Press Briefing

Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador S. Panelo

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Building (NEB) in Malacañang

USEC. IGNACIO:  Good morning MPC, happy Monday. Let’s now have Presidential Chief Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvado Panelo. Good morning, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Hello, good morning. I’m ready.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, madaming sinign-nan si PRRD na mga laws, but I’d like to focus on the tax amnesty and in particular the veto message. He is requesting that  Congress pass a general tax amnesty that will include lifting of the bank secrecy provision for fraud, elaboration, please?

SEC. PANELO:  Parang hindi ko yata nabasa iyon. Ang nabasa ko vineto niya iyong general tax amnesty, hindi ko nabasa iyong portion na iyon, wala iyon sa briefer ko.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Iko-quote ko po, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Meron ba iyon?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir your staff agrees, so it’s two versus one.

SEC. PANELO:   I’ll respond to that. Sinama niya iyon, kasi nga, because of the confidentiality hindi mo malalaman kung totoo o hindi. Pero kung ili-lift mo nga naman iyon, hindi ka na makapagsinungaling, kasi madaling tingnan iyong deposits mo sa bangko. Iyon ang reason kung bakit.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  And the term ‘fraud’ includes what, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, di lahat ng klaseng pandaraya, lahat ng klaseng pagtatago.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So, for example, sir. In recent memory ‘no, halimbawa sa SALN – there’s an allegation perhaps of a false declaration or dishonest declaration, puwedeng ipasok iyan doon sa fraud?

SEC. PANELO:  Siyempre, dishonesty is fraud. It’s another term for dishonesty – fraud.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So, puwede, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Yeah.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So, kung halimbawa sir, we come across mga ganoon naman mga cases na sasabihin does not reflect—the SALN of a particular government official does not reflect the actual and real net worth, puwedeng when this is passed… when such is passed, puwedeng pumasok doon?

SEC. PANELO:  Puwedeng pumasok sa tax amnesty? Eh kung fraud eh di pupuwede.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Puwedeng i-lift iyong bank secrecy?

SEC. PANELO:  Puwede iyon, depende kung ano iyong batas na ipapasa nila, kung ipapasok nila iyon; kung i-e-exclude nila di hindi kasama. So, palaging sa Congress pa rin iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  But of course the policy direction is that the government wants honest right?

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Would Congress follow?

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, we have members of the Congress as honorable and responsive to the needs.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  You think? [Laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  Bakit naman—mukhang wala ka nang tiwala sa mga miyembro of—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I’m asking for proof. [Laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  [Laughs] You are asking for proof. Members of Congress, media especially Joseph Morong is suspicious, is unpersuaded…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, pasok iyong SALN di ba sa fraud?

SEC. PANELO:  Puwedeng pumasok iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Violation of the 6713 iyon, right?

SEC. PANELO:  Yeah, puwedeng pumasok iyon, but depende sa Congress kung ano ang ilalagay nila roon.

INA ANDOLON/CNN PHILS:  Sir, how much of a priority will this be, having the President push for the lifting of the bank secrecy provision. Is he going to make a public appeal to his allies in Congress to prioritize this?

SEC. PANELO:  I think he has already made his position on the matter, so it’s for Congress to respond.

INA ANDOLON/CNN PHILS:  Sir, how confident are you that lawmakers will respond positively considering for example kung pasok nga iyong SALN. Just recently, di ba ang gusto nga nila, sir, ang SALN ire-release lang upon approval of all members… of plenary rather?

SEC. PANELO:  We are confident that members of Congress will fulfill their duty to the Filipino people as mandated by the Constitution, which is they should be honest in all dealings and they should pursue a policy of accountability and transparency in the realm of governance.

HENRY URI/DZRH:  Mayroong artikulo dito sa Pinoy Ako blog na ang nakalagay po rito ay “Dear President Duterte, balita ko hindi mo daw kilala si Wilfredo Keng.” And then the Pinoy Ako blog, citing an example, ito daw si Wilfredo Keng as the chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer at Century Peak Metals Holdings Corporation, isa daw po ito sa 12 minahan na pinahintulutan ng DENR na mag-maintain ng mining operations kasama ng 11 iba pa. And then, ito raw pong kompanya ni Mr. Keng ay mayroong projects sa Cebu at saka po sa Bohol. In particular iyong sa Cebu is 10.9 billion cement manufacturing plant na ang sinasabi po rito ay nakakuha raw po ng 100% of the country cement needs for 100 years contract, ito iyong sinasabi dito, Secretary. Kaya ang tanong dito: Totoo ba na hindi kilala ng Pangulo si Mr. Keng sa ganitong kalalaking mga investment at negosyo dito sa bansa?

