Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Good morning, MPC. Good morning, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Salvador Panelo

SEC. PANELO: Good morning. I’m ready.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Hi sir, good morning. Sir, could you give us details on the meeting between President Duterte and Secretary Mike Pompeo yesterday.

SEC. PANELO: Apparently, you were not listening to the briefing conducted by the State Secretary and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddy Boy Locsin. Sinabi na lahat doon ha, uulitin pa ba natin dito? Talaga kayo… you’re not doing your work.

Well anyway, last night they—first, the first message of the Secretary of State to the President was President Trump was extending his warm greetings to the President. Number two, “We have your back in the South China Sea,” that was the message of the President through the Ambassador. They discussed, of course, the usual concerns on terrorism and bilateral relations between the two countries. And the President also thanked him for the courtesy call, and the President says overwhelming Filipinos are in favor of the Americans. So he doesn’t think he could go against that.

So, what else do you want to know?

Q: [off mic] …

SEC. PANELO: Oh, then ask…

Oh, he said also that any attack against any vessel of the Philippines will trigger the application of the Mutual Defense Treaty – which means they will support the Philippines.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Sir, can you elaborate more iyong sinabi ng US or ni Secretary of State Pompeo na suportado nila tayo sa issue ng West Philippine Sea? Can you elaborate, paki…

SEC. PANELO: Oh, by just saying that “We have your back,” that means ‘we are behind you, we will support you.’

HENRY URI/DZRH: In terms of what…?

SEC. PANELO: First, according to them, if there is an attack on us then they will be protecting us or helping us in our defense. Number two, they will be providing us with arms – but not free. We’re going to buy it from them.

Last night in fact, the President related to the Secretary of State how he was disappointed when we were trying to buy rifles from them, but the… some senators opposed it until we were not able to buy, that’s why we have to run to other countries. And in fact, Secretary Locsin commented – after in the courtesy call – he can’t even understand why we’re supposed to be allies of the US, and the US has been giving arms for free to other countries and yet, we, the strongest ally of the US cannot even purchase rifles from them.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So iyong suporta ho, it’s of kung sakaling magkakaroon ng giyera between the Philippines and China?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, in case of shooting war then the US will be on our side.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Alright. Thank you.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Regarding the issue, sir. Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin said that he personally does not see the need to review the Mutual Defense Treaty. So what is now the position of the government regarding this issue?

SEC. PANELO: You know why he said that? Because this is the first time that the US made a policy statement, that any assault/attack on any Philippine vessel would be… would trigger the application of the Mutual Defense Treaty. You will remember that when the President assumed office and he met with the Ambassador from US then, when he was asked, he could not give a categorical answer. In fact he was saying, “If our forces are attacked, then we will respond.”

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So what is now our position, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Our position is—that position of US is they will support us, then we will take it as an observance of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So the government no longer sees the need to review the treaty, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Eh since that is the policy of the US, so there is no need… as of now. Unless there are movements that will dispute or that will contradict what the US Secretary of State said.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, just a follow up. US Secretary Pompeo said it’s important for the South China Sea to remain open and called on the Philippines to do its part to make sure this vital sea lane remains free, secured; and that China does not pose a threat to closing them down. So what is now the commitment of the government or the Philippines since the Duterte administration has been criticized for its soft stance regarding the issue?

SEC. PANELO: Remember that the policy on navigation in that area, the President was given the task as coordinator to coordinate with the other countries and craft rules and regulations that will provide the guidelines in the navigation in that area. So, the Philippines will do its part; but I don’t know if—I don’t think they have met yet since the time we… since the time the President was designated as coordinator.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Can you be more clear on that, sir, that the Philippines will “do its part”?

SEC. PANELO: Meaning to say, since the President was—he was designated as coordinator, he would do everything in his power to persuade the other countries in crafting rules that will provide us guidelines in the use of the waters of that area.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Thank you, sir.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, we are scrapping ‘no, iyong proposal ni Secretary Lorenzana to—

SEC. PANELO: No, actually if I will recall right, the Secretary’s comment was based on the fact precisely of that comment of that US Ambassador; which even I was surprised by that response. Because under the Mutual Defense Treaty, any attack against the Philippines will be considered an attack against the US.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, before kasi ang issue diyan is iyong definition ng metropolitan territory and then island nations, as it cover the areas in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea. So iyon po bang statements nitong si Secretary Pompeo will be binding for the rest of maybe the succeeding administrations such that that is enough assurance at hindi siya mababago after the Trump administration na ganoon pa rin iyong commitment—level ng commitment ng US?

