Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

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

SEC. PANELO:  Good afternoon; I’m ready if you are.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Secretary, why did the President appoint Secretary Diokno as the BSP Governor? What were the considerations?

SEC. PANELO:  Integrity, competence, expertise.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Despite the allegations from some members of the House in connection with the budget, apparently the President ignored those controversies?

SEC. PANELO:  Because the allegations are not true; I don’t think anybody believed him.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Okay. Kasi dadaan ang BSP Governor sa CA. How confident are you that the CA will accept the appointment?

SEC. PANELO:  Well, that’s their call. We have a good man there, we have an experienced man, we have an expert man, we have a man of integrity. So—

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Do you think iyong budget issues will impede the approval of his—

SEC. PANELO:  I don’t think so.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  No… Okay, thank you Sec.

VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE:  Sir, did the President consider other names for the BSP post?

SEC. PANELO:  Yes, he said so. He had a list. He—

VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE:  Sinong nandoon sir, maliban kay Diokno?

SEC. PANELO:  Ah hindi ko alam iyong—sinabi niya lang maraming names siyang tiningnan, inisa-isa niya.

VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE:  Sir kasi, parang—I think the banking industry had expected na insider iyong mapipili. Why do you think the President opted to go with someone who is not from BSP?

SEC. PANELO:  I already said the qualifications under which the President based his appointment. The banking industry lauded the appointment of Secretary Ben Diokno.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN:  Sir, is the President considering Diokno’s replacement at the DBM?

SEC. PANELO:  What I know is there is an acting now – Attorney Abuel, a lawyer/CPA.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN:  But the President is looking into appointing a permanent Budget Secretary, and what would be his qualifications for the next DBM?

SEC. PANELO:  The same – competence, integrity, expertise; unless Joseph Morong wants to add another qualification.

Oh, ba’t nga wala iyong tatlong girls?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  They have better things to do sir. [laughs]

 SEC. PANELO:  Quoting me, quoting me?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Hindi, I’m just kidding.  [laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  Quoting me nga, quoting me.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Yeah. And I’m sure they are watching.

 Sir, with regard to the budget portfolio ‘no, OIC pa lang for the meantime ‘no? Are we waiting for some people… maybe after the elections we’ll find—get a permanent—

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ko alam. I’ll ask the President.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  No former presidents, former congressmen in the running?

SEC. PANELO:  I don’t think so.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  No? Why? Too small a position—

SEC. PANELO:  If you’re referring to the former president, I don’t think—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Former president who?

SEC. PANELO:  Gloria Arroyo? I don’t think she will want to be in another government position after her stint as Speaker. She says so herself, I believe her.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Okay. Sir, related to the budget ‘no. There’s a statement from Senator Lacson with regard to Speaker Arroyo that… parang nag-realign yata siya, nangialam doon sa menu list ng DOH appropriations for health facilities worth 25 million. So, after the budget has been approved by the bicameral committee and then it was ready for printing, now comes the intervention of Speaker Arroyo.

SEC. PANELO:  By his own admission, Senator Lacson said technically it’s not. It’s not wrong because it has not been signed into law yet, since its Congress who realigns. O ‘di puwede, ‘di pasok pa rin sila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So nothing wrong with Speaker Arroyo tinkering with the 25 million DOH budget?

SEC. PANELO:  Supposed to be it’s the duty of Congress to tinker long the budget so…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So, nothing wrong? Okay, ‘yun muna sir.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM:  Sir ano lang, kailangan lang for soundbyte purposes. Reaction lang ng Palace sa inflation, for soundbyte purposes.

SEC. PANELO:  Well, we are pleased to know that the inflation is going down, as the economic managers said so a few weeks ago. It will go down as expected, given the fact that they have placed certain measures that will put it down.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  Secretary did the Cabinet yesterday discuss the proposal to release the narco-list ahead of the May 2019 elections with the President?

SEC. PANELO:  Not in the Cabinet meeting, but we discussed it after – Secretary Año, the President and I.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  What was the position of the President, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  The position is the statement that I made.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  For the release of the narco-list?

