ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Good morning, MPC; magandang umaga Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Secretary Salvador Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Good morning. I’m ready… Ace, Ace kaagad ang nakataas eh. [laughs]
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sec., can you elaborate on the President’s statement last night that he will not sign any illegal document? Was he referring to the controversies hounding the 2019 budget and the supposed last minute amendments introduced by House leaders?
SEC. PANELO: Well, generally he’s referring to anything that will fall under the prohibitive clause of the Constitution. Anything that is illegal/unconstitutional, he will not be a part of that. Right now, there is a controversy between the House and the Senate – the Senate claims that the itemization of the 79-billion funds is unconstitutional, but the House claims that it is not. So, let us see.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Can it be viewed as some sort of a warning or maybe an appeal that you should not put amendments or last minute changes to the budget after you ratified it?
SEC. PANELO: Well it could mean that way; it could also mean that you settle your differences together so that we can have a new budget. I understand they will be having meeting tonight, maybe that’s the agenda where they have to thresh out whatever differences they have.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, what could be the talking points of the President during the meeting?
SEC. PANELO: You know the style of the President – he listens. He listens and let the protagonists settle among themselves – kumbaga, moderator lang siya. ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Thank you, Sec.
TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Sir, ano po ang ini-expect natin na posibleng lumabas sa bibig mamaya ni Presidente during the meeting with the senators? Makikiusap kaya siya?
SEC. PANELO: Definitely hindi “PI” [laughter]. As I said, parang moderator lang siya, makikinig lang iyon. Baka he just—I’m just speculating, he may have brought the two together just so they can talk and discuss.
TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Will you be there in the meeting, sir?
SEC. PANELO: No, because I have another event to attend to eh previously scheduled. Unless of course, the President says I have to be there.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, will the President make sure na after ng meeting niya with the leaders of the Congress, mapaplantsa na iyong issue on budget?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman kay Presidente iyon, ‘di ba? That will depend on the two Houses.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Pero iyon ang goal ni President, that after meeting them today—
SEC. PANELO: Yes, of course. The goal—dapat the goal of all branches of government is to unite and have as a goal the welfare of the people.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Can we say sir that after their meeting ngayon ay plantsado na iyong issue and mata-transmit na eventually iyong copy of the budget?
SEC. PANELO: We hope for the best.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Hi, sir. Sir as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, is it legal for congressmen to make last minute amendments or to amend the budget after it’s been approved by both Houses in joint Congress?
SEC. PANELO: You know as a lawyer, I always say that there are as many opinions as there are lawyers – it’s a grey area. It’s a grey area, it’s… the Supreme Court will have to decide on that. But they don’t have to raise that as an issue, they can just agree with each other.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: But the fact is, senators have raised it as an issue and now you’re saying that perhaps only the Supreme Court could settle it?
SEC. PANELO: No. The final arbiter of any legal issue will be the Supreme Court; but why do you have to go to the Supreme Court if you can settle it among yourselves?
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: So, there’s no opinion on your part as Legal Counsel of the President? Aren’t you going to advise the President on… ano ba dapat; sino ba ang tama doon sa dalawa?
SEC. PANELO: We will discuss it if the issue is raised before me. So far, it is has not been raised.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, kaninong initiative itong meeting sir?
SEC. PANELO: Ay, ‘yan ang hindi ko alam. Nalalaman ko lang ‘yan kay Joseph eh [laughs]. Hindi ko alam kung sino ang nag-initiate.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, sinu-sino iyong mga senators and congressmen who will be there?
SEC. PANELO: Ang alam ko lang si Senate President at saka si Speaker.
Q: [off mic]
SEC. PANELO: Ah, o eh so… baka si ano lang… baka si Senate President lang.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, will you be there again?
SEC. PANELO: Walang notice sa akin na kailangan akong nandoon eh.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Pero, would you want to be there?
SEC. PANELO: Kung sasabihan ako, kasi I have an event to attend to tonight – two events in fact.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Alright, thank you sir.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sec., clarification. So what will make the 2019 budget an illegal document?
SEC. PANELO: O eh, if it goes against the Constitution.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Like?