SEC. PANELO: Since that is the policy to the US government presently, then that will continue unless the treaty is revised.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So right now sir, we don’t need—we’re dropping iyong idea of scrapping or even reviewing the MDT, yes?

SEC. PANELO: I’m sure the Secretary of Defense Lorenzana would want to review despite the pronouncement.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ah, so magre-review pa rin sir despite these assurances from the US?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, because there may be some kinks in that treaty that need to be clarified.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, government—

SEC. PANELO: Like what you said, the definition of that area.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No. But si Secretary Pompeo—first of all, we saw the DFA press conference, but we want to know the Palace’s side, yes? Alright. So going back to my question sir…

Iyon po kasing statement ni Secretary Pompeo, seems to also alter na the definition of island territories to include areas in the South China Sea. So iyon po bang assurance na iyon enough na, and you said that’s going to be binding? Yes?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, but as you said earlier… it’s much better perhaps that it’s—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Spelled out.

SEC. PANELO: Clear cut in the treaty itself.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Uhum…

SEC. PANELO: So, I think there still a need—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: To?

SEC. PANELO: To review… despite the policy statement.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: All right. So sir final answer, we need to review MDT?

SEC. PANELO: We will have to evaluate. But we are pleased to note that the US has made a policy statement with respect to attacks on a Philippine vessel to be deemed as an attack against the US.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir I’m wondering, how did the Secretary of State respond to the President’s statement, iyong sinabi mo kanina when he expressed concerns na we planned on buying rifles from them before and the it was stopped because of some US—

SEC. PANELO: He was nodding and said that—all of them were nodding their heads, the US Ambassador, him and two others.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Didn’t he give maybe an assurance that they will maybe do something to try not to connect that.

SEC. PANELO: I didn’t hear the exact words, because I was a little far away from where they were seated. I was I think, five persons away and there was no microphone. In fact, I suggested to Protocol, they should be using a microphone, so that we will be hearing exactly what they are saying.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: And then you mentioned also that Secretary Locsin said na parang bakit hindi tayo binibigyan ng libre, I’m wondering.

SEC. PANELO: That was after, that was after the courtesy call.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Ah, kayo-kayo na lang, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Kami-kami na lang.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, on a lighter note, I believed the President has been repeatedly invited by the US government to visit their country. Finally, did he accept the invitation?

SEC. PANELO: No, there was no definite acceptance of the invitation. They were joking.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Joking about?

SEC. PANELO: Kidding about… because the first—because I think the Secretary of State was asking whether the wife of the President was able to meet with the First Lady of the US. And, there was one meeting, right? Between the first lady and—was that last year? APEC? And then, I think the President, I’m not very sure, but parang ganoon ang dating, parang sinabi niya, I have two wives eh nagtawanan. Then, I think the Secretary of State, parang narinig ko sila, oh make sure that there will be protocol in meeting these two wives, parang ganoon, naglolokohan sila.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: But following the visit of Secretary Pompeo, is the President considering the idea of going to US?

SEC. PANELO: Wala siyang sinabi, kasi the problem with the President is he cannot stand the temperature in the US, napakalamig eh, mahihirapan siya at saka masyadong malayo. Iyong mga long haul ayaw niya eh. But, of course he is very fond of the President and I remember when the President was talking about what he is doing for this country, pati iyong mga controversial na galaw niya, pati iyong cursing niya, the Secretary of State said, “you’re just like our President” – tawanan kami. The style of the President: prangka, walang sini-sino, na kahit sino puwedeng labanan; di ba ganoon si Mr. Trump, against all flags.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, other topic. Sir, si Manny Pangilinan, yesterday denied that the PLDT owes the government P8 billion. May I ask where the President got his information that the company owes the government P8 billion?

SEC. PANELO: I will ask him, because kanina ko rin nabasa iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sa Marcos wealth. The President in a speech, probably two or three days ago said – he doubts, that there is ill-gotten wealth’. First of, why did the President say that?

