akong nakikitang distraction eh: The President remains very popular in terms of performance and trust; the Church ganoon din; ganoon din naman iyong faithfuls. So wala namang distractive effect on both sides.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Maikli lang ito sir. Doon sa question ni Ace, you said—regarding the 80 percent. Sabi mo siguro nagbigay lang siya ng number. Are you saying nag-imbento lang siya ng number?

SEC. PANELO: Not really.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Pulled it out of thin air…

SEC. PANELO: Not really. Sabi ko nga, the President has his own basis. Presidente ito marami siyang sources. So hindi natin—

INA/CNN PHILS.: So that is a confirmed number, that’s what you are saying? 80 percent?

SEC. PANELO: No that is what he is saying. And I said, he might have some basis, iyan ang sinasabi ko.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Sabi mo eh siguro nagbigay lang siya ng number.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi… [overlapping voices]

INA/CNN PHILS.: Anong ibig sabihin—

SEC. PANELO: But I’m saying that—if that is what he said, then he must have some basis considering that he is the President and he has so many sources coming from whatever source – from other country, from other groups.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Okay, thank you.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, can you confirm that President Duterte ordered an all-out war against the Abu Sayyaf yesterday in Jolo, Sulu?

SEC. PANELO: All-out war against?

PIA/ABS-CBN: Abu Sayyaf sir, yesterday.

SEC. PANELO: He said so yesterday—I didn’t know if it’s Abu Sayyaf. Did he mention Abu Sayyaf? He said… He just said all-out war.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Against whom, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Against siguro the perpetrators… and for that matter, all the enemies of the state in that region. Lahat ng kalaban ng estado.

PIA/ABS-CBN: So it’s not specifically Abu Sayyaf at all—

SEC. PANELO: Lahat siyempre kasi they’re attacking the government so lahat ng kalaban ng estado.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Pati Church?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman kalaban ang Simbahan eh.

Q: [off mic.]

SEC. PANELO: Hindi when you say against the enemies of the state – those who use the violence against the state, those who want to destroy the democratic institutions in this country, those who kill, who sow terror, who bomb civilians and soldiers and policeman. These are the enemies of the state that the President is referring to, not the critics. Critics have been there.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Sir, with this declaration of an all-out war. Ano iyong ine-expect natin? Are we expecting the government to mobilize more troops? Magdadagdag ba ng troops sa Mindanao?

SEC. PANELO: Oh yes. Ang ibig sabihin ni President – as I said – we will pursue them to the ends of the earth. Tutugisin niya ang lahat ng mga kriminal hanggang sa dulo ng daigdig.

PIA/ABS-CBN: So anong directives niya sir sa Armed Forces of the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Oh eh ‘di kumbaga lalong magiging istrikto, kung iyong mga checkpoints mo noon pinapabayaan mo lang isang tingin lang eh ngayon mas matindi na iyong safety measures mo.

Like Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was telling me, ‘you know the threat against the churches alam namin iyon. That is precisely why, sabi niya, nilagyan namin ng mga… nag-deploy kami ng mga troops sa lahat ng simbahan but ang naging problema, sabi niya, is iyong mga nagbomba, nag-pretend na mga church goer, eh iyong mga sundalo kung ikaw ay magsisimba, bakit nga naman magiging… masyado kang ano…’

Q: Do you expect them to find like terrorist group?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Kung ordinaryong nagsisimba nga naman eh—alam mo magaling nga iyan sila because kung ako rin iyong bomber pipiliin ko iyong lugar na they will never anticipate na I will go there. Pareho lang noong pinatay nila sa PNP, who will imagine na may papatayin sa loob ng PNP Crame ‘di ba iyong Korean? Eh marurunong na… mga smart na nga mga kriminal ngayon.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Sir, going back to my question. Aside from a strict implementation of martial law just like what you said, are we expecting deployment of more troops in Mindanao—

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Or we expect iyong military offensives in Mindanao?