SEC. PANELO: Like what the Supreme Court said, the Supreme Court said that it’s illegal to have—anong sabi niya – lump sum na wala sa budget, ‘yun. Eh wala naman yata sa kanila ganoong, ‘di ba?
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Iyong last minute changes, post-ratification, will that make it illegal?
SEC. PANELO: Ano kasi iyon, grey area. Kasi hati ang mga abogado diyan eh – puwedeng illegal, puwedeng hindi. Kasi ang point nila is, since wala pang enrolled bill, how can it be legal? Ang sabi naman nila since tapos na sa bicam, o ‘di any alignment or tinkering will be illegal.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, as the President’s Chief —
SEC. PANELO: Parang both sides puwede eh, hindi mo maa—kaya nga sabi ko, i-settle ninyo na lang ‘yan dahil—hindi ko nga maintindihan ba’t sila nag-aaway tungkol sa 75 billion eh.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Pero as the President’s Chief Legal Adviser, what are your thoughts on that?
SEC. PANELO: Well if he ask me, then I will render my opinion.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Aralin ninyo muna—
SEC. PANELO: The moment he ask me.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, aralin ninyo muna?
SEC. PANELO: But knowing he is a very good lawyer, baka hindi na magtanong iyon.
ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sige Sec., salamat.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir right now, the President has already made a judgment ‘no?
SEC. PANELO: No, not on the budget. Ang sinasabi niya, as a general rule he will not make—he will not sign an illegal document.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No, because he was referring to the budget yesterday. It was premised—ah, he mentioned first that there’s a… some intramurals between the House and the Senate and then he said—he determined. He said that, ‘I cannot sign any—ano ‘to… ano iyong direct quote niya? ‘Any document that would be illegal—anything that is illegal.’ So right now, do you think that’s already a judgment on the status of the budget?
SEC. PANELO: No, I don’t think so. Kasi… a lawyer will always listen to both sides – kung anong mabigat, doon siya pupunta. Kung alin mas maganda para sa kaniyang pananaw. He has to listen, siguro that’s why they’re meeting tonight. Both sides will be articulating their legal views on the matter.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, sir. So right now ang problema kasi diyan sir, after the bicam ratification gumalaw ‘no iyong House. So meaning, for it to—ang sinasabi ng Senate, para mawala iyong problem na ‘yan, just return to the bicam version. Is that what the Palace wants?
SEC. PANELO: Wala naman sinasabi si Presidenteng iyon ang gusto niya. Basta ang gusto niya, i-submit ninyo na nang malaman ko na kung tama iyong ginawa ninyo o mali. He will have to evaluate it himself.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Uhum… So puwede rin niya sir i-allow iyong movements ng House budget?
SEC. PANELO: Pupuwede niyang i-allow, puwede niya ring i-veto – depende sa kaniyang ano…
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But as a matter of principle sir, in terms of maybe transparency or corruption—anti-corruption drive, would you think he would retain it?
SEC. PANELO: Ako, kung tatanungin mo ang view ko doon, iyong amendment nila kung ipinasok uli nila sa plenary session iyon at in-approve, baka malakas ang posisyon nila na they have not done anything illegal. Eh pero kung ayaw naman—ang problema kung ayaw naman ng Senado, they will insist, o mayroon silang bone of contention. Kaya nga, that’s why I think they will be resolving that tonight.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero sir—
SEC. PANELO: Ako, I will make an educated guess – I think they will be settled. They will be settled, kasi alam nila that any reenacted budget will affect the operations of the government. Maraming maaapektuhan eh, kaya alam naman nila iyon, kaya siguro—that’s why they have by themselves initiated this dialogue.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the Palace prefers that we really get the 2019, correct?
SEC. PANELO: Oh yes, definitely.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So by—how do we achieve that, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Eh di—tonight, we will know.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, hindi iyon, sir, parang the President telegraphing what he wants to the Senate and then the House?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, gusto lang nilang—siguro gusto niyang mapakinggan iyong sides ng both.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, good morning. Sir, with regards kay GM Balutan. What happened, sir, why is there a clarification with regards to the Malacañang—
SEC. PANELO: Because the resignation came after the announcement. Kaya—kumbaga na late iyong announcement eh. In fact, I was talking to him, sabi ko, ‘ba’t kasi hindi naano iyan…’ parang na-delay lang daw, kaya tuloy nagkaproblema.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: What does it mean, sir, he was fired before he submitted his resignation letter?
