Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO:  Magandang umaga, Malacañang Press Corps; let’s now have Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO:  Good morning.

First, I would like to announce the arrest… all ears kaagad sila [laughs]. No. Remember the Facebook account swindling, that this particular individual or other individuals who are using my name, and I think more than a half million have been deposited… more than na, kasi maraming biktima eh. I just received a text message from the NBI agents AGT. Jefferson Moral and Paul Fred P. Tumbali – they have arrested Jose A. Villafuerte also known as Eduardo C. Llanera or Eduardo C. Llanera also known as Jose A. Villafuerte in Cebu.

Actually two days earlier, they came to me and reported… kasi ‘di ba nag-file ako ng kaso. And I was asking them, “How are you going to arrest him?” Iyon pala nakikipag-chat sila, because this guy was pretending to be me, ‘di ba. The NBI agent was also pretending to be me talking to him. So—o ‘di nahuli kasi nag-entrapment eh; nag-deposit, o ‘di huli siya. So he was arrested, and I’d like to commend the NBI agents especially of course the Director, Atty. Dante Guiran for a job well done.

And this should forewarn other swindlers the long arm of the law will catch up with you. And also advise friends of mine and friends of other FB account holders to be very careful in dealing with people pretending to be you. Marami na palang na-swindle itong taong ito, anyway huli na siya. He will be—I think, I understand he will be inquested at the DOJ.

And also we wish to inform the public that the Chinese Ambassador – by the way – Zhao had a courtesy call yesterday, it was a long courtesy call, I think it took us one hour and a half; and he—first, he extended his greeting and commendation to the police officer that was a subject of ‘taho’ throwing. He said he saw the video, and Ambassador Zhao said he was impressed by the professionalism and restraint exhibited by the police officer.

And he said that Chinese government does not tolerate this kind of behavior. In fact he said that in the Philippines, we should prosecute nationals of other countries including Chinese who violate our laws; in the same way that in the China area or Chinese government will also prosecute foreign nationals that violate their laws.

And then second, he extended invitation to the President giving the greeting from the President of China to attend the – what do you call that? – Belt and Road Forum in late April of this year. And then he suggested to the President if he could already implement the Memorandum of Agreement that we had with respect to our shared interest. You remember that we included the communication, infrastructure and other interest mutually interesting to both countries and beneficial – that was the courtesy call.

Another courtesy call was made by the US-Philippine Society headed by Ambassador Kim, US Ambassador Kim as well as the President… Filipino counterpart Manny Pangilinan. And the President was – what’s his name now? – maraming kasing Amerikano, Hank or Henry—anyway, the conversation centered on the President’s narrative telling them how the drug war affected him and this country; and that he had to declare war on drugs. And he had to do it because he wants to protect and preserve this nation.

According to him, there are three million Filipinos that have been enslaved by this drug industry and it has created dysfunctional families; and many crimes have been attributed to the taking of illegal drugs. And the President also told them that he will not stop until the end of his term to end this illegal traffic of prohibited drugs. In response, the US Ambassador said that the US government supports the fight against drugs.

And the members of the US-Philippine Society extended their gratitude to the President for giving them time. In fact, I think it took us also one hour and a half. We ended at 10:30 in the evening. And they relayed it to him that they went to Balangiga last week and they are so appreciative of the very warm reception given to them by the Filipinos there. And Ambassador Kim said… in a way he was personally affected by the Balangiga issue because he was present when the President mentioned it, request and/or demanded the return of the Balangiga Bells during the SONA last year.

And he thanked him for that opportunity and the US-Philippine Society contributed much to the return of the Balangiga Bells. And the President said the relationship between the US and the Philippines remains strong.

I’m ready for your questions…

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, could you confirm if the President has signed into law the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill?

SEC. PANELO:  There is no official word from the President yet. I have not received…

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Alright, thank you sir.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Hi, sir. Did the President say ‘yes’ to the invitation of the Chinese Ambassador?

SEC. PANELO:  He looks forward to attending the event.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  So, yes… it’s possible?

SEC. PANELO:  I think so, yes.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  So sir, on the US-Philippine Society meeting with the President. Why did the conversation with them focused on the drug war?