SEC. PANELO:  Yes. You know, while we appreciate and understand the well-meaning individuals saying that the release of the narco-list may violate the presumption of innocence. We’d like to tell them that the Constitution gives the people the right to know matters of public concerns especially those that concern their lives and welfare.

Now, we have placed the drug problem as a national security. In other words, we are on the precipice of destruction of we cannot stop this drug industry. We cannot allow people to run local governments – the barangays – by the destroyers of society. The people have the right to know; while there is an individual right, this individual right must yield to the people’s right to public safety, it must yield to people’s interest or the country’s interest.

Moreover, the constitutional presumption of innocence – to my mind and to the President’s mind – have been waived by reason of their running for public office; because when you run for public office, everything is a fair game – you open yourself to criticism… kakalkalin lahat iyong buhay mo diyan. So noong pumasok sila diyan, they already take the risk of being exposed if they are involved.

So, sa tingin namin eh hindi mag-a-apply iyong presumption of innocence. At kahit nga magdemanda sila ng libel, baka malabo rin sapagkat ang libel kailangan may malicious intent – eh ito hindi eh. Kasi kaya nire-release ‘yan, para malaman ng taumbayan at ng mga botante na itong mga taong ito, na nakalista rito eh ang sumisira sa ating bayan. Karapatan nilang malaman iyon, and it is the duty of the state to preserve itself.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET So when will the government release the narco-list, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  From what I gather from Secretary Año, next week ang parang nasabi niya. And we’ll be filing administrative charges as well as criminal charges against those in the list.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  So, the DILG will first file the charges before releasing the narco-list sir, or the—

SEC. PANELO:  Baka either simultaneous or mauna… It doesn’t matter really kung anong mauna.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET:  Isn’t it proper, sir, for the government to file first the charges before releasing the narco-list?

SEC. PANELO:  It’s not a question of propriety, as I said—kanina nga sa ANC, ang sabi ko, you cannot let the people wait, kasi it takes time filing charges. By the time mag-file ka ng charges baka na-elect na iyong mga iyon.

 ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  Sir, based po sa statement ng CHR, iyong pagre-release ng narco-list, may encourage violence. Dahil po election season, puwedeng maging target iyong mga nasa narco-list ng violence, so—

SEC. PANELO:  Again, I will repeat what I said: it’s a fair game for all candidates who are involved in the drug industry. They know what they are doing is something that is destructive of the fabric of society. So when their names are listed there, they take that risk.

 ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  So, wala pong apprehension ng Malacañang about doon sa pag-increase pa ng mga election-related violence dahil po sa pagre-release ng narco-list?

SEC. PANELO:  Wala. Kung merong mangyari, eh hindi na natin kasalanan iyon. At saka as I said, ‘they take the risk.’ By running kakalkalin talaga sila diyan at kung hindi alam ng mga tao at may ginagawa silang masama, may problema talaga sila.

The voters have the right to live, the voters have the right to be safe, the voters have the right to reject people who have placed this country in danger of being destroyed.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, did you discuss how many?

SEC. PANELO:  How many?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Yeah, government officials are in the narco-list?


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Because PDEA is saying is 82 now.

SEC. PANELO:  The what?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  82 na iyong PDEA figure, I think.

SEC. PANELO:  82 ang nasa listahan? Hindi nabanggit eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, iyon pong admin charges, puwede ba iyong samahan ng suspension?

SEC. PANELO:  I think so, yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So when you file—when you come out with the narco-list next week, puwede na ring… or that will include suspension of local government officials?

SEC. PANELO:  Puwede, could be.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  No effect on the elections of whatsoever.

SEC. PANELO:  What do you mean, no effect?

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  May be used as political tool in… you know.

SEC. PANELO:  Eh sabi ko na nga kanina they take that risk; fair game iyan pag election. Alam naman nila iyang—kung talaga—kung involved sila at pumasok sila diyan, eh talagang mailalantad sila. Alam mo kahit na wala pa sa listahan iyan, iyong mga kandidatong kalaban nila ilalabas iyan in their areas.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  Hi, sir. Sir, paano iyong—wala ba silang karapatan sa right to due process iyong mga those in the narco-list?