SEC. PANELO: No. You must remember, di ba sabi ni Presidente, kapag may mga serious allegations of corruption, iyong whiff lang nga eh. Eh matagal nang iniimbestigahan iyon, di ba? Sa House, meron na ngang finding ang House eh.
But si General Balutan, in fairness to him, he said ‘since merong mga serious allegations sa akin, I will resign out of delicadeza because of serious allegations of corruption.’ Kumbaga, whether he was fired on that basis at nag-resign siya on that basis, iisa pa rin ang naging basis – there is a serious allegation of corruption. On his side, he wants to have an investigation on that and he would not want to be viewed as clinging to a position when there are serious allegations of corruption to him.
Si Presidente naman, ayaw niya ng a whiff of corruption, at since marami nang nagrereklamo, ang dami na pati sa House, eh minabuti niyang—eh ang problema nga nauna iyong—nahuli iyong kanyang resignation.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Meaning sir—how did you learn that he resigned and he was not fired?
SEC. PANELO: Noong dumating iyong letter of resignation.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So, was there a discussion between the President and GM Balutan that he needs to leave his position in PCSO?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi na, wala na.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Was he asked to resign—
SEC. PANELO: Kami ang nag-usap kahapon, hindi sabi ko sa inyo, nag-usap kami kahapon.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So there was a meeting, sir, between you and GM Balutan?
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, kahapon after—nung when I learned that there was a resignation letter, tiningnan ko iyong resignation, meron nga.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: And ano iyong napag-usapan, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Well, sabi niya—siyempre, he is defending himself. He said he really wants an investigation and I told him I will write a memo to the President and request the President to grant your request for an investigation. Okay naman sa kanya iyon.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: What particular issue po iyong naging dahilan bakit nag-resign si GM Balutan? What particular corruption issue—
SEC. PANELO: Marami eh. Di ba, iyong first, di ba iyong sa House; merong findings ang COA, iyong mga certain STL hindi… cannot reach their goal, tapos nire-renew. Tapos meron pang incident daw doon na may mga dalang pera na dinala sa kung anong floor iyon, but sinasabi niya naman, hindi sa kuwarto ko iyon, sa kuwarto iyon ng ibang board of directors. Tapos sinasabi niya rin na they are saying na ako ang nag-renew, but it’s not true, because it’s the board decision not mine at tinanggal na nila sa akin iyon. O kaya, sabi niya, gusto kong malaman ng tao na hindi ako iyon. But, since they are charging me with corruption, sabi niya out of delicadeza, resign na ako.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Did the President accept his resignation, sir?
SEC. PANELO: I think so. At saka isa pa, irrevocable, nakita ko iyong letter – irrevocable resignation.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQ.NET: Sir, in your initial statement on Balutan, you mentioned that he was fired due to serious corruption allegations. Was it the President who told you that he was fired due to corruption allegations?
SEC. PANELO: Not him directly.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQ.NET: But from the Office of the President, sino sir because…
SEC. PANELO: Hmm… basta doon sa lugar niyang iyon, pero hindi ko siya nakausap.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQ.NET: Okay, sir, so what’s next now for GM Balutan, did the President ordered an investigation or …
SEC. PANELO: I’m writing a memo nga precisely for that, iyon ang naging usapan namin. But I think si General Balutan okay na sa kanya iyon, iyong clarification, iyon lang naman ang ano niya na hindi siya… he was not fired. ‘But I’m really resigning, sabi niya, irrevocable, until the President’s decides otherwise.’
NESTOR CORRALES/INQ.NET: What memo were you referring, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi iyon letter of resignation niya. Me, I will write a memo to the President. Since there is a request, I will suggest that the request be granted that there be an investigation.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, did you apologize to him for your announcement that he was fired?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga, kasi—in fact, parang he was partly to blame eh. Kasi supposed to be nag-resign siya on Friday. Pero nag-resign siya the following day eh, na late. Kaya naiintindihan niya rin.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So, no need for an apology on your part?
