ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Good morning, MPC; magandang umaga, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Good morning, good morning. Malacañang Press Corps, I’m ready. Joseph is always smiling.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, happy Easter.
SEC. PANELO: Happy New Year.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, so yesterday the… Ms. Honeylet had a Facebook live of the President ‘no?
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, dahil maraming makulit na nagtatanong.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Well, do you think is there such a need?
SEC. PANELO: Come again?
JOSEPH/GMA7: Why do you think is there such a need for President come out—
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, because the social media was buzzing with so many speculations. So… she felt it was necessary para matapos na kaagad iyong tsismis.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, do you think… aside from that wouldn’t it be easier if the President just provide the medical report?
SEC. PANELO: No. Bakit naman medical report—nagpahinga lang medical report na kaagad. ‘Pag serious illness lang.
JOSEPH/GMA7: As required by the Constitution iyon? Iyon lang talaga iyong (overlapping voices)—
SEC. PANELO: Kung serious illness, hindi naman eh.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Why do you think is there such a persistent rumor?
SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi iyong mga makukulit—you know, they cannot accept the fact that this President appears to be indestructible and apparently immune from any illness despite his punishing schedule kaya… they just kill him in their minds.
JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay, sir. Thank you.
ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Hi sir. Good afternoon. In relation to the question sir, may legal action bang gagawin ang Malacañang laban doon sa mga nagpapakalat ng about doon sa illness ng Pangulo, iyong pagpanaw umano niya?
SEC. PANELO: Ordinaryo na iyon eh. We are used to that anyway, so let it be.
ROSALIE/UNTV: Pero sir, di ba sa statement ninyo ang layunin ng mga ito ay kumbaga maghatid ng anxiety at saka apprehension sa sambayanang Pilipino na marinig iyong mga ganoong balita?
SEC. PANELO: But it looks like they are not affected by it – the majority of the Filipinos – that’s the intention but it does not affect them anyway. Kasi matagal na iyang kinakalat na iyan eh, wala namang naniniwala, natatawa na lang nga eh.
ROSALIE/UNTV: Parang kasi sir ganoon na palagi ang kalakaran kapag hindi nakita sa isang event ang Pangulo, mayroong speculation na may nangyaring hindi maganda sa kaniya so—
SEC. PANELO: Sinasadya nila nga iyon eh, iyong mga kritiko. Actually, galing iyan sa mga kalaban ni Presidente hindi sa ordinaryong tao.
ROSALIE/UNTV: So wala pong plano ang Malacañang na gumawa ng mga hakbang laban sa kanila?
SEC. PANELO: Hayaan mo sila.
ROSALIE/UNTV: Okay, thank you sir.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Hi sir. Sir, just to be clear: so it was a Ms. Honeylet’s idea, you mentioned that she wanted it para… she felt it was necessary, tama po ba?
SEC. PANELO: Siguro para tumigil na. Yeah, I think so.
INA/CNN PHILS.: Okay. Sir, can you tell us more about why the President was not feeling well noong Friday, reason why he skipped the event in Tacloban because I assume that’s one of the reasons why—
SEC. PANELO: He’s not superman, he is human. I was not also feeling well that day so I had to cancel my appointment also. Sometimes you feel you are not up to a particular day ‘di ba o kaya tinatamad ka o kaya dahil previous night kulang ka sa tulog, siguro ganoon ang nangyari sa kaniya.
INA/CNN PHILS.: Tinatamad po siya noon?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, sinasabi ko lang iyong example.
INA/CNN PHILS.: Ah, sabi mo sometimes eh ganoon eh.
SEC. PANELO: Alam mo ikaw Ina ang galing mong mag ano eh—
INA/CNN PHILS.: No, no magaling akong mag-follow up.
SEC. PANELO: Mag-shoot ng question predicating with an intrigue.
INA/CNN PHILS.: No, no, no you said it. Let’s review the transcript tomorrow. [laughs]
SEC. PANELO: Well, anyway, he felt siguro he was… his body was not up to performing any activity that day so he cancelled all his activities, he preferred to rest and we should commend him for that which means that he is taking care of himself. He’s not pushing his body to the limits.
INA/CNN PHILS.: Okay, you can tell us sir maybe was it a headache, fever or something more specific?
SEC. PANELO: Sabi ni Bong Go may slight fever, so sinat lang siguro. So he wanted to make sure na hindi na lalala iyon kaya nagpahinga.
INA/CNN PHILS.: Sir, lastly you mentioned galing po—paniwala ninyo galing sa mga kalaban ni Presidente. Are you referring to any group in specific?