SEC. PANELO: I suppose because there is no court case that has, that convicted the late President of any ill-gotten wealth. I don’t know of any case filed against the late President.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Do you share that opinion, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Relative to—given that yes, because if there was no case filed against the late President and there is no conviction on the matter of ill-gotten wealth, so how can you say that… I agree with the President with that point.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: all right, sir. But can I read into the records. PCGG data: There are as of July 2017, 289 pending cases.

SEC. PANELO: Pending, okay.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Judgment in favor of the Philippines, 715, not in favor to the Philippines 2; judgment not favor to the PH – final, 12 and 5. You want a round down of the cases. Civil cases 190, criminal cases 67, admin cases 7. Amount recovered as of December 31, 2017 this is P171, 359, 374, 369. These are facts from the PCGG.

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know what cases they are referring to. Because there are so many cases and not all cases are ill-gotten, it refers to other cases. But you know, I think what the President is referring to and I’ve been saying this too when I was still outside of the government. The claimed is that, the Marcoses have stolen billions of dollars – worth. If I remember right, they were saying 400-something billion dollars? Now, I used my common sense and we do not have that kind of money at that time, and then another thing, when I was still with the left as an activist, we used to say that Marcos stole the gold bars. But during the trial of Imelda Marcos in New York, the former central governor Jaime Laya testified that all the gold bars in the central Bank were intact. So sabi ko, hindi pala totoo kung ganoon, iyong mga pinagsasabi namin noon.

And in fact, I confronted Jaime Laya, eh totoo daw, talagang intact. And when I confronted the late Espenilla, hindi niya raw exactly kung nasaan. But to my mind if Jaime Laya at that time, who was a witness in the trial testifying to the effect na maraming gold bars, eh mas maniniwala ako sa kanya.

Now, the question now is, where in the heavens name, did the Marcos got those so much wealth, di ba maraming kuwento, merong sinasabing from the Yamashita Treasure, merong sinasabing he was lawyer for the Vatican and meron nag-abscond doon na Cardinal dala iyong pera – maraming kuwento about the wealth eh.

The point I am saying is, since we didn’t have that kind of money at that time and Jaime Laya is saying that intact ang gold bars, eh mukhang baka iyong akusasyon na nagnakaw sila, eh hindi pa napoprobahan sa parteng iyon. With respect to the—if you are saying you stole from me 400 billion dollars and I have only 1 billion, how in heaven’s name can you be stealing from me when I don’t have that kind of money, parang iyon ang dating.

But if you remember the President was saying that the Marcoses are willing to return iyong nakuha na, I mean na-trace, hindi ba, iyan ang sinasabi niya. I’m willing to sign an agreement between the Philippines and the family, pero wala pang nangyayari, hindi pa napa-finalized iyon. Siguro iyon ang ano ni Presidente, iyon ang kanyang perspective doon na, di ba, sinabi na niya, hindi pa nga natin alam kung sa kanila nga iyon o saan galing iyon. Iyon ang point doon kasi nga napakalaki, nakakalula iyong pera eh wala naman tayong ganoong pera. Magkano ba during the ‘70s, magkano lang ba ang pera natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, sir, how do you reconcile nga iyong sinasabi ni Presidente na hindi pa napapatunayan, there’s doubt about the ill-gotten wealth versus—

SEC. PANELO: Iyon na nga ang sinasabi ko eh. Kung ang claim is ninakaw niya $400 billion, eh kung isang billion dollars lang ang pera natin, paano mo naman sasabihin na—siguro iyon ang kaniyang perspective.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero, sir, do you dispute the fact that there have been decided cases as far as the Marcoses directly are concerned?

SEC. PANELO: Ang alam ko, mayroong mga kaso na—kay Imelda yata eh, hindi kay Presidente.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the family, sir, one of… sa Sandigan, iyong recent.

SEC. PANELO: Ano ba iyong recent?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Where she is free now because they’re appealing the sentence.

SEC. PANELO: Ah iyong ano, iyong Jane Saunders. Ang ruling doon – if I’m not mistaken – if she was Jane Saunders and she was depositing certain amounts of money that is more than the salary when she was still governor, the presumption under the law is ill-gotten iyon. Iyon. Iyon ang ano doon. Kaya with respect to that, ang ill-gotten iyong dineposit niya na more than the usual of salary of a Metropolitan Governor of Manila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The point, sir, is they exist. You acknowledged that these cases, decided or otherwise, are existing.