SEC. PANELO: Well, kung—like for instance kung malaman natin kung nasaan iyong kampo ng… behind it eh siyempre kailangan lulusubin lahat iyon para arestuhin natin.

PIA/ABS-CBN: So as far as the President is concerned, sir, mayroon na po ba siyang grupo na pinaniniwalaan na behind doon sa attack?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pinapaimbestigahan niya pa nga ‘di ba? Wala pa.

PIA/ABS-CBN: So ongoing pa iyong investigation?

SEC. PANELO: In fact tinext ko si Secretary Delfin, wala pang sagot kung we have already pinpointed those responsible. Kasi there is one group claiming, one Islamic… ISIS.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Last na lang sir. You mentioned yesterday that there may be some security lapses. So mayroon po ba siyang papanagutin na mga opisyal ng AFP if you mentioned na maraming mga naka-deploy na—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa natin—mine kasi, I was only… I said, my reasonable conclusion is there might be security lapse because may nagbabantay eh. So kung may nagbabantay paano nakapasok? Pero sabi nga ni Secretary Delfin, eh kasi magsisimba lang iyon eh malay mo ba naman kung magbobomba pala iyon. Hindi pa nga nila alam kung ano eh, ‘di ba sinasabi nila na suicide bomber? Baka suicide bomber. So hindi pa nila…

No, they are not discounting that kasi mayroon daw silang mga nakitang pira-pirasong katawan eh. So kung pira-piraso iyon eh ‘di ibig sabihin na siya talaga ang may dala ng bomba.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Hi sir, good afternoon po, sir. The President made this statement more than two years ago…

SEC. PANELO: That?

ROSALIE/UNTV: Basahin ko po: ‘I’d like to warn you in the coming days we will be facing a serious problem aside from drugs but be prepared for something else. It’s terrorism, apat, lima, anim lang iyan but it would require so many human intelligence, iyan ang danger na nakikita namin maybe the next two, three years bantay kayo, iyan ang pinakadelikado.’

So the President knows something that we don’t know as well as the international intelligence community. Pero po iyong reason that there could be lapses in the security, it’s not enough reason kasi alam ng Pangulo iyon pong threat ng terorismo. So bakit hindi po agad—

SEC. PANELO: Haven’t I told you yesterday, the most determined killer, criminal terrorist cannot be stopped. It happened in the United States, the most powerful country in the world with all those security, napatay nila iyong Presidente. Talagang ‘pag-determined ka… sabi ko nga sa iyo napaka-smart na iyong mga kriminal eh. But kung walang martial law maniwala kayo hindi lang iyon ang nangyari diyan. In fact na-contain mo nga eh kaya kita mo isa o dalawa lang.

ROSALIE/UNTV: May we know this time po kung mayroon bang dapat malaman ang mga Pilipino na hindi sinasabi ng Pangulo na dapat malaman kasi—

SEC. PANELO: Matagal na ngang sinasa—matagal na ngang sinasabi ng Pangulo na iyang terorista, iyang mga ISIS iyan ang bagong threat, panganib, hindi lamang sa Pilipinas sa buong mundo. Kaya nga nagtutulungan ang lahat ng bansa para sirain itong grupong ito.

ROSALIE/UNTV: Sir, right after the Jolo blast the PNP heighten the security full alert status not only in ARMM but also Metro Manila, the whole Philippines. So mayroon po ba tayong reports na target din ang Metro Manila?

SEC. PANELO: Then there must be some basis kung bakit sila nag-full alert, the AFP.

ROSALIE/UNTV: So meaning to say, sir, may natatanggap nga na reports ang authorities even the Palace na next target ang Metro Manila?