SEC. PANELO:  I don’t know, that’s how he started the… telling the group about—perhaps, that is the hottest issue.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  But, who brought it up?

SEC. PANELO:  It’s the President who started talking. In fact, he was talking for more than half an hour.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  And it’s all about drug war and the Balangiga? Nothing else?

SEC. PANELO:  Balangiga, yeah…

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Alright, thank you.

SEC. PANELO:  And he also said about that this country will not go forward unless we can stop the drug war and the corruption. And not even succeeding presidents will succeed in improving the situation of this country unless we stop these twin evils.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir, another topic. Sir, DBP President Cecilia Borromeo will soon replace Landbank President Alex Buenaventura. And Mr. Buenaventura said he will step down from his positions at the pleasure of the President. I wonder sir, did the President ask him to step down? Is the President not satisfied with Landbank under him?

SEC. PANELO:  It was never discussed in the Cabinet and I have not heard him mentioned anything about the Landbank… other than the conversation between the representative of the Landbank that—or the instruction of the President to bring… as well as the idea of Landbank bringing the bank to the farmers so they can get loans from it.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  There was no expression of dissatisfaction?

SEC. PANELO:  No, there was none.

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

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Hi sir, still on the drug war. Yesterday, President Duterte said that drug war will be harsher in the days to come and in the ambush interview he said it could be bloodier. Can you tell us what exactly he means by that?

SEC. PANELO:  Perhaps he was speaking based on the experiences. As I told you earlier… only yesterday, I read briefer on the drug war; and there have been almost daily buy bust operations, and I read in all areas of the Philippines arrested individuals involved in the drug trafficking.

And also there were more arrests rather than violence inflicted on them, but there have been—on a regular basis, in different cities and towns of the Philippines walang tigil. Ang ibig sabihin, talagang hindi tumitigil din iyong mga nasa kabila.

Eh kasi nga as explained by the President, and common sense will tell us,  it’s a cheap, very cheap… mura eh kaya madaling ibenta at malaking pera ang involved. So the President has instructed the police forces to be more active in the fight against illegal drugs.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  So, what can people expect in the coming days because he was specific about it eh? Are we supposed to expect more arrests? Ano ba ‘to, pagbabalik noong very aggressive Oplan Tokhang as we saw early on in his term? What can we expect in the streets?

SEC. PANELO:  In other words, the President is relentless in his campaign and he’s focused in it; and has in fact instructed the police forces to do everything in their power and in the accordance with law to dismantle the entire drug apparatus in the Philippines.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  What do you mean sir doon sa directive niya to the police force to be ‘more active’? What does that mean, ‘more active’?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh siguro, they should engage more on intelligence work para mas marami silang mahuhuli. Because you cannot naman arrest these people unless you have basis ‘di ba. More intelligence work…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Last, sir. The President has repeatedly been talking about the three million drug users still in the country. Ano ang gagawin dito sa three million na ‘to in the harsher drug war – will they be arrested as well or is the focus gonna be on dealers? What is it going to be?

SEC. PANELO:  The approach of the President is twin: the arrest of drug traffickers as well as the rehabilitation of the drug addicts.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Sir, for the past three years, the President has been strong in the campaign against illegal drugs, and—at critics even call him over ng mga extrajudicial killings, but apparently there is a shift from Philippines being—of shabu from cocaine, based on the recent police operations or PDEA operations na na-seized. Where is the government—what’s wrong sir, bakit parang… even the mga drug syndicates hindi takot sa Pangulo? May kakulangan pa ba?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi sa takot. I think… from where I stand, I can see that the attraction is in the profit that is why these people risks being arrested or being killed in the process of an arrest.

NowI recall something, I’d like to share it to you and to the public: with respect to those who were saying that there have been extra judicial killings; that these arrested people are just being killed, it’s not true. You know the statistics of the Philippine National Police force showed that presently there have been 165 police officers killed in relation to arrest. And there are, if I am not mistaken, 765 injured policemen.

So, it only shows that in the course of the arrest, those subjects of arrest used violence and will not allow themselves to be just arrested, they will have to fight back. Hence the lives of the policemen making the arrest are also at risk, otherwise how can you explain there are 165 police officers killed and 675 police officers injured?