SEC. PANELO: Iyan ang kasong lumabas eh, desisyon ng Korte Suprema iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So how does this blend with the President’s doubts?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga eh, iyon na nga ang pinapaliwanag ko rin. Siguro with respect doon sa more than – ill-gotten iyon. Pero with respect doon sa claim na they stole so much billions coming from us, ni wala naman tayo noon. Iyon siguro sinasabi ni Presidente.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said that he did not say that Beijing will adopt the tit-for-tat approach once the government deport illegal Chinese workers. Will you please, sir, clarify the statement?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, yes, because I already clarified that ‘di ba noong news. Ang sinasabi ko: it was not in reference to the Philippine government. We were discussing academically what a government will do as a natural consequence of what another government is doing. Like we were saying, if a government’s nationals are expelled not in accordance with law – meaning to say recklessly – then the natural reaction of another government subject … subject nationals, will necessarily retaliate and apply a tit-for-tat policy.

In other words, iyong discussion namin more on academics rather than actuality. In fact, when we were discussing that … ‘di ba sinabi ko, he added na I don’t think the Philippines will do that, neither will us do it too.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sa drug war.

SEC. PANELO: Drug war.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: For the record, sir—

SEC. PANELO: Now that you mentioned that …

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Oh, prepared. I like that.

SEC. PANELO: Alin ba iyon, iyon ba iyong tinutukoy mo?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Figure, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Iyong figures?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes.

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, I have it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: All right. Sir, for the record – How many—

SEC. PANELO: Let me just give you the record: data from July 1 to 2016—no, from July 1, 2016 to January 31, 2019: Anti-drug operations conducted – 119,841; drug personalities arrested – 170,689; drug personalities who died in anti-drug operations – 5,176; dismantled dens and clandestine laboratories – 301; drug cleared barangays – 11,080; government workers arrested in anti-drugs – 627; children involved in illegal drug activities and rescued during anti-drug operations – 2,016; total value of shabu seized – P25.94 billion.

Data from January 1, 2018 to 31, 2019: Established Bahay Silangan – 24; graduates – 150; employed – 35.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You also have—that’s the Real Number’s data, sir, from the PCOO, kila Asec. Banaag. Do you also have the numbers of the surrenderees na updated?

SEC. PANELO: Of?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Surrenderees, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Iyong latest?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yeah.

SEC. PANELO: Wala. Ito iyong up to January 31, 2019.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: All right. Our baseline data, sir, for the record, how many drug addicts do we have? Because in the beginning, we hear the President, three million; and then so suddenly, naging seven million. How much is it?

SEC. PANELO: No, what he is saying, iyong original number is limited to Manila. If you will include the entire Visayas and Mindanao, aabot ng seven million – iyon ang sinasabi niya. Hindi nag-increase kung hindi iyon talaga ang bilang.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ever since, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So three million is Metro Manila, seven million is national figure.

SEC. PANELO: National figure iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ito na, sir, iyong titindigan natin?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang national figure.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay.

SEC. PANELO: And again, as I said, from the briefings that I read every day, every day may ano eh, buy-bust operation all-over eh. In every city, paulit-ulit na nababasa ko, maraming arrest, may namamatay din kapag lumalaban.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, just—again, a clearer answer lang, sir, iyong sa Marcos ill-gotten wealth. How does Malacañang see Supreme Court decisions ordering the forfeiture of Swiss deposits, account deposits and other assets? Why would the President raise doubts given these Supreme Court decisions?

SEC. PANELO: As I said, he is referring to the billions claimed to have been stolen from us which are non-existent. But with respect to those who have been traced—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: How can they be non-existent, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba the claim is $400 billion worth ang ninakaw, eh wala naman tayong ganoong pera. How can you steal something when you don’t have? But with respect doon sa na-trace na—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: But regardless of—

SEC. PANELO: Teka muna, with respect doon sa mga na-trace which is beyond their salary as President and First Lady, iyon ang… under the law, is assumed to be ill-gotten. And papasok iyon doon sa kung magkano ang pag-aari natin, kasi hindi naman ganoon kalaki iyong na-trace eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Regardless sir, though, of the questioned amount for example, there are existing Supreme Court rulings, according to figures, 40 million na dollars [off mic.]