SEC. PANELO: No, kasi iyong akin good faith din eh, hindi ko rin alam na nag-resign siya. Pero para sa kanya, okay eh—basta nag-usap kami, okay na okay sa kanya.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, medyo confusing eh.
SEC. PANELO: Oh, ano na naman.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: You said the announcement of the firing came first before the resignation. So, he was fired first?
SEC. PANELO: No—
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: And now, also you are saying, dapat nag-resign noong Friday, which I assumed you—
SEC. PANELO: No, he intended to resign na from the very start, but the resignation letter came after the announcement.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Oh, iyon na nga, so he was fired first.
SEC. PANELO: No, the announcement came before the resignation. But he really resigned, apparently may usapan sila, hindi ko alam kung ano ang usapan nila na magre-resign siya.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sinong may usapan, sir?
SEC. PANELO: I am not sure kung exactly kung sino ang kausap niya, basta—hindi niya sinabi sa akin eh, ang pagkakaintindi ko lang sa kanya, hindi na ako nagtatanong. Kasi alam ninyo, wag na nating palakihin, kasi mismong iyong tao na ang nagsasabing okay na sa akin ito.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: No, because—sir of course, there is a big difference between getting fired and offering to resign eh.
SEC. PANELO: No, but we cannot be more Popish than the Pope. General Balutan says, I’m glad na merong clarification, okay na iyon sa—
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Did you talk to the President himself about the issue, did he fire or ano pa—
SEC. PANELO: No, I didn’t ask him, but I showed him the clarification. He said okay.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: The President?
SEC. PANELO: Yes, he read it.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sorry, sir. Again, it’s unclear where the firing statement came from, if apparently you supposedly know of his plan to resign and yet you announced him to be fired—
SEC. PANELO: Sa akin eh hindi na importante iyon, the important thing to me is General Balutan himself said, ‘okay na sa akin iyon.’
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, who ordered you to make and release your statement that he is being fired?
SEC. PANELO: Ano?
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Who ordered you or asked you to release a statement?
SEC. PANELO: Saan ba manggagaling iyon, di sa Office of the President. But to me, huwag na nating anuhin. Alam mo, you are adding salt to a wound. Sinasabi na nga ng tao eh, okay na sa akin ito, wag na nating palakihin.
Let’s respect the process, he felt that he should resign at wag nang pag-aralan iyong ke nasaktan pa siya, eh sinasabi niya na nga, okay na sa kanya eh. Ako, why don’t you ask him na lang, para mas maganda siguro. Kasi we should be more concerned kung ano ang feeling niya.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, kasi pag it’s an order from the President or from the Office of the President that he is being fired, ang dating kasi ng ‘being fired’ is there is already a probable cause or prima facie against him on the serious—
SEC. PANELO: Prima facie lang, but it is not proof beyond reasonable doubt. The fact na pumayag ang Palace sa clarification means something else, di ba. Kaya nga okay na kay General Balutan iyon eh.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So regardless of the guilt, from your end, you are convinced na there is enough reason for him to be fired?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba sabi ni President a whiff of corruption nga, eh kung mismong House ang nagsasabi na merong findings na kailangan—sinasabi nga ni Senator Lacson, kailangan imbestigahan; si Gatchalian din, sinasabi niya he should be behind bars na nga. Marami na ngang ispekulasyon eh. Kaya nga I think General Balutan is happy that we made a clarification.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Sir, that is why it is important that we always get the information right from your office para hindi from sourcing-sourcing na—
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, that is why also we make clarification if there is a need for one. But it is not a retraction; it is a clarification.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: I think last Friday, there were sources … there were some news reports quoting sources, reliable, from Malacañang also. Then, later on na namin nakuha iyong statement—
SEC. PANELO: In fact, ang reklamo nga ni General Balutan sa akin, sabi niya, “Iyong media parang pinagsasabong tayo eh – iyong side ko at saka side ninyo.”