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  So, what’s your reading on the Philippines being used as transshipment point for cocaine?

SEC. PANELO:  Ang reading ko diyan kasi iyong teritoryo natin, islands eh.  Sa madali’t sabi ang daling pumasok, hindi mo mabantayan lahat, ang dami. There are how many islands do we have – kaya nakakapasok iyong mga drugs.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  Can you expound further on the President’s statement about Mr. Peter Lim? Mayroon bang bagong developments about Mr. Lim kaya nagsalita ang Pangulo?

SEC. PANELO: Wala. Ang sinabi lang niya kahapon, mabuti pa mag-commit ng suicide siya, because you will put him to jail for 200 years.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER:  Sir, still on Peter Lim. Based sa intelligence report, does the Palace know the whereabouts of Peter Lim po?

SEC. PANELO:  No, as of now, no.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Walang feeler, sir since last night, after the  warning of the President?

SEC. PANELO:  Wala pa, wala pa akong narinig.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, what’s the reason why the President, parang change of heart? Kasi dati, in 2016, maayos naman iyong meeting nila and then last night, parang stern yung warning niya kay Peter Lim?

SEC. PANELO:  There could be basis for that. Siguro sometime ago – yung sinasabi mong soft pa siya, walang masyadong ebidensiya against him – eh baka marami nang ebidensiya to convince the President that he is really behind many operations concerning drug activities. You must remember that Peter Lim at one point denied that.  Siguro lalong pinaimbestigahan ni Presidente, baka marami na siyang basis.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, magte-three years na iyong drug war, July 2016 siya na-launched and based on  government  data, 3 million  ang sinasabi ni Presidente na drug addicts – either operator or user. But based on the government data, there have only been 167,000 plus na drug personalities arrested, those who were killed 5,000 plus and then counting also the surrenderees, you have 316,000. That would just give you 488,000 plus individuals that have been either accosted or killed versus/vis-a-vis the 3 million figure of infection if you will call it at that.. Would you say, sir that the drug war had been effective?

SEC. PANELO:  I think so, yes, because  given the fact that this is not been stopped by previous administration and it is only  now that there is relentless war against drugs, sa tingin ko given the statistics, sinisira natin ang drug industry  dito sa bansa natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: How then would you explain sir, that despite the very active drug war, we would have, as the President claimed yesterday, international drug cartels still going into the country?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh because of the profit involved, plus iyong geographical location natin madaling pumasok. At the same time, iyong shabu, eh talagang mura, talagang para sa mahihirap iyon. Hindi ba, I told you before, what they did earlier, was to flood the barangays with free shabu, noong na-adik na, di siyempre hinahanap na, iyon ang ginawa nila noon – libre.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why aren’t we able to stop these drug cartels?

SEC. PANELO:  Marami na tayo… Well, we have already dismantled so many. Hindi ba sa Muntinlupa nasira na natin iyon and then news reports coming from you people kung papano na-raid iyong mga factory ng ganito,  factory ng ganyan, ilang million ang nakuhang ganito, mga shabu – so, maraming-marami. Eh siguro kung walang drug war, eh baka iyang 3 million mo, baka by this time, it is ballooned to as many million as we imagined.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Bakit hindi nga na-prevent iyong pagpasok nung   Sinaloa?

SEC. PANELO:  Sinaloa?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yesterday si President said Sinaloa, but I think he was referring to Sinaloa ano, it’s the EL Chapo drug cartel and he said, he acknowledged that iyong mga lumulutang na mga cocaine probably are from that drug cartel. May drug war tayo, sir pero bakit pumapasok iyong Sinaloa, paano nakakapasok?

SEC. PANELO:  Gaya na nga ng sinabi ko, iyong profit, plus iyong geographical make up ng ating bansa.  Pero tandaan ninyo, kung walang drug war, can you imagine. Biro mo kung ilang milyon ang maapektuhan sa atin? Grabe siguro, kasi he was even shocked na ganito karami di ba, dati-dati ang sinasabi nila 1 million plus lang. Iyon pala, that was only concentrated in Manila. Eh lumalabas ngayon all over, kasi nga gaya ng sinasabi ko, I read a briefer everyday and I am amazed that every city, towns ay may mga buy bust operations at marami ang naaresto at marami rin ang namamatay although mas marami ang arrest. Ini-encircle ko palagi at tinitingnan ko lang ang killed saka at arrest, mas marami ang arrest.

