USEC. IGNACIO: Magandang tanghali MPC; happy Monday. Kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Good Monday noon to everybody in the MPC. Before I take your questions, let me first share to you that the President arrived last night at the wake of former Speaker Nograles at about midnight and stayed there for several hours. And we reiterate our deepest condolences to the family of the late former Speaker Nograles. The wife of the late Speaker is a cousin of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
And also, I want to thank Lt. Col. Rozelle Salvosa of the Philippine Air Force, if she didn’t attend to me on the day that we flew to Beijing, I don’t think I would have made it. I had for two days a stiff neck and a pulled muscle and she work up with my pain for almost three hours at the Villamor Airbase and I was relieved completely. Thank you, Col. Salvosa. I was telling her, I would recommend to President Duterte when he feels any pain due to pulled muscle or stiff neck. In fact last night he was complaining of a stiff neck and I said you should call Col. Salvosa.
Anyway, I am ready to respond to your questions.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, what’s going to happen at the Cabinet meeting today?
SEC. PANELO: Karlo Nograles last night or early this morning told us that he had long list of agenda but he will be absent, obviously because of his father’s wake. I haven’t seen… usually it’s given to us before we enter the Cabinet room for the meeting. I don’t know yet the agenda. I have not seen the schedule. But it’s a long one.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi, sir good morning. Sir, there have been complaints about some Chinese restaurants or establishments na hindi daw tumatanggap ng mga Filipino customers because exclusive daw for Chinese nationals. How do you plan to address this, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Well we have to investigate that if that is true. We cannot allow that to happen. They cannot be discriminating against Filipinos; it’s a public business and therefore it should cater to all.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Kasi sir, si Senator Panfilo Lacson is calling on government agencies para daw sa closure nitong mga establishments na ganito. Do you agree to his call?
SEC. PANELO: We have to investigate first the truth of the report. We will ask Secretary Bello to conduct an investigation on the same.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: And I think one of his concerns pa ay iyong pagsama daw po ng mga Chinese businessmen sa mga SMEs kasi—
SEC. PANELO: Mga ano?
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Small and Medium Enterprises, sir. Kasi parang it’s okay daw to invest in the country, if it’s billions of investments, kasi it will help the economy. But, he doesn’t think that it’s good na maging involved pa sila sa SME’s dahil nagiging competition pa sa ordinary Filipino businessman. Do you see logic to this, sir?
SEC. PANELO: We will address that concern to the Secretary of the Department of Trade, to Secretary Mon Lopez.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, in your interview with CNN this morning you cited telecommuting as an excuse for President Duterte’s absence for five days. Telecommuting, work from home?
SEC. PANELO: Yes, he is working, he worked at home. Haven’t you worked at home?
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Yeah, is that particular law which is telecommuting applicable to the President?
SEC. PANELO: No, I was just citing that law so that you don’t have to ask whether why a particular person is working at home. But that is not the reason, the reason is he wanted to focus on his work. You must remember that the President in the Beijing trip had a very punishing schedule. In fact, he had to miss one event because he had a migraine attack and after that he had to attend to several meetings and then when he arrived in Davao immediately there was this Palarong Pambansa again.
And you know, when a member of the Cabinet, especially the President, is not in his office for a few days.
Just like me for instance, I will give you myself as an example. I receive about 25 to 50 documents a day, which I have to finish on that very day. If you’re not there for three-four days matatambakan ka, ganyan siguro ang nangyari kay Presidente sa dami ng mga papeles na dapat niyang binasa, pipirmahan, natambakan. Kaya he decided to stay in the house and work on them. But after that trabaho na naman. Kaya nakita mo kagabi, midnight dumating hanggang alas-tres, ito tapos may Cabinet meeting na naman.