Oo, iyan ang … kasi tinanong ko siya eh. Sabi ko, “I read something about you threatening…” “No,” sabi niya, “that never came from me. Wala akong ganoong threat.” Threatening daw, power—sabi niya, “Did you say na powerful group?” “No, I never mentioned that, I don’t even know where that came from,” sabi niya.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Anyway, sir, sino ang mag-iimbestiga, Office of the President or moto propio ang Ombudsman?
SEC. PANELO: Depende kung kunin kaagad ng Ombudsman, eh di sa kanila na.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Kung Office of the President, sino?
SEC. PANELO: Puwede rin, puwedeng Office of the President.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, you mentioned something in passing kanina ‘no, yung terms of—with regard to allegations of corruption. And you mentioned something about money coming to certain floors—
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, that was—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Can you elaborate more, please?
SEC. PANELO: Ang nagkuwento sa akin niyan ay si General Balutan. Doon daw sa House committee investigation, parang may nag-aakusa raw sa kaniya na nakatanggap siya ng pera because may dumating daw na package of money doon sa 8th floor o 12th floor ba?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Fourth floor?
SEC. PANELO: Basta ang sinasabi niya, ‘but the floor that the money was brought to was not my office. That’s the floor of other directors, not me’ – iyon ang sinasabi niya – ‘Kaya gusto kong maimbestigahan din iyon kung sino iyon, kung sino ang nagdala ng pera, sino ang tumanggap ng pera.’ Definitely, hindi siya iyon.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the money is supposedly for what?
SEC. PANELO: Iyan, hindi ko alam. Whatever, kung saan, ano iyong perang iyon.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: He didn’t mention anything?
SEC. PANELO: Palagay ko, you will find that out sa committee investigation.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero, sir, the committee hearing was March 5. And he resigned, March 8.
SEC. PANELO: Nine.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Saturday?
SEC. PANELO: March 9.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, no – Friday.
SEC. PANELO: Saturday nag-resign. March 9 dumating iyong letter niya.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Aah yung resign. Pero iyong announcement ninyo po pala, sir, was 8, I think. So anyway, sir, so there’s a difference of maybe three days. How much of the factor was this particular incident in his decision to resign?
SEC. PANELO: Basta ang sabi niya, because of those serious allegations, magre-resign siya.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So serious allegations against him na iyong pera na umaakyat sa PCSO—
SEC. PANELO: Hindi lang iyon. Maraming allegations sa kaniya ‘di ba. Iyong isang Director diyan, ang daming sinasabi sa radyo eh.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sino, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Eh sino ba iyong isang Director doon, anong pangalan niya?
Q: Babae ba sir?
SEC. PANELO: Oo, babae. Sino iyon?
Q: Babae ho ba, sabihin ko?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, sir, ano iyon, papaano iyon? So one Director is alleging that he is corrupt, ganoon ba iyon?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba, ang daming niyang sinasabi sa radyo eh. Kaya gusto niya ng imbestigasyon.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sino po iyong Director, just so it does not—
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba, Sandra Cam ang pangalan.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. And then, sir—so it’s going to be like Sandra vs. Gen. Balutan, yes?
SEC. PANELO: Ay ebidensiya iyan. You have to prove your charges.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the Palace is interested in investigating, who’s telling the truth between the two?
SEC. PANELO: Definitely, we are interested kung mayroong corruption sa parte ng PCSO, kahit sino sa kanila.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: All right, sir. So that’s why you’re recommending to the President that we conduct—
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And it’s going to be the OP, is going to investigate?
SEC. PANELO: Depende kay Presidente. Puwede kasi Ombudsman eh, kasi baka on its own, biglang inimbestigahan na ng Ombudsman.
Pero siguro, ako, baka ang rekomendasyon ko ay ibigay na lang sa Ombudsman para—kasi OP sila lahat eh, para wala ng… para independent.
TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: So, sir, sino na po ang napili kung mayroon man na si Presidente na ipalit kay General Balutan?
SEC. PANELO: Wala pa. Wala, wala. Ang sabi niya kahapon, naghahanap siya.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, Balutan over the weekend—ano ba ito, I think it’s in a text message to Inquirer said, and I quote, “I told all PCSO employees when I assumed as General Manager in 2016 that if somebody from the Office of the President, the Congress, ask or order me to do something which I cannot stomach, I will resign.”