SEC. PANELO: Eh nakita mo, 40 million dollars lang eh ‘di maliit lang iyon.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: And then 658 million in a Swiss accounts. Again, these are some of—

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, oh eh ‘di kung iyon lang ang mga figures mo, hindi puwedeng pumasok iyan kasi we have the kind of money at that time. So if it is beyond your salary eh talagang considered ill-gotten iyon. Ang sinasabi nga ni Presidente sa tingin ko lang ha kasi ‘pag-uusapan namin—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Una sir, ano ang…. Mako-convince lang ang Presidente kung malalabas lahat iyong 400, ganoon ba iyon?

Q: [off mic.]

SEC. PANELO: Paano? Paano?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Kasi you’re saying sir ang hinahanap ni Presidente iyong bigger amount na hinahanap. But then of course there are different cases and they’re accumulating whatever. Are you saying that the President will never be convinced that of the ill-gotten wealth..?

SEC. PANELO: No, iba naman iyong… the matter the President being convinced na ninakaw nila iyong ganoong kalaki is another thing doon sa the Supreme Court has decided that certain amount of money na na-trace which is beyond the salary of the two. Agree siya doon, eh iyon ang ruling ng Korte Suprema eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: So then why would he say na walang napatunayan po?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kaya nga sabi ko, he’s referring doon sa malaking amount na sinasabing ninakaw. Iyon ‘yun, hindi iyong napatunayan na.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, from the President’s perspective. Does he believe that the Marcos’s stole money?

SEC. PANELO: From the President’s perspective as a lawyer, whatever the Supreme Court says, we have no choice but to agree.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No choice?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah. Regardless of… what I’m saying is: what the Supreme Court says is the law and whether you believe it or not it doesn’t matter. Eh iyon ang batas eh kaya dapat gawin natin, sundin natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So the answer is forced, yes?

SEC. PANELO: Not forced yes. Lawyer kami eh so ‘pag kaming… iyan ang napatunayan oh eh ‘di, you have to agree to that, kumbaga talo ka eh, mali iyong… kulang iyong ebidensiya mo. You should bow to the majesty of the law.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. So given that sir, why does he keep repeating… why does he keep poking doubts to that fact?

SEC. PANELO: In reference nga doon sa—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The others?

SEC. PANELO: Doon sa others, iyon ang sinasabi ko sa inyo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Others nga daw na not proven pa?

SEC. PANELO: Oo eh iyon ang sinasabi ni Presidente, kasi kung makapagsalita din naman kasi iyong mga anti-Marcos, ga-bundok ang… iyon pala—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So how much did they steal from your perspective?

SEC. PANELO: Ha?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: How much did they steal?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba sinasabi 400 billion dollars ang ninakaw? Ha, 400 billion dollars eh wala naman tayong perang ganoon! Tapos sinasabi pa ni Jaime Laya, intact ang gold bars. Eh iyon nga ang sinasabi ng mga kaliwa noon, kasama ako doon ha, ninakaw nila iyong mga gold bars, eh hindi naman pala.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, you know what happens to a lie when you keep repeating it? It becomes sounds like the truth?

SEC. PANELO: No, it’s still a lie. Still a lie even if you keep on repeating it, it’s still a lie. I don’t believe in a lie a thousand times repeated has the semblance of truth. I don’t think so. If it’s a lie, it’s still a lie. If it’s a joke, it’s a joke.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So we can apply that to the President? So what is the President’s statement?

SEC. PANELO: Well, the President doesn’t lie. He makes joke and that is a joke.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Applying this sir to the Marcos statements?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, he is not joking there because he’s saying na as I said, from his perspective, you’re saying na he stole this billions of billions, wala naman tayong ganoong bilyon. So he is being truthful, I share his sentiments with respect to that. Now with respect to others na na-trace and beyond the salary of the two, eh tama – ill-gotten, iyon ang presumption ng batas eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, doon lang sa last—

SEC. PANELO: Unless, sabi rin ng batas, unless you can prove that you acquire these from different sources na legit like kung nakuha mo iyan sa Yamashita eh legit iyon except that you will have to share it with the government.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yamashita. Okay, last point. Iyon pong… it was the President who broach up the idea ‘no—

SEC. PANELO: Who?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Si President, out of the blue he said, you know the Marcos’s are willing to return whatever… You mentioned it in passing kanina but if you… are we going to seriously pursue that? Government, na we will ask them to return because they offered?