SEC. PANELO:  Even assuming that those facts you stated are correct, it doesn’t follow that the President will know this particular person. You must remember that the policy of the President is he does not interfere with the Department heads relative to their governance of their departments. So, ang nakakakilala sa kanila – kung kilala man sila – ay iyong mga department heads. Si Presidente ang interest lang palagi, pag may reklamo ng korapsyon in connection with any dealings with every department, doon siya nakikialam. So, hindi talaga kilala.

HENRY URI/DZRH:  Ang binabanggit po dito nitong Ako Pinoy blog ay hindi po ba ine-report sa inyo ng Board of Investments sa Cebu ang tungkol kay Mr. Keng? I mean, hindi po ba ine-report sa inyo, ibig sabihin sa Presidente?

SEC. PANELO:  Tungkol ba saan, sa investment niya?

HENRY URI/DZRH:  Yes, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Gaya na nga ng sinabi ko. Iyong mga departamento, they are the ones in-charge. So kung okay ang kanilang mga transaksiones at wala namang bahid ng korapsyon, hindi nakikialam si Presidente. It’s the only—the only time that he would interfere in any  governance among departments is when there is a complaints reaching his office that there  is an anomaly or any corruption involved in that particular transaction.

HENRY URI/DZRH:  So, para po sa Palasyo, ano po si Mr. Keng?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi nga kilala. Sinabi na nga ni Presidente, hindi kilala. Kung investor man siya, di he is just an investor.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, there is also an allegation that, you know, after Mr. Keng filed a libel case against Rappler, that he was able to… in terms of sequence of events, he was able to corner a PPP project I think in Cavite. So do you think it has something to do with the way… what he did and then what he gained?

SEC. PANELO:  Sinabi nga ni Presidente, I don’t even know the facts of this case, I don’t even know who he is. I don’t know about the case. Kaya walang kinalaman, walang kaalam-alam si Presidente.

Saka nga pala, alam mo palaging sinasabi iyong—kanina, in-interview ako ni Christian Esguerra sa ABS-CBN. Ang nakakalimutan kasi ng mga invoking freedom of expression and of the press, na iyong ordinaryong mamamayan, may karapatan din na magdemanda kahit na kanino – ke peryodista siya, ke kolumnista – kung nilabag ang kanyang karapatan. Meron din silang karapatan. Hindi naman—hindi ba sinasabi na nga natin, maraming beses na sinabi ng Mataas na Hukuman na iyong kalayaan ng pagpapahayag ay hindi absolute, kapag nilabag mo naman ang karapatan ng isang tao, eh mananagot ka rin sa batas.

Ang naging problema yata kay Maria eh she wants a special treatment, eh hindi naman pupuwede iyon, lahat tayo ay pantay-pantay. Saka iyong kawalan ng karanasan ng mga abogado niya, sinisisi niya sa gobyerno. Papaano naman iyan, fair should be fair.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, this is about the BIR sa request for assistance sa PAGCOR. Gusto po ng BIR na mag-register na sa kanila talaga ang lahat ng mga POGO.

SEC. PANELO: Which POGO?

INA/CNN PHILS.: Iyong online gaming. They want also to find out daw po kasi how many Chinese workers talaga are working in that industry. Does this mean—is the President aware of this? Is there a concern that there may be many Chinese workers na hindi natin alam, unrecorded, undocumented dito working in POGO?

SEC. PANELO: That’s a good measure to determine exactly how many Chinese nationals who are here in violation of our laws. Sa palagay ko maganda iyong sinasabi ng BIR Commissioner.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Because the statement of the BIR specifically mentions Chinese workers. I’m wondering bakit sir? Are we starting to be alarmed perhaps with the number of illegal Chinese workers talaga considering iyong recent concerns din doon sa build, build, build?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro hindi naman alarmed, kung hindi siguro gusto talagang ma-determine ng BIR iyong number of nationals kasi konektado iyan sa declaration ng income eh, para makakolekta tayo ng tamang corporate tax.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Last sir. Sir, doon sa… So na-veto na po iyong general amnesty, also the Coco levy, then I recall a senator saying that the PLLO maybe inefficient in carrying out its task. As far as Malacañang is concerned, is the President still happy with the PLLO in bridging the gap between Malacañang and Congress para maiwasan iyong mga pag-veto?