SEC. PANELO: I think you should ask him that. I cannot respond to that because that is his text message.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Did he mention to you this yesterday, sir?
SEC. PANELO: No. You ask him.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, sir, ISIS first ‘no, the terrorist group. There’s a report in the New York Times that said that because the ISIS forces are dwindling in the Middle East, we’re now emerging as a possible, parang—ano bang tawag dito? Hindi naman command center but—searching for word… parang base ng ISIS.
SEC. PANELO: Dito?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes. And recent events parang point to that, and then there is parang recruitment of youth in Mindanao. So first question: Do you share that conclusion, sir, based on the report that we are indeed becoming a base of the ISIS, given also what the President had said before when he said that there’s dark cloud looming and ISIS is going to be a problem? Do you believe that we are emerging as a base for ISIS?
SEC. PANELO: I will have to ask the Department of National Defense because they’re the ones monitoring the movements of these people.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And if so, sir, is it a cause for concern for the government—
SEC. PANELO: Definitely, then we should undertake measures to prevent that from happening.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Hi, sir. Sir, doon sa madalas pa rin na pag-atake ni Pangulong Duterte sa ilang mga pari at ilang Obispo. Sir, may mga reaksiyon kasi na baka raw abuso naman na ito sa freedom of speech, iyong paulit-ulit na lang na pag-atake doon sa ilang mga pari; and eventually – iyon nga – may mga some priests are reporting of threats from unknown suspects?
SEC. PANELO: First, iyong threats, alam mo napaka …as I have repeatedly said to Joseph in a text message, the easiest and the most convenient way to send threats is by text messages because you cannot trace it. So itong mga threats na sinasabing natanggap nila, ang daming probabilities eh. It could be coming from pranksters. It could be coming from anti-Duterte trolls. It could be coming from mga kaaway ng mga pari. So hindi natin alam. And it is unfair to be pointing to the President as behind it. Lalo pa, sinasabi nila, last month pa raw nila nakukuha. Eh mayroon nang salita si Presidente, matindi iyong salita niya na huwag ninyong gagalawin ang mga pari at mga Obispo.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Iyon, sir, sa question na hindi ba parang abuse of the freedom of the speech iyong paulit-ulit na ganoon. And also, baka others’ rights are being violated of this expression.
SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, kasi general naman siyang mag-ano eh, magsalita. Wala naman siyang pini-pinpoint specific individual, except iyong nag-abuso sa kaniya na namatay na. General iyong kaniya eh.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Last point, sir. Pero curious lang, kasi ‘di ba kapag iyong mga Pari usually they do not make public of their numbers, kasi kapag text. So ‘di ba ang nakakaalam lang, ang may kakayahan lang usually ay iyong mga nasa intelligence or any or who has the know how to trace or get the personalize numbers?
SEC. PANELO: Not really. Alam mo, like us for instance, sino ba ang nakakaalam ng mga numbers natin kung hindi tayo-tayo rin, iyong circle din natin. So kung mayroong magbibigay sa akin ng threat o sa inyo eh doon din sa circle natin nanggagaling iyon o kaya doon sa mga kaibigan ng ka-circle natin.
REYMUND/BOMBO RADYO: Sige, sir. So sila-sila din pala sa circle nila.
SEC. PANELO: Ano? Ano?
REYMUND/BOMBO RADYO: So you are saying na most likely sila-sila lang din, galing sa circle din nila iyong threat?
SEC. PANELO: Eh lahat naman iyan probable, kaya nga sinasabi ko sa inyo na mahirap i-trace eh kasi it could be… kung nalaman ng ano… i-text mo nga iyan, ito iyong number niya o eh ‘di… lolokohin natin. Mahirap iyong mag-ano… mahirap din iyong mag-akusa eh.
TUESDAY NIU/DZBB: Sir, follow up lang. Ang sabi po kasi noong mga lumantad na Pari kahapon, iyong sinabi ni Presidente before na habulin ninyo ang mga Pari, patayin ninyo ang mga Pari at Obispo, dahil coming from the President para doon sa iba policy na raw po iyon kaya ganoon na nga daw iyong nangyayari ngayon based sa experience nila. Hindi po ba puwede na ma-advise-an si Presidente na hintuin na iyong pagsasalita laban sa mga Pari?