SEC. PANELO: Oh eh hindi ba sabi ni Presidente eh pag-uusapan, bakit naman ayaw natin? Kasi ang sabi ng pamilya marami tayong deficit, kailangan natin ng pera…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Correct.

SEC. PANELO: Oh they are willing to give that kind of money na… kung makuha. Alam mo you cannot get kasi from what I know, you cannot get the money there eh, sa Swiss. Kasi ang nangyari yata ang daming… Iyong mga dokument0 iba-iba, hindi naman nate-trace kay Marcos eh, nailipat, lipat, lipat na eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: That’s their scheme?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, that was a scheme made, kaya kailangan ng consent noong may ari. Kasi iyan ang depensa ng Swiss, wala sa pangalan ni Marcos pero ang sinasabi naman ng Marcos mayroon silang ebidensiya na sa kanila iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: They are willing to—?

SEC. PANELO: Kasi kahit na pinag-transfer… sampu iyong transfer-transfer mo, eh kung mayroong kang dokumento na nakapirma iyong sampung iyon na pinahiram mo lang sa kanila or in trust lang for me. Oh eh ‘di iyon pa rin iyon. Pero right now this is government’s… will never give the—siyempre, pera nasa kanila eh, kaya kailangan mo pa rin makipag-deal with the Marcoses.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So papaano sir ito, formally papaano? They would have to declare how much they stole?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know, eh sila nag-offer eh ‘di sila ang gumalaw.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So dapat sila ang nag-initiate?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, dapat.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Should they?

SEC. PANELO: They should.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why?

SEC. PANELO: Eh unang-una as the family says, kailangan ninyo ng pera, eh kung mayroon pala kayong pera and willing kayong magbigay eh ‘di ibigay ninyo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Para sa bayan, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Para sa bayan and from what I gather from close allies of the Marcoses noon, in fact si Presidente Marcos daw may ginawang will iyan eh, kasi nga nakuha niya iyong kayamanan hindi naman sa pagnanakaw, sang-ayon sa kaniya kaya he was willing to give. Parang ang binigay niya lang yata sa pamilya mga sampung porsiyento lang, 90 percent sa bayan eh. Iyon ang mga usap-usapan noon eh during the 70s, noong mamamatay na siya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: May mga congressional action ba na kailangan sir iyan? Or is this going… Ano ba ito parang in a legal perspective how does this going to shape up?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, puwedeng may compromise agreement kapag with respect to pending cases.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay sir, thank you.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, I just want to quote iyon decision ng Supreme Court in 2003 regarding that Swiss account. Sabi niya doon sa desisyon mismo, the Swiss deposit which were transferred to and are now deposited in escrow at the Philippine National Bank, the estimated aggregate amount of 658,175,373.63 centavos, dollars ito. As of January 31, 2002 plus interest are hereby forfeited in favor of the petitioner which is the Philippine government. So apparently the money is here in the Philippines, in escrow.

SEC. PANELO: Na escrow, oo.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So, would you not consider it as huge amount na ninakaw ng mga Marcoses?

SEC. PANELO: It’s a huge amount in that sense but what I was saying earlier, kung 600 million iko-compare mo sa 400 billion dollars eh ‘di maliit iyon.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But still—

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman tayong… there is no dispute that if it’s beyond your annual salary, that is assumed to be ill-gotten unless according to the law you can explain where did you get the money legitimately – iyon.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But don’t you think it’s just logical for the President not to say those words na apparently nga creating doubts especially to the new generation if they would not know what happened in the past?

SEC. PANELO: No naman, it’s not… because right now I’m explaining to you from what perspective he is talking, eh ‘di naintindihan na rin nila iyon. Basta he is not questioning the Supreme Court decision. Kung ano iyong desisyon ng Korte Suprema iyon na iyon.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, ano ho ang pagkakaiba ng ninakaw na malaki at ninakaw na maliit?