Ang ibig sabihin noon, all over talaga – the Philippines, masyadong napabayaan, kaya mabuti nga ganito na lang, lumiliit iyong number.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  When the President said that – although he said that before – he is raising the problem to a national security threat, is this just a matter of describing the gravity of the problem or did he mean something legal in such a way that he can invoke certain powers under the Constitution?

SEC. PANELO:  That can be both. It’s in the level of national security. Because, if you have 3 million and then if that increases pa in more than that, then you will really have a problem that involves national security.

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Puwede sir both, as a description and as a legal?

SEC. PANELO:   Yes. You must remember that, under the Constitution the President has the mandate to: one, to serve the people and number two, to protect. So, if the public safety requires him to do something extraordinary using his powers under the Constitution, he will do that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the powers here sir, are the ones enumerated in Article 7: the calling out of martial law and suspension of the habeas corpus?

SEC. PANELO:  Yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: He can resort to those powers?

SEC. PANELO: Of course: if there is rebellion, and there is eminence, and the public safety requires – then the President can do that. But according to him, he will not, he will not because he has still many measures that he can do to quell the present threat on the drug industry.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Iyong calling out to Armed Forces sir, he has done that already?

SEC. PANELO:   Yes, with respect to the rebellion, yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: with respect to the drug war sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Wala pa, di ba puro punitive, puro punitive – police action lang.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, you think he will use martial law for the drug war?

SEC. PANELO:  I don’t think so, because he doesn’t have to. We are containing it, given the figures – official figures.          

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, noong 2016, sinabi ni Presidente na narco- state na iyong Pilipinas dahil iyong sa protection na tinatamasa ng drug syndicates mula sa government officials, politicians. Sir, sa kaso ni Kenneth Dong, inaresto siya sa isang housing project ng Department 0f Justice.

SEC. PANELO:  Sino ito?

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Si Kenneth Dong, sir, mga two weeks ago, ‘di ba inaresto siya. Naaresto siya sa isang bahay sa loob ng housing project ng Department of Justice sa Katarungan Village. So, ano po iyong paliwanag dito ng NBI or DOJ na.., Natuklasan na ba nila kung sino iyong nag-cuddle kay Kenneth Dong, bakit ‘andodoon siya sa housing project ng Department of Justice?

SEC. PANELO:  We will ask the NBI for an official report on that then I’ll get back to you.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  Sir regarding sa expanded maternity leave, I think ES has already confirmed the President has signed it. So, regarding that…

SEC. PANELO:  Di, okay. Wala pang text sa akin eh.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sir, sa tingin n’yo po ba wala itong magiging implication sa employment ng females sa private and public sector, kasi kung madadagdagan iyong  leave ng mga working mothers  baka po  mag isip-isip na iyong mga employer  na i-limit iyong pag-hire ng mga kababaihan, dahil mas gagastos po sila?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi naman. Alam ninyo iyong dagdag ng maternity leave number of days, as well as the benefits, that will only lessen the profits. Eh ang laki naman ng profit talaga ng mga employers eh, kumbaga social service nila iyon. Ang nakikita kong ano doon, marami na sigurong mag-aasawa. Kasi the reason why maraming ayaw mag-asawa kasi magbubuntis, pagkatapos, magle-leave ka, magastos and all, eh ngayon medyo 160 days?

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  105.

SEC. PANELO:     Oh, biro mo iyon, di, ilang buwan iyon? Wow three months.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  So, sir confident po kayo na hindi mangyayari sa Pilipinas iyong nangyayari sa ibang bansa na pinipigilan iyong pag-hire ng mga kababaihan dahil sa ganoong benefits?

SEC. PANELO:   Aba eh bawal ang discrimination sa atin, they will be accountable to that. I don’t think they will at saka ang mga Pilipino family-oriented eh. These industrialist businessmen will understand.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  Sir, clarification lang, sir.  Katulad itong bagong batas sa expanded maternity health. Ano ba dapat ang sinusunod ng mga kumpanya, iyong batas o kailangan i-incorporate ng private companies sa rules and regulations nila muna iyong batas bago i-implement sa mga empleyado.