SEC. PANELO: Alam po ninyo iyong PLLO, ang gagawin lang naman nila, sasabihin nila ‘oh eto iyong measure na gusto ni Presidente.’ But you cannot also deprive Congress of independently assessing or evaluating the wisdom, the need of a particular legislation. Kung sa pananaw nila hindi nila type iyong the entire measure, eh ‘di babaguhin nila iyon. Karapatan nila iyon eh, that’s part of democratic process.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Ang nabanggit po kasi dati yata in the case of Coco Levy Bill, hindi daw naiparating sa kanila that the President had some concerns about the measure which perhaps could have been addressed had the PLLO communicated this better.

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, the concerns in the Coconut Levy is publically known, matagal na nating naririnig ang reklamo diyan. You don’t even need a government agency to tell members of Congress kung ano ang suliranin sa Coconut Levy, alam nila iyan eh. Pero sabi ko nga, iba-iba kasi ang pananaw. Ang feeling nila okay na itong ginawa nilang safeguard; ang feeling ni Presidente baka kulang pa iyan, dagdagan pa natin. So ganoon lang iyon.

INA/CNN PHILS.: So it’s not the fault of the PLLO?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t think so.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Okay, thank you.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Hi sir. Si Congressman Rolando Andaya Jr., is claiming that the government apparently owes several private contractors around 100 billion daw in 2018 because of corruption in DBM?

SEC. PANELO: He is what?

PIA/ABS-CBN: Because of corruption daw po.

SEC. PANELO: He is daw ano? He is complaining that?

PIA/ABS-CBN: He is claiming.

SEC. PANELO: Claiming that?

PIA/ABS-CBN: Yes, that the government apparently owes several private contractors 100 billion daw po in 2018—

SEC. PANELO: It’s the government owing them?

PIA/ABS-CBN: Yes. Apparently because of corruption daw po, the corrupt practices in the DBM. Can we get your reaction on this, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Malabo yata iyon. Why should the government owe the contractors because of corruption?

PIA/ABS-CBN: Owe, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga exactly. Bakit magkakautang ang gobyerno dito sa mga contractors dahil sa korapsiyon? Parang walang koneksiyon eh. Magkakaroon ng korapsiyon iyong mga contractors kung may nilalagyan sila para makuha sila. Pero iyong ang gobyerno ang may utang sa kanila, hindi ko malaman kung papaano, walang koneksiyon sa korapsiyon. Kung hindi sila nababayaran, siguro incomplete iyong ginawa nila, eh iyon ang magiging ano doon. Kasi the government will not pay you unless completed ang project mo at you prove na talagang kumpleto. Kasi may mga contractor na iniiwan na lang ang mga proyekto nila. O kaya, hanggang hindi mo inaayos iyong proyekto mo, eh talagang hindi ka babayaran.

PIA/ABS-CBN: So—won’t the Palace want to look into this sir? Don’t you think na ganitong mga statements or allegations would scare of potential investors or contractors into participating into the build, build, build program?

SEC. PANELO: Congressman Andaya cannot be lawyering to these contractors. If the contractors have something to complain, they should themselves file the complaint and address their concerns to the respective department or to Department of Public Works. Eh kung hindi, hindi nga yata nagrereklamo iyong mga contractor… Bakit naman… how can you be more popish than the Pope?

PIA/ABS-CBN: Sir, on another topic. Si Senator Trillanes, his recent statement on President Duterte’s unannounced trip to Hong Kong. Sabi niya, ‘Nagpagamot ka or naglabas ka ng pera or both but definitely hindi ka pumunta doon para magpahinga or mag-shopping lang.