SEC. PANELO: Sinabi ko na nga sa iyo, ang due process na tinatawag is you give the people a chance to defend themselves, di ba. Kaya nga may constitutional presumption of innocence. But as I said earlier, sa tingin ko they already waived that right nung pumasok sila diyan.

How can you demand that you are presumed innocent when you are involved in something criminal? Another thing, the due process clause applies to the life, the liberty or property.  Baka nga hindi sila pumasok doon eh, kasi you don’t deprive them naman of those three things pag nilabas mo lang iyong listahan. And don’t forget please that the people have the right to be informed, right nila rin iyon eh. And more importantly, it’s the duty of the government to protect the citizenry from harm and as we know the drug industry has harmed us a lot – it has destroyed families and it has funded the rebellion in Mindanao, kaya malaki ang problema talaga natin. Kaya si Presidente is fighting it with passion to destroy the illegal drug trade.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir, does the list include names of senatorial candidates, national politicians?

SEC. PANELO:  I do not know the names. But I will not be surprised—if you are involved and you are running for whatever position, masasama ka doon whether you’re in the administration or in the opposition.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  So it’s both local and national.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, hindi ko nga alam. I will not be surprised lang, kung meron man. Pero hindi ko alam, wala akong personal knowledge.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Did Mr. Año tell the President—




ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Yes, did he tell the President that information on this list has been verified?

SEC. PANELO:   Ah, oo. Alam po ninyo, tandaan ninyo iyong technology ngayon masyadong modern, madaling malaman—nakakapasok sa mga telepono ngayon ang surveillance, nalalaman ang pag-uusapan. Kaya mahirap ding tanggihan pag sinabi ng law enforcement na kasama ka rito, meron kaming tape, meron kaming—at saka don’t forget also that there were thousands of surrenderees, these people are the one’s providing the law enforcement agencies of names of those involved – kung sino ang nagbenta sa kanila, sino ang nagpu-push. Pati na iyong mga naaresto na nademanda, ang iba diyan nagiging state witness, di siyempre magtutu-turo iyan. Kaya validated iyong nasa listahan na iyon.

Tandaan ninyo, out of lima—mga isang libong mahigit yata iyong nasa listahan noon, sino ba ang nagreklamo lang – si Governor Espino lang at saka dalawa pa yata. Can you imagine that? In a hundred percent for instance, kung ang nagreklamo .002%, ibig sabihin matindi iyong validation noon.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Good afternoon, sir. Sir, ano ho iyong mauuna, sasampahan ng kaso ng DILG iyong suspected narco-politicians o iyong maglalabas ng listahan?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ko alam kung either or—puwedeng either or, puwedeng simultaneous.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, iyong follow up ko. Ilan na po iyong nasampahan ng kaso doon sa previous narco-list po na inilabas ni Presidente?

SEC. PANELO:  I will have to ask from the PNP Chief at saka sa DOJ.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  Sir, puwedeng pa-explain lang sir kung saan galing iyong puwedeng mag-listen sa mga phones and mag tape ng mga conversations of suspected drug lords or those in the narco-list as you mentioned earlier?

SEC. PANELO:  ‘Di ba, iyan ang ginagawa naman talaga ng mga law enforcement agencies; but you cannot introduce that as evidence in Court, pero as far as they are concerned alam nila. Kaya siguro kahit na alam na nilang involved naghahanap sila ng testimonial at saka documentary evidence, kasi hindi nila pupuwedeng ilabas iyon, hindi tatanggapin ng hukuman  iyon.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR:  So at this point, sir, ang mga PNP investigators natin hanggang mga preliminary investigation pa lang, kasi they don’t have enough evidence to file—

SEC. PANELO:  Meron na ngang ipa-file si Secretary Año, that means meron na silang mga ebidensiya din with respect to those na magiging subject of prosecution.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, you are not denying ‘no na that our law enforcement agencies are wiretapping drug suspects?