SEC. PANELO:   First, merong mga companies na magaganda ang benefits, like when I was in Unilab, ang gaganda ng benefits, wala pa iyong batas eh. So, regardless of the rules and regulations ng mga companies, they will have to follow the law now, kung may law na wala na silang choice – they will have to follow the law. So you don’t even have to incorporate iyan kasi nasa batas na nga.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Clarification, when you said that puwede nilang i-incorporate iyong act, they can also not incorporate it – the law?

SEC. PANELO:  Of course, just follow the law, why do you have to put in the rules.   

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ah okay, parang given na iyon. There is no naman, mga amendments to the labor code or whatever, iyong mga ganoon?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi naman kailangan kasi batas na nga. Kasi, the moment—hindi automatic iyon, in-amend mo iyong previous provision kapag merong special.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So they have to follow.

SEC. PANELO:  Kaya si Maricel saka is ano nag-iisip na yata ng dagdag na.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR:  Sir, regardless sir kung merong workers union or wala ang isang kampanya.

SEC. PANELO:   Ano?

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR:  Regardless, sir kung merong workers union o mga CBA, dapat prevailing ang law?

SEC. PANELO: Wala na silang choice, batas eh. It applies to all. Kaya, Ina, puwede ka nang mag-asawa.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/INQUIRER:  Sir, what could be the basis of the President to say na he would raise   drug problem to a national security threat?

SEC. PANELO:   Well, as he has repeatedly explained: it affects the generation; it affects the entire country, if so many members of the family are addicted to drugs.Diyan mag-uumpisa lahat ang problema like palaging pinapaliwanag natin na, one, kapag na-adik kana, you need money to buy; kapag wala ng pera iyong tatay at nanay mo, magnanakaw kana sa sarili mong bahay, magbebenta kana ng mga gamit; ‘pag wala ka ng maibenta pupunta kana sa kapitbahay; pag wala na iyong kapitbahay mangho-hold up kana.

So you have potential criminals in the families, magkakaproblema ka talaga. Kaya—I saw the emotions of the President last night. Sabi niya, ‘It affects me so much.’ You know why? Can you imagine iyong mga Pilipino nagpupunta sa overseas para lang kumita tapos they will learn na itong mga anak nila dito naging drug addict na, nasira na iyong buhay nila. Kaya grabe ang ano ni Presidente, kaya hindi siya titigil hangga’t matapos iyong kaniyang term.

Q: Normally ba sir ‘pag kunwari iyong—if a situation becomes national security problem, ano iyong normally conditions, the present conditions to say na may problem national security wise?

SEC. PANELO: Like for instance, iyong 3 million niya eh kung naging 10 million iyon eh, to my mind if I were the President, that’s a national security problem kung ganoon na karami ang involved sa drugs, talagang may problema ka ng malaki. But we’re reducing that na nga eh because of so many arrest, tapos may rehabilitation pa tayo.

Q: During the Cabinet meeting ba did he mention he plan to raise iyong drug problem to a national security threat?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman. Sa mga speeches niya ‘di ba sinasabi niya iyon.

Q: So there are conditions ngayon to say na talagang it is a national security problem, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman siyang sinabing national security problem, sinasabi niya lang na matindi ang problema natin sa—sinabi niya ba kahapon?

Q: [off mic.]

SEC. PANELO: Ah, now. Because nga of the rampant entry and unstoppable addiction of so many people despite the arrest, despite… nandiyan pa rin siya. That’s why he has raised that to a national security level.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, just a clarification. Because way back in 2003 si President Arroyo already elevated it to a national security threat and if I’m not mistaken what a President means is that he’s invoking that same move not order so kumbaga he is not actually elevating it anew now or unless you clarify that now. Ano po ba? What… Ano iyong status?

SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi niya the President then already elevated that to national security. Pero walang nangyari kasi hindi naman siguro naka-focus iyong dating administrasyon for whatever reason. Eh noong pumasok siya, noong makita niya iyon kaya he responded to the challenge hurled to him as President to stop the drug war.

INA/CNN PHILS.: But that order made during the Arroyo administration still stands up to this day. Ganoon ba iyon, sir? ‘Di ba hindi naman siya parang na-lift or what eh?