SEC. PANELO: Baka naman he refers to himself everytime he goes out of the country, iyon. Nagpunta siya doon kasi iyon ang pakiusap noong kaniyang anak na maging parang blowout sa kaniya and it was a birthday of Ms. Honeylet Avancena. It was a rest and recreation and a celebration. Ito lang nga ang Presidenteng bihirang-bihira magpahinga eh.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Sir, kasi this is President Duterte’s second trip to Hong Kong in a few months. So may mga haka-haka na baka pumunta raw doon para magpa-checkup ulit?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo—alam mo po ninyo, sabi ko nga, pag ang isang Presidente ay pumunta sa Hong Kong o for that matter, kahit saang lugar hindi mo maitatago iyon sa mata ng lahat including… lalo na mga Pilipino. Malalaman mo iyon, papasok ka lang sa ospital eh ang daming Pilipino eh ‘di sana nakarating na sa atin. Eh iyong mga kabalbalan ni Mr. Trillanes eh… hindi na, pinapabayaan na lang namin. Sanay na kami sa mga kasinungalingan niya. We are used to his falsities.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Sir, chika lang bakit Hong Kong ang gusto ni Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang gusto ni Kitty, at saka malapit para mabilis kang makabalik.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Thank you po.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Somebody else is doing the rice tarrification. But from the Palace side, what’s your assurance ‘no? Ano po iyong sasabihin ninyo sa mga farmers na hindi ito makakasama sa kanila? Because there’s going to be… maybe a flood of cheaper rice that can probably be detrimental to our farmers. What’s your message to them, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Gaya na nga ng ipinaliwanag ni Presidente sa kanila, may mga safeguards iyon na mapoproteksiyunan din sila. Pinaliwanag na sa kanila ni Presidente iyon, that—sige hindi iba iyong—

JOSEPH/GMA7: Was this during the meeting of the rice—

SEC. PANELO: Correct.

JOSEPH/GMA7: You’re saying sir, again sorry.

SEC. PANELO: May na… naalala ko lang, mayroong dinagdag si Mr. Trillanes eh, iyong sa survey. Sabi niya, iyon daw survey ng SWS – dahil 7 out of 10 Filipinos are saying that wala ng mga drug addicts doon sa mga lugar nila. Eh sabi naman noong Trillanes, eh totoo nga kasi thousands ang pinatay kaya nawala na iyong mga addicts. And then so we issue the statement na we welcome that survey because it validates the success of this administrations war against drugs. Eh ang banat ng Trillanes eh, ‘Mr. Panelo, what are you celebrating, the rootlessness of your boss?’

Mr. Trillanes, unang-una, hindi ko boss si Presidente. Kami ni Presidente and for that matter, kasama ka doon eh tayo ay mga workers lamang ng pamahalaan. Ang pinagsisilbihan natin, ang ating mga kababayan. Wala tayong mga boss, ang boss natin ang taong bayan kung gagamitin mo iyon ‘boss.’

So palagay ko dapat pag-aaralan mong maigi iyong mga salita mo para hindi ka nadudulas. Pati tuloy itong baso nagre-react sa iyo, nahuhulog.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, going back. Going back sir doon sa rice. You said there are going to be safeguards ‘no. What are these safeguards, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I haven’t seen the law but iyan ang sinabi ni Presidente. I’m just repeating to you what he said.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Can I point to the rice fund? 10 billion rice fund.

SEC. PANELO: That’s one.

JOSEPH/GMA7: This is it?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, can you imagine 10 billion para sa kanila.

JOSEPH/GMA7: How can they utilize that, sir?

SEC. PANELO: In many ways, like for instance kung kailangan nila ng mga pananim; kung kailangan nila ng mga gamit; kung kailangan nila sa irrigation; marami. Basta iyon ay para sa kanilang benefits.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay, sir. Thank you.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Secretary, do you agree with the NBI’s theory of continuous publication?

SEC. PANELO: Ang teorya ng DOJ, hindi NBI.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: The DOJ, yeah.

SEC. PANELO: Ang sinasabi ng DOJ, iyong article noong 2012 ni-republish mo noong 2014, oh di pasok na sa cyber law. Kahit walang continuing na sinasabi eh, kasi pinablish [published] mo noong 2012, ni-republish mo noong 2014, oh di parang mayroon kang bagong article na pinablish.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Pero—kasi ‘di ba parang ang lumalabas ngayon, even before iyong enactment ng law, maku-cover iyong articles na na-publish before that. Tama po ba?