SEC. PANELO: No, but we are not in the matter of whether it’s small or big. What I’m saying is, if you’re claiming that you steal from me 400 billion dollars… and when I have only 1 billion dollars, how can you say now that you stole from me so much? Iyon lang ang puwede mong nakawin sa akin – palagay ko iyon ang perspective ni Presidente, hindi iyong with respect to the—walang problema doon sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema. What the Supreme Court says is, ‘pag ‘yan ay more than your salary, ill-gotten ‘yan under the law – unless you prove. Eh they never naman introduced evidence, kasi mukhang they never participated. O kaya, the presumption is ill-gotten iyon – that’s why isi-sequester natin kaya naka escrow.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Ang gobyernong ito, ang administrasyong ito’y naniniwala o hindi na ang mga Marcos ay may ninakaw?

SEC. PANELO: Aba, bakit hindi maniniwala kung iyon ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema? But with respect doon sa claim na bilyun-bilyon ang ninakaw, eh medyo malabo iyon. Pero with respect doon sa nakuha na because that’s beyond your salary, ah eh ill-gotten ‘yan – ‘yan ang presumption ng batas. You never introduced naman evidence na sa iyo ‘yan, coming from other legitimate sources, so we will believe what the Supreme Court says.

HENRY URI/DZRH: How can you dispute iyong observations and perhaps opinion na the Palace – you, are lawyering for the Marcoses?

SEC. PANELO: What is that again? How?

HENRY URI/DZRH: Papaano po ninyo ipaliliwanag iyong mga obserbasyon na kayo, ang Palasyo, ang Pangulo… you’re lawyering for the Marcoses in that matter?

SEC. PANELO: Kasi nga hindi nila naintindi iyong point of view ng Presidente. Ang point of view lang ng Presidente with respect to other billions na sinasabing hindi pa napapatunayan iyon; unang-una paano mo mapapatunayan iyon, eh wala naman tayong ganoong pera. But with respect to those cases decided by the court, ay walang question doon, no question doon – iyon na ‘yun eh.

As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, that has been stolen money because it’s beyond your salary.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Okay, thank you.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir just a quick follow up lang po or confirmation lang: kung natanggap na ni President Duterte iyong enrolled bill abolishing the Road Board Regulatory Agency. I believe it was already transmitted February 8.

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa akong info noon with respect to that…

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. But will the President most probably sign the enrolled bill abolishing the Road Board?

SEC. PANELO: Oh yes, because that was his policy then.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, help me because I’ve been trying to Google your figure, 400 billion. What is the basis for the 400 billion again?

SEC. PANELO: Ewan ko, ‘yan ang sinasabi—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ewan ko? [laughs]…

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang palagi kong nababasa na billions of billions of dollars ang ninakaw eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi sir, nakaangkla iyong mga responses ninyo po doon sa—basically what you’re saying is, you cannot steal more than I own, correct?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But your 400, is it grounded in fact?

SEC. PANELO: That was the claim…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: By?

SEC. PANELO: That’s what I read ever since, na ganoon kalaki iyong ninakaw.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Share the readings please, because [laughs]… Is this dollars or pesos?

SEC. PANELO: Dollars eh…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sobra naman noong 400 billion dollars…

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba, kaya nga daw ano… maraming kuwento diyan sa Marcos wealth na ‘yan eh. Hindi mo malaman kung anong totoo diyan…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: That’s why truth is important.

SEC. PANELO: Oo, but—pero what is clear to me and to the President is, there are cases decided by the Supreme Court and that’s it – it’s final. So if the Supreme Court says, as far as this government is concerned, your wealth is beyond – as far as those who have been traced – beyond your salaries, kaya ill-gotten ‘yan, kaya we’ll get that – iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Again, the 400 came from?

SEC. PANELO: Iyong 400 billion, matagal ko nang naririnig iyon; noong ‘70s ko pa naririnig iyon eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Nag-earn na ba ‘yan ng interest, sir? [laughs] From the ‘70s nagkaroon ng interest [laughs]…

SEC. PANELO: 400 billion kasi nga… kaya nga sinasabi ng iba, “Hindi, Yamashita treasure–Yamashita treasurer kasi iyon eh…”

HENRY URI/DZRH: Hindi naman po iyan guni-guni…

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Maraming salamat MPC, maraming salamat, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Salvador Panelo.

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

 

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