The only reason why pinakita niya iyong picture na watching siya at nagbabasa ng diyaryo at the same time, eh para ma-ease your concern na may sakit siya. Ibig sabihin, okay ako. Iyon lang ang reason doon.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: But just to clarify, sir. Since you mentioned the law, is this applicable to the President?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, hindi. Minention ko lang iyon para—kasi ang banat, bakit ka nasa bahay nagtatrabaho, di ba. Oh iyon ang sagot ko doon, eh meron na nga tayong batas na puwede kang magtrabaho sa bahay eh, iyon lang ang ibig kong sabihin doon. Kumbaga eh, masyado kayong nitpicking and hair splitting, lahat na lang…
Wag ninyong kalimutan, don’t forget that the satisfactory rating of the President is that highest since 1989. Ibig sabihin, iyong pamamaraan ng kanyang pamamalakad sa paghawak ng poder ng kapangyarihan ay kontento ang ating mga kababayan at na-appreciate nila ito.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, kasi sir, I just would like to point out that telecommuting is only for the private sector.
SEC. PANELO: I know, but sinasabi ko lang iyon na kung nirereklamo mo iyong isang public official na nagtatrabaho sa loob ng bahay, eh kung iyon ngang batas eh pinapayagan niya iyong mga pribado, iyon na punto doon.
CEDRIC CASTILLO/GMA7: Sir follow up po. Sir, can you give us a glimpse, can you give us a picture of the typical work schedule of the President when he works at home, sir. What time does he wake up, how many hours does he work?
SEC. PANELO: Si Presidente, as you know by now, he works at night. Pag nagigising iyan ng mga… kasi he usually sleeps at either 6 o’clock in the morning or 7; depende pa sa trabaho iyan, kung mas marami pang hindi siya natatapos na-e-extend pa. But he sleeps 8 hours a day. Ever since iyon ang kanyang work ethic and lifestyle since he was a Mayor.
CHONA YU/ RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, sabi po kahapon ni Senator Trillanes tamad and parang hari daw si Presidente, hindi siya binabayaran ng taumbayan para manuod ng Netflix.
SEC. PANELO: Oh, I’m sure he was referring to himself.
CHONA YU/ RADYO INQUIRER: Bakit?
SEC. PANELO: Eh obvious naman eh, ano ba ang ginagawa niya ngayon.
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: Sir, it’s the final stretch of the campaign.
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: So, what does the President plan to do to boost his candidates’ chances of winnings?
SEC. PANELO: Ang alam ko sa Thursday meron sa Davao malaking rally. Parang iyon yata iyong last pitch niya for the election season eh. Iyon ang alam kong schedule niya. Yeah, Hugpong. Pero darating siya ang meron siya sa Bohol—by the way sa Bohol, Wednesday; and then meron pa yata siyang… most likely the following day sa Davao. Wednesday iyong Bohol and then Thursday naman iyong Hugpong. Most likely a-attend siguro siya doon dahil nandoon na siya sa Davao at that time.
Q: off mic.
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, ang alam ko.
Q: Miting de avance.
SEC. PANELO: Baka ng PDP. Basta ang alam ko merong rally din sa Huwebes. Hindi ko lang alam kung miting de avance iyon.
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: Sir, what does this election mean for the President and how crucial is it for him to place his allies in the House and in the Senate?
SEC. PANELO: Well, every election to a President means something to him because those who will be elected in the Congress will have to be partners in the administration of the government. Kaya mas magandang iyong mga naruroon ay iyong tutulong sa kaniya. And iyong mga ini-endorse niya, ang feeling niya roon, these are the people that can help me pursue the goal towards uplifting the lives of our countrymen.
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: Sir, the survey results seem to be favoring the President’s allies—
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: So what do you think po this mean doon sa push niya for federalism? This Senate na-shelve siya eh so do you think it will be revived—
SEC. PANELO: Siguro, eh kung iyong mga in-endorse niya ay puro pabor sa federalism, then it will hasten the putting up of this system of government in place.
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: Sir, last na lang po for me. He’s been openly attacking the opposition candidates sa mga speeches niya. Do you think this has been effective; and why do you think did he do this?
SEC. PANELO: Attacking who?
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: The opposition candidates, the Otso Diretso candidates. So do you think this was effective; and why did he employ this strategy?
SEC. PANELO: It appears, if you will consider the ratings of those he has endorsed, it would seem that it is very effective. Why he is doing it? I think that’s his style. It’s part of the campaign.
ANDREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG: Why do that as opposed to highlighting the achievements of his senatorial candidates?