SEC. PANELO: Dapat one year, ang problema nga pumasok doon sa ano eh … nire-publish mo eh, oh di parang may original article ka.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Kahit punctuation lang iyong papalitan?

SEC. PANELO: Anong punctuation?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Kasi punctuation lang daw iyong … minor edit lang daw iyong napalitan doon sa—

SEC. PANELO: Eh di with more reason kung minor lang pala, kasi in effect, nire-publish mo the entire eh wala ka naman palang binago kung hindi iyon.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Well, some are saying it can be a bad precedent kasi maaaring it can lead to, you know, babalikan iyong—

SEC. PANELO: You know, whatever it is, whether the opinion of the DOJ or the opinion on the respondent is correct or not, I think we have to leave it to the courts to decide whether or not sino ang tama sa kanila. Kaya nga tayo mayroong hukuman, kaya nga dinemanda para malaman natin kung tama iyong kanilang teorya na hindi dapat pumasok sa cyber crime.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Hi, sir, on rice tariffication bill again. It was certified as urgent by the President, but why was it signed late or the eleventh hour? What happened really, sir, before that?

SEC. PANELO: Eh maraming trabaho ang Presidente.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Okay.

SEC. PANELO: Sa tambak ng trabaho niya, tambak siguro iyong kaniyang lamesa. Pero the fact is na-sign, iyon naman ang mahalaga doon eh. It was signed within the prescribed number of days.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: All right, sir. Sir, update lang sa position ni Presidente sa moratorium on new casino licenses. Has the PAGCOR Chief met with him last month?

SEC. PANELO: None that I know of. Ang alam ko, mayroon siyang … gusto siyang makipagkita. Pero hindi ko pa …I’ve not heard na nagkita sila. Wala pang info.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Pero, sir, the President hasn’t changed his mind yet on relaxing the moratorium?

SEC. PANELO: Until such time as he makes a formal statement on the matter, I think kung ano iyong dati niyang opinyon, subsist.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, sa rice tariffication po. What does the government intend to do to help farmers who may lose money with the drop in farm gate prices po? Because they’re saying po that right now, I think farm groups are saying po that because of the anticipated passage of the rice tariffication law, buying price of traders for palay suddenly declined in January po. Eh wala pa po iyong RCEP, sir, so what is the government planning to do po to help them po in the meantime na wala pa iyong RCEP, sir?

SEC. PANELO: As pointed out by Joseph, there is a ten billion fund, ten billion fund under the law. So magagamit iyong ten billion na iyon. At saka alam mo, actually sa tingin ko lang ha, iyong reklamo ng mga farmers mukhang hindi naman iyong mga farmers mismo eh. Mukhang iyong mga middlemen ang mga nagrereklamo eh, parang sila talaga ang kumikita eh, iyong mga farmers hindi eh.

Like for instance, iyong Coconut Planters, hindi naman mga farmers yata iyon. Parang iyon ang mga … the middlemen—any way sa tingin ko makakatulong eventually sa mga farmers iyon. Lalo na iyong ten billion funds, malaking bagay iyon eh.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: But, sir, for the meantime, because I think the fund will be effective pa after 90 days, 90 days after the—

SEC. PANELO: Oh, after 90 days eh di tatlong buwan lang iyon.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: But it’s still three months, sir. Isn’t that the Palace should be concerned about?

SEC. PANELO: Okay na iyon. Nakatiis na nga tayo ng ilang buwan na ganyan ‘di ba. Hindi lang ilang buwan, how many years nang ganiyan nga iyon. Ngayon nga lang tayo nagkaroon ng Presidenteng ganito eh, nabibigyan-solusyon iyong mga hindi inintindi, pinabayaan ng mga nakaraan.

Kagaya ng war on drugs, ito ba magkakaganito kalaki kung ito’y nabigyan ng pansin ng lahat ng mga administrasyon noong nakaraan? Hindi. Mabuti nagkaroon tayo ng Presidenteng ganito – masigasig, masinop, malikhain.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sorry ha, last na po. How does Malacañang respond to farm groups eyeing to seek a TRO from the court because they are questioning the legality of some of the provisions of the rice tariffication law po?