SEC. PANELO: At saka isa pa, alam mo kapag may nangyari doon at saka alam mo kung halimbawa pinagdududahan mo ang ISIS eh worldwide ang ISIS, you have to secure the entire Philippines kasi kung may nangyari doon baka may mangyari din. Alangan namang maghintay ka pa, so gagawa ka ng preventive measures.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: So ano po iyong—para hindi naman po mag-worry o hindi naman po matakot iyong mga—

SEC. PANELO: Actually, mukhang ikaw lang nagwo-worry eh [laughs]… Ang mga Pilipino, ‘pag nasabi—even hindi mo sabihan, ‘pag alam nila ano na kaagad eh… defensive kaagad ang mga Pilipino eh, alam na kaagad nila na mayroong nagbabantang panganib. So…

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Can we get an assurance sir that this will not happen in Metro Manila?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo iyong sinasabi ninyong assurance, sabi ko na nga – no determined… ‘pag determined ang killer saka bomber, kahit anong bantay mo malulusutan ka. Pero hindi naman pupuwede iyong, kumbaga, kung ang plano nila sampu eh hindi pupuwedeng makalusot sampu. Sa madaling sabi, lahat ng preventive steps gagawin ng AFP para hindi maulit iyong nangyari doon.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Ito Sec. patanong lang. The President’s idol, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated Russia’s commitment to help the Philippines in its fight against terrorism given what happened to Jolo. Ano iyong reaction ng Palace dito? And ano iyong inaasahan nating assistance from Russia?

SEC. PANELO: So did US, and so did other governments – we welcome all of them. All of them have offered support in fighting terrorism – Ambassador Kim of the US, Ambassador Price of United Kingdom and many others. In other words, terrorism is a worldwide problem, hence all the countries of the world must unite and help each other in fighting it and stopping it.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, what form of assistance will we ask—

SEC. PANELO: They have not said, but they are offering nga. Siguro in terms of military equipments… usually ganoon naman eh – military equipments.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Intelligence—

SEC. PANELO: Intelligence… kung mayroon silang intelligence report na hindi natin alam, they will share.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Thank you, Sec.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, going back doon sa all-out war directive ng Pangulo. Parang grade school pa lang ako, panahon pa nina Ramos naririnig ko na ‘yan… Estrada, Arroyo… lagi nilang sinasabi iyong all-out war against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf. Pero parang naging drawing sa hangin iyong nangyari, nandiyan pa rin at nagpapakita pa rin ng puwersa iyong mga Abu Sayyaf. This time, anong mayroon sa isang Pangulong Duterte na magtatagumpay siya sa all-out war laban sa Abu Sayyaf?

SEC. PANELO: Eh ‘di tingnan mo nga iyong ginawa niya sa Marawi… that’s a classic example of how this President can crush the enemies of the state. Tinalo natin sila sa Marawi ‘di ba?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir iyong Abu Sayyaf, karamihan sa kanila ay concentrated doon sa Jolo, Sulu na kilalang Nur Misuari country. So paano maisasagawa iyong all-out war na hindi kumbaga ma-antagonize or maapektuhan iyong grupo naman ni Nur Misuari, considering na halos doon lang din sila sa iisang area nagkakaroon ng teritoryo?

SEC. PANELO: Don’t forget that Nur Misuari helped in releasing hostages from Abu Sayyaf. In other words, tumutulong si Nur Misuari sa gobyerno, that’s precisely why the President wants to talk to him – para magkaroon ng alliance, magtulungan. Kasi hindi naman kontra sila sa BOL, sabi nila better lang ang federalism. And ever since, sinasabi niya na he’s supporting the President eh, publicly.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Thank you, sir.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, sabi ninyo sir iyong resolve ng Pangulo puwedeng gawin—cite ninyo example iyong nangyari sa Marawi, ngayon naka-lockdown sa Jolo, Sulu. Puwede bang gawin ng Pangulo rin ngayon iyon, lockdown, paalisin mga residents para lang matugis nang todo-todo ang mga suspects dito sa twin bombing?

SEC. PANELO: Your question is: kung pupuwede ang?