SEC. PANELO: No, iyong mga maiingay na mga trolls, they call them trolls sa social media. Siguro wala lang magawa.
INA/CNN PHILS.: Thank you sir.
PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, DILG Secretary Año naman said that President Duterte was attending to a pressing concern in Malacañang. Do you have any idea what that pressing concern is?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam, but siguro noong sinabi niya iyon iyon ang dating schedule ni Presidente. He didn’t know na he was not feeling well, kaya iyon ang ibinigay niya na reason.
PIA/ABS-CBN: So it was already scheduled that he will skip the Tacloban event?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi niya—siguro kako si DILG Secretary didn’t know na he was not feeling well.
PIA/ABS-CBN: Because sir, Secretary Año said that he was informed that President Duterte will be skipping the event just before he went on stage and he said that the official communication from Malacañang is that he has to attend to a very, very important meeting.
SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga. That pressing concern was also cancelled kasi he was not feeling well. Iyun iyon.
PIA/ABS-CBN: Alright. Okay sir.
SEC. PANELO: Whatever that was. Wala naman… hindi naman niya sinabi sa atin.
PIA/ABS-CBN: Okay, thank you sir.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi sir, good morning.
SEC. PANELO: Good morning.
MARICEL/TV5: Sir, so where is the President now?
SEC. PANELO: Davao.
MARICEL/TV5: What is his schedule for today?
SEC. PANELO: Wala pa, hindi pa nilalabas ni Usec. Mia eh. Parang nabasa ko sa chat wala pa daw schedule.
MARICEL/TV5: So meaning wala siyang schedule?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, not necessarily; baka hindi pa binibigay sa kaniya iyong schedule.
MARICE/TV5: Pero he is in Davao for rest day… another rest day?
SEC. PANELO: No. Ang alam ko mayroon siyang schedule today pero hindi ko alam kung anong mga activities.
MARICEL/TV5: Official activities, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa binibigay ni Mia eh.
MARICEL/TV5: So when will we see the President?
SEC. PANELO: Baka mamaya after lunch, usually after lunch binibigay eh.
MARICEL/TV5: So sir, kailan po natin inaasahan na makikita uli si Presidente in public?
SEC. PANELO: Eh kung mayroon siyang event tomorrow dito eh ‘di nandito iyan.
MARICEL/TV5: So probably tomorrow sir? Okay thank you sir.
Q: Sir, hindi naman po dahil sa some kind of… or operation or (unclear) kaya po naging ganoon si President?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, ‘di ba sinasabi nila sinisinat daw eh.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER: Good morning, Secretary. You mentioned before that Malacañang was expecting a smooth sailing bicameral deliberations on the 2019 national budget, but three days before Congress goes on recess there remains to be a budget impasse regarding questionable allocation and alleged insertions. Is Malacañang concerned about this, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Tingin ko wala pa naman eh, three days pa naman hindi pa naman nag-a-adjourn eh. Tingnan natin; let’s just wait.
NESTOR/INQUIRER: Also yesterday, Representative Andaya demanded that Budget Secretary Diokno release the DBM report on the 2018 savings. I quote, ‘No DBM report on 2018 savings, no bicam report for 2019.’ Budget Secretary Diokno has been quiet for the past days including those fresh allegations hurled against him by Representative Andaya. Did he already talk to the President?
SEC. PANELO: None that I know of. Let’s wait for his… I’m sure he will make a statement, anytime soon.
NESTOR/INQUIRER: Just to make it clear sir. So you are concerned—Malacañang is not concerned that three days before Congress goes on recess, the budget has not yet been passed?
SEC. PANELO: We’re still confident that it will be passed.
NESTOR/INQUIRER: Do you have message to leaders of Congress sir?
SEC. PANELO: No. We already made a statement, ‘di ba? We are eagerly await the passage of that bill… General Appropriations Bill. They know that it will bring adverse consequences if we have a reenacted budget, they know that.
NESTOR/INQUIRER: Sir, you mentioned that Malacañang is eagerly awaiting for the passage—
SEC. PANELO: The passage, yes.
NESTOR/INQUIRER: This means that you—
SEC. PANELO: So in other words we are still hopeful that it will pass.
NESTOR/INQUIRER: Where is this coming from sir? The confidence of Malacañang that the budget—
SEC. PANELO: Because they said so. Remember they said that they will pass it; and I watched Congressman Andaya saying that they are determined to pass the General Appropriations Bill.
ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL.STAR: But Sec., will Malacañang ask Secretary Diokno to yield to the demand of Congressman Andaya to release the savings report?