SEC. PANELO:  Di ba inaamin nila iyon. Kahit nga si Presidente sinabi niya, oo alam ko, kaya ko nalaman iyan dahil may nag-provide—not necessarily sila ha, not necessarily law enforcement agencies natin, kasi I don’t think we have the capability. Wala tayo noon eh—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Come on, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Ang mga nagpo-provide sa atin mga… sa ibang bansa eh. Ang magagaling diyan Israel, magaling diyan America, Russia, China. In other words, they provide us with the information. Kung tayo lang, eh wala, kopong-kopong pa yata iyong mga instrumento natin eh.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Sir, they wiretapped from outside the country?

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, hindi ba?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Where did they operate?

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi ko alam, basta ang alam ko, hindi ba sabi ni Presidente, kaya niya nalaman iyong conversation – remember nung may sinabi siya – kasi sinuplayan siya ng taped conversation. I forgot na kung sino iyong personality na iyon.

Q:  Off mic.

SEC. PANELO:  Apart from that, meron pang isa eh, si Loida Nicolas.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, paano ito? Meaning to say, the Philippine government asked these agencies outside the Philippines to coordinate with our government to surveil these individuals?

SEC. PANELO: No, not ask. Tandaan mo na iyong mga bansa, all countries help each other in fighting terrorism and criminality. Siguro in the course of this cooperation, nagbibigay sila ng impormasyon.



TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Sir, palinaw lang: Ang wiretapping is still illegal under the law, except—


 TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR:—crimes na … like kidnapping kung live. Sir, sa Philippines—

SEC. PANELO: Unless na mayroong sanction ng hukuman.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Pero, sir, paano kung iyong foreign countries providing wiretapped conversion to Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman natin magagamit iyon. But for purposes of knowing kung sino iyong mga suspected criminals…

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Foreign country providing the Philippines with information obtained from illegal source, like wiretapping a person’s mobile conversation.

SEC. PANELO: Ang tanong mo kung …?

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Illegal ba iyong act?

SEC. PANELO: Walang batas na nagsasabing iligal iyon, kung binibigyan tayo ng impormasyon.  In fact, we should be thankful na we are being provided with information relative to criminal activities in this country.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Iyon nga, sir, kahit iligal, we are gladly allowing foreign countries like Israel to wiretap, to bug our communications in the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman ginagawa sa atin eh, di hindi iligal. Sa atin iligal, eh kung sa kanila baka allowed.

 REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: But we are subscribing to what they are gathering from their wiretapping illegal in the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Aba—sabi ko nga dapat magpasalamat tayo kung binibigyan tayo ng impormasyon eh. We should be thankful kasi we will be destroying the criminal activities because of information given us.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Lastly, doon sa pag-release. Okay na ba si PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino? Kasi medyo malamig siya ‘di ba, medyo may reservation siya doon sa release ng narco list.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. But since there is already a policy by the President…

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Iyon na iyon? Okay, thank you.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So, sir, to what extent lang po nagagamit iyong whatever information we get from wiretapping? As lead lang po ba sa possible suspect or suspects? Saan po natin nagagamit iyong information—

SEC. PANELO: Oh eh ‘di at least malalaman mo na kung sino ang mga involved, ‘di isu-surveillance mo na iyon, hahanap ka na ngayon, i-in trap mo for one; or another, iba-validate mo kung totoo coming from your other sources – iyong mga nag-surrender, iyong mga naaresto. Eh iyong surveillance lang, malaking bagay iyon. Kapag binabantayan mo iyong isang tao at gumawa siya ng pushing, oh di malalaman mo na.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Ano po iyong particular government agency na nagpa-process nitong information? Sino iyong tumatanggap?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam iyong portion na iyan.  Iyong akin eh educated ano ko lang iyon, na saan ba nila kukunin iyon dahil wala naman silang ano eh. As I said, I don’t think we have the capability. Wala naman tayong capability na ganoon eh. We don’t have that kind of equipment—and I’ve got that from the President himself when he said na may nagpu-provide ng impormasyon sa atin.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: So you are saying, sir, the government finds nothing wrong with foreign countries surveilling or spying on Filipinos?