SEC. PANELO: No, but he does. He does highlight the credentials of his endorsed candidates. If you’re listening to his speeches, he tells us that also. And each of them, he spends time telling people about this particular candidate.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, good afternoon. Pinapatanong lang ni Rose (Rosalie Coz) from UNTV: Anu-ano raw po ang preparasyon ni President para sa miting de avance ng PDP Laban? Naka-bullet proof glass ba raw ulit? At sinu-sino ang final 12 senators na ibuboto niya? I-endorse daw ba niya si Bong Revilla?
SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, doon sa security, PSG ang makakasagot noon. Hindi ko alam.
Doon naman sa kung sino ang ibuboto niya, I think we will leave it to him. That’s a private matter for every individual voter.
Q: [OFF MIC]
SEC. PANELO: Nasa kaniya na rin iyon. Nasa ano iyan eh … that’s part of—kaya nga tayo secret balloting eh, nobody is supposed to know our personal choices.
ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Okay, Sec., President Duterte will attend the Hugpong rally this week, ‘di ba?
SEC. PANELO: Sa Bohol.
ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Sa Davao.
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam iyong sa Davao, kung darating. Kung nasa schedule, darating iyon.
ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Hugpong iyong caravan. And then, a-attend din siya ng PDP Laban miting de avance sa Sabado.
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam iyon ha, basta—let’s just assume na a-attend, anong question ngayon?
ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Sabi nung PDP media team, anyway. Pero magkaiba iyong line-up noon, Sec., nung senatorial line up ng Hugpong at saka PDP, although may overlaps, mayroong common pero mayroon din magkakaiba. So sino ba talaga iyong labindalawang ini-endorse ni Presidente, iyong sa PDP ba o iyong sa Hugpong? Paano natin i-explain iyong dynamics na iyon, sir?
SEC. PANELO: In-explain ko na iyan noon. Ang ibig lang sabihin noon, malalim ang—parang sa basketball, may deep bench. In other words, binibigay ni Presidente sa taumbayan pa rin ang ultimate choice. Basta ito, okay sa akin itong mga ito. Kahit sino rito, kung manalo man, okay sa kaniya.
ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Lahat iyon, Sec., iniendorso ni Presidente, iyong Hugpong at saka iyong PDP?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kung sino lang—iyong sino iyong mga binanggit niya. Para sa kaniya iyong mga binabanggit niya, iyon ang kaniyang mga ini-endorse. But with respect doon sa PDP Laban, iyong mga allied sa kaniya at naniniwala sa kaniya, oh di matutuwa rin siya kung iyon man ang lumabas.
ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Kasi ang binabanggit niya iyong labindalawa ng PDP. Lima iyong PDP plus iyong guest candidates nila. So if that’s the case, why will he attend iyong Hugpong na iba iyong ibang mga kandidato?
SEC. PANELO: You must remember na miyembro siya ng PDP-Laban, eh siguro as a party member.
ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Ng Hugpong?
SEC. PANELO: No, I mean doon sa PDP. Iyong Hugpong – dahil iyong anak niya ang nagpundar niyan ‘di ba – parang in support of the daughter’s help, assisting all the other candidates.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Hello, sir. Over the weekend, the El Shaddai endorsed 14 senatorial candidates, ten of which are from the administration. How does the Palace take the endorsement coming from the El Shaddai?
SEC. PANELO: Well, El Shaddai has its own reasons for endorsing candidates, and we always respect whatever endorsement the other groups will provide.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Is the Palace pleased that the El Shaddai endorsed at least ten of the administration senatorial candidates?
SEC. PANELO: Eh siyempre, kung in-endorse iyong in-endorse mo di siyempre matutuwa ka. Natural lamang iyon. Eh kung hindi kasama, eh you have also no reason to be sad or to feel bad. Iyon ang demokrasya natin eh. Kung sino ang gusto mong i-endorse, you’re free to do so.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, given that many of the administration candidates are in the lead in the surveys, do you think that the endorsement of the El Shaddai will be, I don’t know, a big factor in the elections or are you confident that even without an endorsement coming from these religious groups, mananalo pa rin iyong mga PDP-Laban candidates?