SEC. PANELO: Noong ni-raise ni Presidente Arroyo iyon, I don’t think na ganito karami iyong number of—

INA/CNN PHILS.: It’s a continuing scenario then?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Which the President is now, kumbaga, acting on more aggressively, that’s what you are saying—

SEC. PANELO: Yes, correct.

INA/CNN PHILS.: Thank you, sir.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, quick clarification. You mentioned earlier na because of the rampant entry, does it mean that the drug industry or the condition of the drug industry now in the country is getting worse?

SEC. PANELO: No. What I’m saying is that, you must remember that iyong shabu dito ginagawa sa Pilipinas, hindi naman iyong dati ng gawa at saka pinapasok eh, iba iyon eh. So ang nakakapasok iyong mga chemicals. Dito ginagawa eh. Iyong mga materials, raw materials ang nakakapasok. Eh iyan nga ang ini-stop natin like ‘di ba nag-umpisa iyan sa Customs, doon nakakapasok eh kaya mayroon na tayong mga… may mga military na nga doon nagbabantay. Iyon ang ibig niyang sabihin.

MARICEL/TV5: So if it’s not getting worse, how will you describe the situation of the drug industry in the country? Why is there a need raise it to a national security threat?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi nga hindi natatapos iyong pangamba at panganib na ino-offer nitong problemang ito, kaya hindi siya tumitigil. Parang nagiging creative din itong lahat ng mga kalaban eh.

MARICEL/TV5: If that is the case sir, what does it say about the drug campaign of the administration? Doesn’t it question the effectivity of the campaign?

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga ang sinabi ko sa iyo kung hindi effective iyon baka hindi lang 3 million tayo, ‘di ba? Can you imagine iyong mga napatay, iyong mga inaresto kung nandiyan pa rin sa kalsada oh ‘di lalo na.

How can you say na hindi effective? The fact alone is the people are saying, ‘wala na iyong mga drug addict sa amin…’ ‘Di ba? How many percent? 64 percent said—7 out of 10 are saying that okay na doon sa mga lugar nila, hindi na nila nakikita iyong mga drug addicts, iyong mga drug pushers. So malaking ginhawa sa kanila, so effective.

MARICEL/TV5: Sir, can I shift to another topic? May we just have your thought on the statement of Ms. Universe Catriona Gray?

SEC. PANELO: What?

MARICEL/TV5: Showbiz. Saying na, ‘The country should focus on addressing the reasons why children commit crimes instead of lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility? She’s against the position of Malacañang.

 SEC. PANELO: Then she should be educated on the… Hindi ang ibig sabihin ng educated she may have been misinformed of the facts given that the opposition to the lowering comes from… iyong mga dating kritiko ng administrasyon. But if you study the facts and iyong mga present ngayon ‘di ba? I think I just read, tatlong high school students ang involve sa crime –  nahuli sa raid, iyong isa nagta-trafficking ng drugs, mga ano iyon ha high school students. So iyong sinasabi niya ng… ano yung sabi niya, ‘Focus on the problem?’ Kasama iyon eh, when you lower the criminal liability, kasama iyon, you are focusing nga sa nagiging problema.

Kasi that is the problem with minors involved in the crimes. So sa batas nakalagay doon iyong rehabilitation, ang focus nga rehabilitation eh. So you are solving precisely the problem why this people are engaged in crimes.

So kaya sinasabi ko siguro we must give some enlightenment or education. Kasi marami ding hindi rin nakakaintindi, like iyong—from the very start ang opposition nila, ‘Bakit mo ikukulong?’ Hindi nga ikukulong eh. Iyon nga ang pinagtataka ko noon eh kung bakit naniwala sila na ikukulong, hindi nga ikukulong eh, ire-rehabilitate mo nga eh. So baka hindi rin naintindihan ni Ms. Universe na—

Ms. Universe, hindi naman ikukulong, ire-rehabilitate nga natin. Kaya tama ka doon, let’s focus on the problem; we are precisely focusing on the problem. Because the problem is they are engaged in crimes. So what will we do? We will have to rehabilitate them. Learn why they have committed these crimes and then put them back to society. But I’m glad that she mentions that, it only means that she’s also concerned; which every Filipino citizen should have the kind of concern.