SEC. PANELO: Sa mga criminal activities, okay sa akin iyon, if you will ask me. Criminal activities, iyon lang.  Kasi nga, in the interaction of countries, mayroong mga kasunduan na they will be providing each other with information relative to criminal activities doon sa mga bansa nila – natutulungan, in other words.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, won’t this violate the privacy rights of Filipino citizens?

SEC. PANELO: Pero alam mo, magiging ano diyan, pareho rin iyan ng right to information, right of an individual to the presumption of innocence. Iwi-waive mo iyong interes ng bansa as against an individual right. Palaging superior iyong pangkaramihan.

I think it’s about time na we should be fearful na iyong karapatan ng pangkahalatan ay hindi napapangalagaan rather than masyado tayong pinapangambahan iyong isang indibidwal na karapatan. Mas mangingibabaw siyempre iyong pangkalahatan nating kaligtasan kaysa doon sa isang karapatan ng isang tao lamang.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Konting follow up lang, sir. Sir, in case may magreklamo na sabihin their rights are violated because of, iyon nga, resulta ng wiretapping, can’t anyone sue the government for that, given na you already admitted na we are using this information as lead?

SEC. PANELO: Wala namang kasalanan ang gobyerno roon kasi binigyan ka ng impormasyon. When the basis of that—

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Pero ginamit ninyo iyong information, ginamit ng gobyerno iyong information?

SEC. PANELO: Oh eh bakit, ano bang masama doon na binigyan ka ng impormasyon ng kahit na saang galing na impormasyon. If it pinpoints a criminal activity, and the basis of that, you surveil the person subject of such an information – hindi masama iyon.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Even if, sir, iyong process of getting the information is illegal, illegally obtained – at least under our Constitution, it’s not legal – hindi sila puwedeng mag-file ng any case against the government for using the information?

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi. Eh di ang idemanda nila iyong nag-ano, iyong nag-violate ng kanilang … kung sinuman ang nag-violate ng karapatan nila. Pero iyong information na gagamitin lang natin, hindi masama iyon. Source mo iyan ng information eh, magiging basis mo nga iyon.


SEC. PANELO: You’re not speaking for the narco group? [laughs]

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, on another topic. Okay lang? Sir, kahapon, nandoon naman din po si Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin sa Cabinet meeting, right, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, yes.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. Na-discuss po ba iyong incident sa Pag-asa Island? Were you able to get a confirmation from him?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, hindi namin napag-usapan. May agenda kasi. Hindi kasama sa agenda iyong—bina-validate pa siguro iyon ng Department of National Defense kung totoo.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. So wala pang marching order si President with regards to that? Wala naman siyang utos?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman kailangan siyang mag-utos. Kapag mayroong balitang ganiyan, trabaho na ng Department of National Defense to check on that.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, ano po ang agenda ng DFA? You mentioned na mayroon silang separate agenda during the meeting? So ano po iyong na-raise up?



SEC. PANELO: Yeah, iyong agenda, oo.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: You mean, general. Okay. So wala namang—

SEC. PANELO: Iyong ni-release kong statement, iyon lang ang napag-usapan.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Sec, iyong approval ng Annex doon sa normalization, can you elaborate—

SEC. PANELO: Ano iyong normalization?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Iyong sa statement ninyo kanina, iyong sa Annex. Iyong approval by the President of the Annex on the normalization, ano iyong implications nito sa peace effort sa Mindanao? How will it benefit the country in general?

SEC. PANELO: Oh hindi ba, lahat ng pupuwedeng magawa natin para makapagdagdag sa ating goal na maging mapayapa, gagawin natin. Anything that is contributory to the goal of peace in that place, we will do it.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Sir, ano iyong significance ba ng Annex na iyon, Secretary, at saka ng development na iyon na na-aprub na iyong Annex?

SEC. PANELO: O di makakatulong nga sa ano, sa transition government.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: So it will parang mapapabilis iyong normalization doon sa—

SEC. PANELO: Yes, yes.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Okay. Thank you, Sec.

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN: Sir, iyong normalization, di ba ito iyong de-commissioning of MILF troops and the weapons. Under the proposed EO, who will supervise the …

SEC. PANELO: I haven’t seen the—ang alam ko—ang general knowledge ko nga …hindi ko alam exactly kung sino. But the fact is the MILF has allowed itself to be subjected to the process. Eh talaga naman iyong mga iyan, gusto na rin nila ng kapayapaan. Ayaw na nila ng gulo. Sino bang may gusto ng gulo?