SEC. PANELO: You don’t need to advise him, he already made an announcement to don’t touch the priest and the bishops.
TUESDAY/DZBB: Yes sir, but after that sir, hanggang ngayon mayroon pa rin siyang mga ganoong statements sa kaniyang mga speech—
SEC. PANELO: Eh iyon ang style ni Presidente. Ano ba ang—
TUESDAY/DZBB: Para hindi na po madagdagan—
SEC. PANELO: No, no, no. Let me be clear to all of you: Iyong si Presidente ganoon ang istilo ever since. And yet look at the survey, tinanggap na siya ng tao eh. Hindi naniniwala ang tao pag sinabihan niya patayin—kahapon nga parang—kung kahapon ba iyon on the other speech ang sabi niya, ‘I’ll kill you.’ Tapos in-explain niya iyong ‘kill you’ that means law enforcement will arrest you; in-explain niya eh. In other words talagang ganoon ang istilo niya pero hindi naman ganoon ang ibig niyang sabihin at alam na ng tao iyon eh, matagal ng alam, natatawa na lang nga ang tao eh, ‘di ba? Ginagamit na lang ng mga kritiko to put him at the bad light.
TUESDAY/DZBB: So sir iyong mga sinasabi ni Presidente, hindi natin puwedeng i-take na iyon as policy?
SEC. PANELO: No. Kung iyong mga outburst niya lang on a particular na iyong… kasi biktima siya eh. You cannot remove that from him, naging biktima siya eh, natural lang iyon na nagagalit siya.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, may official order na ba from Palace on water crisis in Metro Manila?
SEC. PANELO: Ang alam ko iyong in charge diyan ginagawan na nila ng paraan doon sa water crisis.
ARJAY/BUSINESS WORLD: So no words from Palace on this?
SEC. PANELO: We were informed na they are doing something about it already.
ARJAY/BUSINESS WORLD: Alright, thank you.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, just an update on the President’s position on the legalization of medical marijuana.
SEC. PANELO: Yeah, buti tinanong. I asked him outright sabi ko, ‘Mr. President – iyong sa legalization ng marijuana – absolute?’ ‘Yes.’ He doesn’t like, kasi ang feeling niya they will be using that as an excuse, baka lumaki nang lumaki lang. Kaya not during my time sabi niya. Sa ibang panahon siguro, sabi niya. At saka ang sabi niya pa ha, dinagdagan niya, dapat iyong mga medical muna ang mag-decide diyan kung talagang totoong nakakagamot iyan. Kasi sa ngayon sabi niya, hindi naman ano eh—kumbaga, hindi definitive ang ibang findings, may nagsasabing puwede, may nagsasabing hindi. So he doesn’t want to risk the spread of addiction in this country.
ALEXIS ROMERO/PHIL.STAR: Sec., what prompted the President to change his mind about marijuana? Ano, mayroon bang particular incident na nagkumbinsi sa kaniya na baguhin iyong kaniyang—
SEC. PANELO: Wala. Sa palagay ko naisip niya lang iyong explanation niya.
ALEXIS/PHIL.STAR: But you mentioned about iyong research from the medical community. So he is open to amending his position if there are studies—
SEC. PANELO: Eh kung definitive na ang findings siguro he might change his mind. Sa ngayon siguro eh baka nabasa niya iyong sinasabi ng iba na hindi naman, case to case basis, mahirap—ako, I agree with him that when you open it, there—alam mo naman ang Pilipino ang gagaling natin eh, there are many ways, baka lalong mag-spread nga eh—eh ayaw niya nga ng addiction eh, tapos bibigyan mo ng opening iyong isa, ayaw niya iyon.
ALEXIS/PHIL.STAR: So not within his term?
SEC. PANELO: Not within his term.
ALEXIS/PHIL.STAR: Okay, thank you, Sec.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: MPC, maraming salamat. Maraming salamat, Presidential—
SEC. PANELO: Thank you. Bakit happy weekend, Miyerkules lang ah?
ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Back to Radyo Pilipinas and PTV4.
Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)