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: The similar military strategy na ginawa sa Marawi, gagawin din sa Jolo, Sulu para lang hanapin iyong mga suspects…

SEC. PANELO: Eh, hindi ba nga may lockdown ngayon sa Jolo? Ginawa niya na nga eh…

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: To bring pa iyong mga military—tapos iyong mga residents papaalisin, ganiyan, relocate…

SEC. PANELO: Hindi… When you say lockdown, magiging istrikto – hindi ka na pupuwedeng lumabas. Kung lalabas ka man eh maraming tatanungin sa iyo; maraming security measures na dadaanan ka bago ka makalabas o makapasok.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: ID and curfew sir? Curfews will be implemented?

SEC. PANELO: Ang mahalaga, we can locate who the criminals are – para sa kanila iyon eh. And I don’t think the people there will mind… basta ang ultimate would be to catch them – para wala nang danger.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi sir, good morning. Sir, the United Kingdom has issued a travel warning advisory against the Philippines following the incident in Sulu. May we have your reaction about this, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Palagi namang ano iyon eh… that’s a natural reaction from all governments ‘pag mayroong mga panganib. Tayo ganoon din eh, but it doesn’t mean na hindi nila pinapapunta – they are just cautioning them.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Pero sir given iyong laki noong insidente sa Jolo, how do you think this may affect iyong image ng country particularly iyong industry ng tourism, economy or image per se?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman laki eh. Laki doon sa lugar na iyon; but in relation to the Philippines, maliit iyon. So kung ang mga tourist mo gustong pumunta sa Maynila, sa Cebu, sa Davao… malayo naman doon sa Jolo, pupunta pa rin ‘yang mga ‘yan. You must remember na iyong tourism percentage natin lumaki.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Ah, given na—although isolated nga siya sa Sulu, still referred siya as part of the country.

SEC. PANELO: It’s always a concern when there is a deterioration of peace and order in a particular place. But it will not stop us from doing our usual chores as a government – responding to the needs, securing the safety, etcetera…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Hi, sir. Sir, I just wanna make sure about this, because yesterday you said the President was angry and disappointed doon sa—

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, he said so hindi ba…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: But you said yesterday hindi ninyo pa kasi nakausap si Presidente about this issue of the all-out war. So, when did you talk to the President about this?

SEC. PANELO: No, that was—he said that. Eh ‘di ba live? Sinabi niya iyon…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: No, that is why we are asking because we have not been given any transcript.

SEC. PANELO: Nasa transcript, hihingin natin kay Usec. Mia.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: You have one, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa pinapadala sa akin.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So, where did you base your confirmation, sir that he declared and all that?

SEC. PANELO: Sa text at saka sa news.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: From the President himself, sir—

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, kasi he was being quoted eh. Hindi ba, he was being quoted—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, who was quoted was a police or military official not the President eh, that is why we are looking for a quote from the President.

SEC. PANELO: Oh sige, hihingin ko kay Usec. Mia iyong quote, ipadala ko sa iyo, the transcript.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Yeah, we don’t have one.

SEC. PANELO: Sige, we will—I will ask her to give me a transcript.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, your basis is the media report for now?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir other matters. Sir, House Appropriation Committee, they issued a show cause order to Secretary Diokno to appear for the investigation. Still this is the budget related, nag-show cause na sila, sir, and they are threatening contempt if he doesn’t show up?

SEC. PANELO: That is the call of Secretary Diokno. We will wait for his—since this is directed to him, we’ll wait for his response.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No, but he used 464 already and because the President didn’t want him to attend, correct?

SEC. PANELO: Meron ba siyang sinabi?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes.

SEC. PANELO: Did he use that?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes. December, sir, do you remember we had a press conference and then ang sabi ninyo, ang sabi ng Palasyo, that he was parang binastos doon.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Ang sabi ko noon, kung babastusin lang siya doon, he’d rather not appear. Pero kung hindi naman, a-appear siya siyempre.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So he is on his own now. He can decide whether to attend or not, Secretary Diokno?