MARICEL/TV5: Okay, thank you sir.

SEC. PANELO: Nakakatuwa talaga kayo, talagang kayo naghahanap palagi ng… ‘Educated,’ ahhhh! [laughs] Ano kaagad eh, talagang iyong soundbyte ang hinahanap talaga eh. [laughs]

VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE: Sir, good afternoon. Yesterday, Pope Francis told worshipers in Vatican that those who repeatedly accuse the Church, meaning the critics, are friends, cousins and relatives of the devils. So—though the President of course… he did not mention… the Pope did not mention any critic for that matter—

SEC. PANELO: The critics of the what? Of the Church?

VIRGIL/GMA NEWS ONLINE: Yeah. The Pope called them as friends, cousins and relatives of devils. Well, of course, the President was not mentioned or any critic for that matter but you know we know that the President has been criticizing the teachings and the misdeeds of some members of the clergy. So may we know your reaction to his statements, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I haven’t read the reaction of the Pope. But one of the better critics of the Church is the Pope himself. He criticizes the members of the Church who are engaged in what he perceives to be immorality which is outside of the teachings of Christ or the internal discipline of the Church, ‘di ba? When he address those members of the Church who could not be celibate to leave the Church, he is a critic. But it does not mean also that when you criticize you are evil. You’re just expressing concern and opposition to certain irregular behavior. Ano bang Simbahan? [laughs]

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, so the President—as far as Malacañang is concerned, you don’t think that the President was being alluded to?

SEC. PANELO: No. Baka nga hindi niya kilala si Presidente.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, mag-o-order daw po ba si President manhunt kay Peter Lim?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko narinig iyong sinabi niya kahapon. But ‘pag standing order naman is to pursue to end of the world those who have violated the laws in this country. Iyon naman ang palaging standing order niya iyon eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon pong kahapon si—regarding the Budget Undersecretary, that was a very colorful story by the President – sinipa niya sa mukha tapos it’s the first time—

SEC. PANELO: Oh tumatak daw iyong ano doon ah…iyong Valentino.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sosyal.

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang sabi ni Bong Go eh.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Talaga? Papaano? Sige nga.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi iyon ano… ‘Di ba ang sapatos ni Presidente, mayroon siyang Marikina shoes? Siguro nagpapatawa si Bong. Nandoon iyon, nakita ang durability ng Marikina shoes kasi noong sinipa daw hindi masyadong naano iyong mukha pero iyong tatak daw, naiwan daw iyong tatak ng Valentino—

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sa mukha?

SEC. PANELO: Iyong brand, oo.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Kaninong mukha ito? Anong pangalan, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi ko alam iyong Usec. Sino bang, Usec., na natanggal?

JOSEPH/GMA7: Budget Usec.

SEC. PANELO: I don’t remember the name.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Super tagal na ba iyon, sir?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba Usec., ni ano iyon eh, ni Secretary…

JOSEPH/GMA7: Iyong dati pa…

SEC. PANELO: Iyon, iyon.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Iyong dati pa, this is not a new firing.

SEC. PANELO: No, he was referring to the previous Usec.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sir, ano lang, iyong doon sa friend-devil-relative.

SEC. PANELO: [laughs]

JOSEPH/GMA7: What do you think of it? Do you agree that any critic of the Church is a friend-brother-relative?

SEC. PANELO: If I will agree with that then the Pope will be referring to himself also because he is also a critic. Palagay ko ano lang iyon hyperbole.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Wow, speaking like the President ‘no.

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, hyperbole. Kumbaga ano lang niya iyon, hindi—when you criticize you cannot be evil.

JOSEPH/GMA7: So hindi naman na-offend iyong Palace doon?

SEC. PANELO: No. Eh si Presidente ‘di ba ina-assault na lahat ang reputasyon niya, pinapabayaan niya lang. Okay lang iyon.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sige sir.

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay, thank you, MPC. Wala ng questions? Okay, thank you, Presidential…

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

USEC. IGNACIO: Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

USEC. IGNACIO: Back to our main studio sa Radyo Pilipinas and People’s Television Network.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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