SEC. PANELO: No. The President doesn’t have to ask the member of the Cabinet, it’s his call, Secretary Diokno’s call.
ALEXIS/PHIL.STAR: But do you think it is necessary for him to release the report para lang umusad na iyong budget?
SEC. PANELO: Again, that’s for Secretary Diokno’s call. I will not preempt whatever he has in mind.
ALEXIS/PHIL.STAR: So bahala na siya? Okay, thank you—
SEC. PANELO: He will respond.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Happy Birthday, Celerina.
SEC. PANELO: Uy happy birthday, kaya pala in red.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Good afternoon sir. Sir, worst case scenario lang. In the event that Congress failed to pass the proposed budget, what will happen? It will be a reenacted budget of course—
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
CELERINA/MANILA SHIMBUN: But what will happen to those projects that are supposed to start?
SEC. PANELO: Then it will be delayed. So hopefully when Congress resumes meeting again, they will have to pass.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So after the election, you are still hopeful that Congress—even if it’s like less than six months left, you are still hoping that the budget would be passed?
SEC. PANELO: Hope spring eternal, we’ll hope for the best.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But how about the passage of a supplemental budget if ever, for the 20—I don’t know if it’s supplemental budget or what…
SEC. PANELO: Not supplemental, because if they will meet again and they decide to pass the GAA then it will not be supplemental.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Wala bang… like brasuhan na gagawin nag Malacañang with Congress?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, di otherwise, di noon pa nang braso. Hindi iyan ang style ni Presidente eh. He never interferes.
GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Hello, sir. The President has transferred his power to approve reclamation projects to PRA governing board from NEDA. May we know why? Is he dismayed by NEDA’s work, is it too slow that he want to—
SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily. First, that’s the discretion of the President. He has control over Executive Departments and offices. Perhaps the reason is to streamline the services of agencies. Baka mas effective.
GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, connected ba ito sa reclamation projects in Manila Bay? Gusto ba ni Presidenteng mapabilis iyon, ma-approve agad?
SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily. Si Presidente naman, basta gusto niya palaging compliant with the law, ayaw niya ng brasuhan, ayaw niya ng palakasan, palaging kung ano iyong batas, sundin na lang natin.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Hi Spox. Follow-up lang po doon sa reclamation po. Isn’t it that the NEDA Board po is chaired by the President po. So, how is it different that now the power is transferred po sa PRA po under the Office of the President, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Chairman siya, pero usually naman it’s the NEDA Board, na hindi masyado siyang nakikialam. But this time, siya mismo, hands-on kumbaga, hands-on on that particular issue.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, the President always placed PRA under his direct supervision, under OP. Why does he need to place it under his direct supervisions, sir, now PRA?
SEC. PANELO: Dati ba iyon?
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Hindi nasa EO din ngayon, sir, saying that he is now placing it under OP.
SEC. PANELO: Siguro, he feels na mas maganda kapag under the Office of the President. Kasi pag under Office of the President mabilis ang takbo ng lahat ng ahensiya ng gobyerno eh.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, just to clarify. Covered po ba talaga iyong possible reclamation projects in Manila Bay? Because Section 9 of the EO says that the order shall apply to projects for which there are no contracts or agreements yet executed between the government and the private sector. I believe some of the projects in Manila Bay, meron na pong mga MOU. Kapag ganoong po ba– so, covered po ba?
SEC. PANELO: Pag MOU pa lang, di wala pang kontrata. ‘Di, Memorandum of Understanding pa lang eh.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Nakasulat kasi dito, sir, ‘No contracts/agreements.’
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, when you say agreement, ano na iyan, may pirmahan na iyan.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: MOA.
SEC. PANELO: Pero kung Memorandum of Understanding lang, wala pa iyon. Iba iyong Memorandum of Agreement, kontrata iyon eh.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I think over the weekend, si Secretary Locsin – regarding China. Na he said that he will—aah, we will, the Philippines will, although he said also that he prefers to engage Beijing in the—
SEC. PANELO: And he wants a validated fact. He wants it validated muna. And he said also that we have made 19 to 20 diplomatic protests silently, ng hindi nalalaman ng mga gustong maka-alam. Kasi nga it goes in the way of diplomacy, sabi niya.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: When did he tell you that there were have been—
SEC. PANELO: No, I read it in the brie—this week.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero it does not go, ano iyon… contradict your earlier statement that we should be thankful?