GENALYN KABILING/MANILA BULLETIN:  Sir, may nabanggit ba si Presidente sa timeline na—‘di ba after ratification, they have this percentage na kailangan decommission iyong—

SEC. PANELO:  Yeah. Palagay ko they will follow the process.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, we’re interested doon sa EO, because there are several aspects to the normalization annex ‘no; one of those is the establishment of a Bangsamoro Police Force. Right now the BOL says that’s going to be a—well, hindi siya proposal as a separate Bangsamoro police, but in the BOL it’s just the Bangsamoro Regional Police. Now, iyon ba iyong EO sir na magko-constitute tayo ng Bangsamoro Regional Police Force?

SEC. PANELO:  I haven’t read the Executive Order.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  But I guess, there was a presentation by Secretary Galvez in the Cabinet meeting that discussed this I guess? [laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  Hmm… Hindi ko na ano, kasi nasa—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Not listening [laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  At that time—No. I remember kasi noong si Secretary Galvez was presenting, nandoon ako sa adjacent room, may kausap ako eh, so hindi ko narinig iyong portion. I will read the Executive Order and I’ll make a statement on your question.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Also the normalization, mayroon sir ‘yan program eh, ng decommissioning so…


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So at this point that we have already ratified the BOL and constituted the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the forces that should have been decommissioned per program should have been 65%; 30% up to the ratification and then 35 more. So—

SEC. PANELO:  Your question is kung nasunod iyon?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Well obviously, parang wala pa sir ‘no. So, baka kasi iyong EO—

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, tanungin natin baka naman mayroon na.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Baka sir kasi iyong EO should operationalize the decommissioning process, that’s why we’re interested.

SEC. PANELO:  Sige, I’ll take note of all the things that you said para we can examine the Executive Order, at the same time tanungin ko iyong grupo nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sige sir, thank you.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM:  Sir, sa statement ninyo regarding the Cabinet meeting, you also mentioned that iyong national program on family planning was also presented. Can you give us more details on that? Was it just presented or the President approved the implementation plan at kailan po magro-rollout iyong plano?

SEC. PANELO:  Basta na-approve iyong plano, magkaroon ng… somebody moved for the approval, and all of us agreed.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM:  Ano po iyong nandoon sa plan, sa implementation plan for family planning?

SEC. PANELO:  I don’t know the specific plans. I’ll have to look at the detail noong plano, and then I’ll issue a statement.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM:  Thank you, sir. Pasama na rin sir sa statement if you’re going to issue, kailan iyong rollout ng plan.


JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM:  Thank you, sir.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR:  Hi, sir. Just to clarify sir, you said earlier po that there was nothing wrong with the manipulations being allegedly undertaken by the House on the ratified bicameral committee report prior to the printing and enrollment of the budget measure?

SEC. PANELO:  Yes, until it’s not signed into law, ‘di technically speaking… by the admission of Senator Lacson himself eh puwedeng pakialaman nila. Eh kasi sila naman talaga makikialam doon sa budget.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR:  Pero sir, I think it was Senator Lacson who is opposing to that idea—

 SEC. PANELO:  Yes, he is opposing it kasi sabi niya kahit na technically ang feeling niya mali. Pero siya rin ang nagsabi na technically since it’s still a bill.


SEC. PANELO:  Pero what is important I think is, the President will have to evaluate. We’ll consider the issues raised against certain realignments and then it will be his call whether to approve it or veto certain provisions.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR:  Uhum. So can we say that the alleged act of Congress is constitutional in that sense po? This manipulation?

SEC. PANELO:  In the stickiest sense of the word, it’s constitutional because it’s not yet—wala pang enrolled bill eh. Nasa kanila pa eh.