SEC. PANELO: I will ask him kung anong posisyon niya on the matter. He can always raise that during the Cabinet meeting eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Correct, correct, sir. But Palace perspective, should he attend, if he is going to ask advice from the President?

SEC. PANELO: The procedure is: if the Committee invites you and they will ask you questions, and they are sent in advance. If Secretary feels na iyong mga tanong naman sa kanya in relation to his work, pupunta iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But last time and complaint niya, nagpadala ng mahabang listahan, but none of those questions were asked.

SEC. PANELO: Then he will appear there at pag tinanong siya ng wala doon, I think he will beg leave.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero, sir now, bahala na—you are saying is bahala na si Secretary Diokno—

SEC. PANELO: Sa ngayon, we will let him decide for himself.

USEC IGNACIO: May tanong si Vanz Fernandez, kung puwede daw tawagan ng attention ng Malacañang ang MTRCB kasi marami daw pong bayolenteng palabas sa TV na napapanuod ng mga bata na akala daw po nila ay tama.

SEC. PANELO: Then, we will ask the MTRCB of their response to that. Kaya nga, MTRCB nga, Iyong kay Rachel Arenas, tanungin natin muna siya. Saka wala namang sinabi exactly ano ba iyong mga palabas, di ba? Parang general eh.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, follow up lang sa question ni Joseph about show cause order. Because earlier you already issued a statement parang hoping that Congressman Andaya would refrain from attacking a Cabinet member and you also keep on mentioning about respect for independence of the legislative and the executive. So, hindi po ba cause of concern ito na a Cabinet member has… binibigyan nila ng show cause order ang Cabinet member just because he refuses to attend a congressional hearing?

SEC. PANELO: First, trabaho ng ano iyon ng Kongreso di ba. Unless there is an abuse of the exercise that is given them by the Constitution, we will not oppose.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So, you don’t see anything wrong with the issuance of a show cause order?

SEC. PANELO: That’s part of the duty of Congress as I said. Unang-una, bakit nga pala may show cause? Nag-decline na ba siya? Wala pa namang siyang decline, mukha yatang premature iyong show cause.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, because hindi siya uma-attend nung previous hearings ng House Committee on Appropriations.

SEC. PANELO: Yes, pero meron siyang excuse eh. Sumulat siya eh.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So you believe sir, iyong excuse niya is it enough para hindi na dapat siya bigyan ng show cause?

SEC. PANELO: Yes. Kung halimbawa meron siyang previous engagement, that’s a valid excuse. Kung meron siyang sakit, that’s a valid excuse.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So, if may valid excuse si Secretary Diokno, dapat hindi warranted iyong show cause?

SEC. PANELO: What I’m saying is kung iyong show cause is based on just because he hindi siya naka-attend na valid naman ang excuse eh premature iyon. But even then, Secretary Diokno has the opportunity to respond.

Kasi kapag sinabi mong show cause, you explain to us why – ‘Eh, kasi… oh kaya nga, I didn’t go there kasi di ba I told you this and that.’ So, hindi pa—ano lang iyon, kumbaga the committee is just asking him to explain.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So for you, sir, warranted iyong show cause?

SEC. PANELO: Depende. Depende, hindi ko naman alam kung bakit siya pinapa-show cause eh, why. Did they find the excuse of Secretary Diokno the first time is invalid or not justified, hindi ko alam eh. I haven’t seen the show cause order.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Sir, ang sinasabi po ni Secretary Diokno before was he was advised by Malacañang not to attend the previous hearings.

SEC. PANELO: Oo, pero meron siyang… ang alam ko meron siyang letter, formal letter—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Yes, but his official statement to media is that he was advised by Malacañang not to attend. Ano ang advice ngayon now that he is still…you know, continue to be pursued by Congress na dapat mag-attend?

SEC. PANELO: I said earlier, I will leave it to Secretary Diokno, his stand. If he feels that he need the official intervention of the President, then he will raise that in the Cabinet.

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay, thank you MPC. Thank you Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

##

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

 

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