SEC. PANELO: No. Because when I said thankful on the assumption of the conditions I mentioned: One, that there was permission coming from us; Number two, ininform tayo. That is why I was saying we have to wait for Secretary Locsin because I don’t know, baka meron, si Ambassador Xiao.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyong permission, last week we asked you about it ‘no, if China did ask for the Philippines permission—
SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga natin—that’s why nga may—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Up until now?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam, dahil wala namang sinasabi pa si Secretary Locsin. In fact, he was saying that it has to be validated.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, why is it the Philippine government—it is as if that the government is not aware of what’s going really in the West Philippine Sea, lagi nating sinasabi na we have to validate things that are going on there. We are not monitoring the area, our EEZ?
SEC. PANELO: We are monitoring the area with respect to any violation – is that your question? That’s the job of the National Security Council and the AFP.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: And they don’t report anything to you, to the Palace about whatever is going on there, like the Chinese activities—
SEC. PANELO: With respect to that, there has been no official report. When I mentioned—or that issue cropped up, I don’t know if there is now.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: MPC no more question? How about sa SALN, wala, hindi kailangan?
SEC. PANELO: May statement na ako doon. Soundbyte? Regarding the resolution passed by the Congress or the House with respect to need for the approval of the plenary?
Our feeling is that, any additional burden to get the SALN maybe a transgression of the Constitution, because a Constitution provides that SALN should be given to the public and also there is the constitutional provision on accountability of public officials. So that is why we are saying that we hope the House deliberates more on this, because it may be running the risk of being questioned later on. As far as the Executive department is concerned, we issued the executive order on the freedom of information precisely because we want the SALN to be readily available to the public.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But how do you, maybe not stop Congress from promulgating such moves?
SEC. PANELO: No, we will not stop, we will never interfere with what it wants. We are just making our thinking on the matter.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, even do promulgate that.
SEC. PANELO: Well, it’s—the taxpayer can do something about it, they can question it if it’s in violation of the Constitution.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Iyon pong motorcade—
SEC. PANELO: Motorcade where?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Such a group of motorcycle riders, they want the President to veto iyong… I think there is a bill na gawing doble iyong plaka ng mga motorsiklo. They said if it’s to deter crime, this is not going to deter crime. So—
SEC. PANELO: What do you mean doblehin ang plaka?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I think, meron din dapat sa unahan yata. Dalawa ang plaka na from likod and then sa harapan, ostensibly to prevent crime. But they said it’s not going to prevent crimes naman daw. I mean, medyo local iyong isyu pero do you think that’s necessary – the double plates?
SEC. PANELO: For purposes of preventing crimes?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yeah.
SEC. PANELO: Baka—I think so. Kasi malalaman mo kaagad kung nakaharap, eh kung naka-alis na. Malalaman mo lang kapag naka talikod, pero iyong doon sa harap hindi mo alam.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, there’s a slim chance that the President will veto, if there such a bill that will be formed—
SEC. PANELO: I will ask the President. I don’t know his thinking on that matter.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Hi sir, this is about the upcoming vote ulit sa BOL. What is the President’s stand on the inclusion of the—I’m not sure, sir, baka kung nakausap mo na si Presidente tungkol dito. Six towns in Lanao Del Norte—because campaigns pushing for the inclusion or iyong non-exclusion, the groups pushing for the two separate calls are using the President’s name in their campaign. Ano po ba ang gusto ni Pangulo?
SEC. PANELO: With respect to the inclusion?
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Of the six towns in Lanao Del Norte. Kasi may mga nagpu-push for inclusion, meron siyempreng hindi, both of them, sir are using, I think the President’s name in their campaign—
SEC. PANELO: Well, the position of the President ever since was whatever the majority of the voters in that area want, then he will abide by it.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Let them decide.
SEC. PANELO: Yes, of course.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, from your understanding lang, what could be the motivation behind this House resolution on SALN?
SEC. PANELO: I really don’t know. I was listening to Congressman Castro this morning. Parang sinasabi niya mas madali daw humingi, kasi kapag a member of Congress refuses to provide his SALN at nakikita naman nila na valid, madali kaagad na ibibigay nila, kasi they will vote immediately, iyan ang paliwanag niya, pero…
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: It doesn’t look like that, sir. It states that any request to gain access to lawmakers SALN will have to get final approval from the Plenary. So why is it?
SEC. PANELO: Sa akin ang tingin ko additional burden iyon, kasi you have to pass through pa all the members of Congress.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So, what’s the motivation behind this?
SEC. PANELO: Then we should ask them. Not me.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Do you think they are hiding something from the public?
SEC. PANELO: You should ask them. Members of Congress are honorable people, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. If have you any doubt on that, then I will suggest you address your question to them.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Thank you, Arjay. Thank you MPC.
SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)