SEC. PANELO: Actually, there is no—I don’t know if there is a scientific statistical study on the effect of the endorsements of certain religious groups or persons. Mukhang wala pa eh. So hindi natin alam. Ultimately, ang Pilipino pa rin ang magdi-decide kung it will affect them or influence them or persuade them to vote one way or the other with respect to senatorial candidates or members of Congress.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Sir, in relation to Ace’s question earlier. Because, sir, doon sa PDP slate, the President earlier said that that is his slate, iyong 12. Hugpong has three candidates which he also mentioned before, he is not endorsing – these are Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Jiggy Manicad. So with his attendance doon po sa Hugpong miting de avance on Thursday, what does that say about his position on the bids of these three candidates?
SEC. PANELO: It means it is a courtesy to the organizers; his presence will be deemed as a courtesy to them, if he was invited to grace the occasion.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: But it does not mean that he is suddenly changing his mind and backing the candidacies of the three I mentioned?
SEC. PANELO: Unless he makes a specific announcement on that particular campaign. So hindi natin alam.
TINA MARALIT/DAILY TRIBUNE: Sir, good afternoon po. Sir, napaabot na po ba kay Presidente iyong suggestion na extended holiday din po iyong the day after the elections to ensure na wala pong problema raw po sa power supply when the canvassing of votes happen?
SEC. PANELO: I have no info on that. Wala naman siyang binanggit kanina.
TINA MARALIT/DAILY TRIBUNE: Could it be possible, sir, na ma-take up po kaya sa Cabinet meeting?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam kung ano—if somebody raises it. But it should be the Commission on Election that should decide that.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, good afternoon. Sir, balikan ko lang iyong exclusive Chinese restaurants or mga stores. So it’s clear naman na labag iyon sa batas. So for example, any ordinary civilian would encounter such exclusive Chinese restaurant, can he or she do something like for example, assert his right going inside the restaurant or engage the owner of the exclusive Chinese restaurant?
SEC. PANELO: The better step or thing to do is to file a complaint. You engage the owner or try to force yourself eh you will only trigger a fight.
REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Can you, siguro ask the … urge the LGUs concerned, kung nasaan iyong Chinese restaurant, to do their mandate, to implement closure ASAP kung mayroong ganoong reports sa kanila?
SEC. PANELO: If there is a complaint and they validate that it has violated a law, then it should; LGU should do their job.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE: Hi, sir. In relation lang doon sa question ni Tina. May proclamation na ba si Presidente declaring May 13 as a holiday? Kasi kailangan pala yata ng Presidential Proclamation para walang pasok sa election day.
SEC. PANELO: Kung wala pa, I’m sure magkakaroon.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE: Is it forthcoming?
SEC. PANELO: Definitely kung kailangan iyon, siyempre he[’ll] issue.
VIRGIL LOPEZ/GMA NEWS ONLINE: But as of now, sir, wala pa ba? Mayroon na ba?
SEC. PANELO: Wala pa. Wala pang niri-release.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, were you with the President last night; during the week were you with the President?
SEC. PANELO: Yes.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. So were you able to ask him about the letters of dismissal?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi, hindi namin napag-usapan iyon.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. Any update na lang, sir, doon?
SEC. PANELO: Mamaya siguro, we can—
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: It will be tackled during the Cabinet meeting.
SEC. PANELO: I don’t know if it will be tackled. I’ll ask him definitely kung sino iyon at kung kailan at kung mayroon.
JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, any update din sa MWSS report?
SEC. PANELO: Wala pa nga. I’ll ask him mamaya before the Cabinet meeting starts or during the break, kung wala sa agenda.
CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, since you were with the President last night, did you ask him about the matrix doon kay Bikoy?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi namin napag-usapan. We were talking more on the deceased—
CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Na? What decease po?
SEC. PANELO: Si former Speaker. Iyon ang pinag-uusapan doon. Alam mo naman sa wake, iyon ang palaging pag-uusapan mo, iyong tungkol sa buhay nila.
CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: You did not ask him, sir, about the—
SEC. PANELO: No, I felt it was inappropriate for me to touch on any issue outside of the wake.
USEC. IGNACIO: No more questions, MPC? Okay na? Thank you, Secretary Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Thank you.
SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)