SEC. PANELO: It’s their right.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: So is Malacañang confident that the rice tariffication law will stand the constitutionality test po should it be questioned by farmers po before the court po?

SEC. PANELO: Regardless of the confidence or not of the Palace, the Palace welcomes any move from any sector questioning any act of the government. That is democratic process in work.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, why did you say they are just middlemen and not farmers?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kasi ‘di ba ang mga farmers, hindi naman sila ang diretsong… pagdating ng produce, hindi naman sila ang nagbebenta sa market eh. Mayroong kumukuha ng mga produce nila. Murang-mura ang benta nila, pagdating sa middlemen sila ang nagsu-supply sa market kaya lumalaki.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So that’s your basis, sir, for saying that those who are complaining are middlemen?

SEC. PANELO: Sa aking pananaw, my personal view on the matter. Kasi iyon ang mga nirereklamo ng farmers: ‘Kami naman, kami ang nahihirapan dito kasi hindi naman kami ang diretsong nagbebenta ng mga produce namin eh. We are dependent on the middlemen.’

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So supposedly that these are not farmers, then their concerns are not valid?

SEC. PANELO: With respect to the farmers, with respect to the farmers. It’s valid for them. And I can understand, that’s why sabi nga ni President, “Doon tayo. I can understand from where you’re coming from but it’s for the greater good, to the greatest people.” Iyon ang sinasabi ni Presidente eh.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: You’ve never heard any farmers complaining or expressing their concerns, real farmers?

SEC. PANELO: Wala akong narinig.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Wala.

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know. Mayroon ka bang narinig?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: No one approached you or you never heard from anywhere?

SEC. PANELO: Wala. Ang complaint nga nila, ‘Kami, mura kami magbenta.’ Ang complain nila kulang kami sa pananim, ang complain nila kulang kami sa irrigation. O kaya iyong ten billion fund, iyon ang malaking tulong sa kanila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, soundbyte lang. Iyong sa general tax—general amnesty. He doesn’t want that ‘no, iyong may mga utang before tapos nalimutan na iyong utang nila. He doesn’t want a, parang, a sweep of all those utang ‘no. He wants them to pay, correct?

SEC. PANELO: Yes. Yes, ayaw niya ng general tax amnesty.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Bakit po?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi nga, that will encourage them not to pay taxes in the future kasi anyway mayroon namang general tax amnesty pagdating ng panahon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the effect of this to the government if they don’t pay the taxes?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, ‘di ba, where do we rely on the finances and the resources, kung hindi sa mga taxpayers.

AZER PARROCHA/PNA: Sir, a statement from the Presidential Task Force on Media Security says that they are facilitating discussions among media partners for a consolidated position on the decriminalization of libel. Sir, what is your position on this? Do you think libel should remain a crime? Sir, without preempting the position of the Task Force.

SEC. PANELO: May pro and con eh. Mayroong nagsasabi na dapat tanggalin iyan; mayroon din nagsasabing hindi. Personally, kung ako lang ha, personal not the Palace’s view, sa akin puwede na iyong civil suit. Pero parang mas marami … pati sa mga peryodista, parang sinasabi, “Hindi, mabuti iyan para hindi mag-abuso iyong mga kasama natin.” Like si Manicad, ‘di ba he’s running for the Senate. He mentioned during the … sinasabi niya, “Dapat huwag nating i-decriminalize kasi mag-aabuso ang mga nasa media.”

Pero alam ninyo, let me tell you this, iyong libel, unang-una it’s an ordinary crime. Maliit din ang penalty. Pangalawa, mahirap prubahan iyon kasi you have to prove malice. Mahirap mag-prove ng malice. Mahirap magdemanda nga ng libel dahil baka wala kaagad probable cause, lalong mahirap magpruba. Kaya tell me, sino na ba ang alam ninyo na na-convict ng libel na peryodista? Ang naaalala ko lang si the late Beltran, wala nang iba. In fact, kaya nga iyong mga media, hindi ba they are saying – iyong mga naririnig ko noon – it’s a badge of honor when you sue me for libel, ibig sabihin okay ang aking mga artikulo, nayayanig ka.

USEC. IGNACIO: Question, MPC? Joseph? Okay, wala na. Thank you, MPC. Thank you, Presidential Chief Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

###

SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

Resource