Q:  [off mic] After the bicam…

SEC. PANELO:  O eh nasa bicam nga, pero—unang-una, hindi ba sinasabi nga ng mga constitutional experts, iyong bicam nga hindi nga dapat iyon eh. Hindi ba dapat supposed to be House lang, sa Senado.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Pero follow up. Kasi—ah, correct us if we’re wrong ha. ‘Pag nag-bicam Sec., in-approve iyong committee report, ‘di ba dapat iyong committee report ng bicam, iyon ‘yung ita-transmit sa Office of the President?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh kung hindi naman na-transmit iyon tapos ginalaw uli nila.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Eh kasi, paano iyong approval? Invalid iyong approval noon.


ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Kasi Sec. ‘di ba kung buong committee iyong mag-a-approve noon, kung iyong isang tao lang iyong gagalaw noon, hindi alam noong committee iyon.

SEC. PANELO:  Alam mo, nasa Congress iyon eh. Whatever they submit as an enrolled final bill, iyon ang titingnan ng Presidente kung a-approve—pipirmahan niya o hindi—

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Kahit hindi iyon ‘yung form na in-approve noong committee?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh kung ‘yun ang officially iyong sinubmit mo eh, ‘di in effect you have already modified whatever agreement you had between the two Houses.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  So, walang mali doon? I mean…

SEC. PANELO:  Eh nasa kanila iyon eh, kasi—sa kanila iyon eh, hindi naman sa amin iyon eh.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Pero whatever it is, titingnan naman iyon ni Presidente—

SEC. PANELO:  Yeah. Definitely titingnan niya kung…


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, doesn’t it sounds/smell/taste like ‘pork’?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh lahat naman ‘yan pork iyong mga ‘yan ‘di ba?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  No, hmm… In particular—

SEC. PANELO:  Ang hindi ko maintindihan, is kung nagkaroon na sila ng bicameral committee, paano mapapakialaman ng isang House?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Exactly the point, sir…

SEC. PANELO:  Exactly. So in other words, sila rin iyon. So problema nila iyon, hindi namin problema iyon. They have to solve their problem internally, not us. Kasi maghihintay lang kami kung ano sinubmit ninyo sa amin, iyon ang titingnan namin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Pero sir, going back to the question. Is it not pork? Because again the scenario is: bicam has already passed the bill, now it’s just waiting for transmission and signature of the President. Supreme Court defines ‘pork’ as ‘post enactment intervention.’ Are you questioning—or is it an issue of the definition of ‘enactment,’ enacted by whom? Congress or—

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, teka muna ha. Iyong post enactment na sinasabi mo, ang sinasabi ng Supreme Court, bago nagkaroon ng submission sa Kongreso, wala pang pera doon; hindi pa naka-specify kung kanino, hindi ba? Pagdating sa kanila, saka mo lang lalagyan – iyon ang insertion. Pero since mayroon na, ni-realign—kasi nga iyon nga ang trabaho nila, to realign the funds.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir I think ang issue is ‘when’ ginawa. Ngayon sir, ang pino-point ni Senator Lacson is iyong nangyaring 25 million na realignment ni Speaker Arroyo came after Congress – Senate and the House – approved a bicameral committee; enacted on their—approved that version. Is this not pork, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Basta ang posisyon namin diyan, that’s your problem. Internal ninyong problema iyon, i-solve ninyo.


SEC. PANELO:  O sa kanila iyon eh, dahil nag-usap na sila, nagkasundo na sila tapos papakialaman ng iba. O eh kami naman naghihintay lang kung ano isa-submit ninyo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So sir kapag lumusot iyon—ay, ginawa na nga sir eh. Is the President going to sign that?

SEC. PANELO:  Ay, ‘di nasa ano na iyon… call ni Presidente iyon. Siyempre papakinggan niya iyong mga naririnig niyang … raising issues against it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Meaning, he may?

SEC. PANELO:  Na ano?


SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, call niya nga iyon. Hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin niya doon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Kasi wala tayo sir opinion whether that’s good or bad, right? Because it’s the Congress’ problem…

SEC. PANELO:  Eh kasi sila iyon eh, dapat sila ang tanungin mo kung good or bad. Alam mo kung may problema sila doon, then… one or two or three of them, or most of them should do something about it. They can go to the Supreme Court to stop it. Bakit hindi nila ginagawa?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Thank you, sir.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Sir, medyo peculiar kasi iyong nangyari. ‘Di ba after ng bicameral conference committee, there comes an approved bicam report; then afterwards nagsibalikan sila on its own, sa House, doon sa Senado at nagkaroon ng plenarization to ratify – hanggang inabot sila ng hanggang… ano sir, madaling araw—

SEC. PANELO:  You mean to tell me—hindi ko alam iyon ha. You mean to tell me, after the bicam nagbalikan?


SEC. PANELO:  O ‘di—

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Baka doon iyong nangyaring singitan, oo…

SEC. PANELO:  O ‘di ibig sabihin, hindi iligal iyong ginawa nila. Kung bumalik sa plenary eh…

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Inabot nga ng madaling araw eh…

Q: Procedure talaga—

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Procedural na bumalik sila, tapos doon nila ni-ratify on its own sa House—

SEC. PANELO:  Kaya nga, when they were supposed to be ratifying it, binago nila ‘di ba?

Q:  [off mic] Iyong House…

SEC. PANELO:  Exactly.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Sa House iyong nabago.

SEC. PANELO:  Kaya nga, kaya nga… Kaya nga ang point ko, kasi dapat pagdating sa kanila ira-ratify nila iyong pinagkasunduan sa bicam—


SEC. PANELO:  Eh pagdating sa kanila, binago nila – tapos in-approve ng plenary. O eh ‘di na—ano?

Q:  [off mic] Binago—

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi… ganito iyon eh – ni-ratify muna ng each House, tapos punta rito sa bicam. Tapos, bakit ibabalik sa kanila?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, procedure iyon sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Oo nga, to ratify it uli?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Na parang ganito ‘yan, sir. So tayo – Senate ka, House ako tapos nag-usap tayo; tapos sabi natin A plus B, okay. Babalik ako sa House ko, babalik po kayo sa Senate—


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  —at sasabihin natin, ito ‘yung napag-usapan natin – A plus B, as a matter of constitutional procedure sir. Okay?  What happened is – sa akin House – A plus B plus C.

SEC. PANELO:  Ako hindi—sa tingin ko hindi constitutional procedure iyong sinasabi mo eh – that’s internal. Kasi ang constitutional, sinasabi lang doon iyong House saka Senado – kung anong maa-approve ninyo, iyon na ‘yun. Pero binago nila eh, among themselves nagkaroon sila ng mga bicameral – kaya ang tingin ko diyan, noong binalik mo sa House, they have the right to realign, kasi plenary session iyon eh. Aba, ‘pag plenary they can do everything.

Q:  [off mic]

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi nga. Correct, in-approve, eh kung nag-reconsider? You get the point? Binalik ni—kahit pa in-approve mo, kung binalik uli sa amin. Halimbawa, ako miyembro ng Kongreso—

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Kasi nga ‘di ba Sec., ‘pag may konting pagkakaiba lang iyong draft noong bills kailangan mong mag-bicam ‘di ba? Oo. So ibig sabihin noon, after nilang mag-bicam, and then each House pinasa nila iyon… each House para i-ratify, iyong sa isa iba; iyong sa Senate iba, so paano iyon?

SEC. PANELO:  Basta ako ang tingin ko diyan—ang tingin ko diyan, kung iyong plenary ng House in-approve nila iyong panibago, aba eh constitutional iyon. Kasi unang-una, iyong committee, hindi naman constitutional entity iyon eh; ginawa lang nila iyon eh. Sa tingin ko, iyong bicam ginawa lang nila iyon for expediency dahil nga hindi sila nagkakasundo – sige pag-usapan na lang natin—

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  So Sec., ano iyong version na mata-transmit kay President?

SEC. PANELO:  Ay, hindi natin alam kung anong bersiyon ipapadala nila.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  So, dalawa iyong 2019 budget?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, isa lang sigurado iyong ipapadala nila. Kung ano iyong dumating sa amin, ‘di iyon ang titingnan ni Presidente.

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO:  Okay na? Thank you, MPC. Thank you, Secretary Panelo.


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