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: Magandang tanghali, MPC; kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good morning—good noon na pala, good noon. I’m ready.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir, may reaksiyon po iyong Palasyo sa pagbibitiw ni Senator Kiko Pangilinan as LP President dahil daw po doon sa—inaako niya iyong pagkatalo noong kanilang Otso Diretso.

SEC. PANELO: That’s commendable. He accepts defeat.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Ano po iyong ine-expect natin na mga pagkilos o ‘yung magiging activities po ng LP dahil po doon sa kaniyang pagre-resign?

SEC. PANELO: Well that’s for them—that’s an internal matter to them.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Ano ibig pong sabihin ng naging pag—iyong resignation ni Kiko Pangilinan, ano hong ibig sabihin noon para sa Palasyo?

SEC. PANELO: As he says it, he is responsible for the lost of the senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party and the Otso Diretso.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Iyon din po ‘yung pagtingin ng Palasyo?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Ang sa amin kaya natalo sila dahil iyong taumbayan ay hindi naniwala sa kanila – mas naniwala kay Presidente Duterte.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, thank you.

SEC. PANELO: Kasi ang ginawa nila, referendum daw kay Presidente Duterte, iyon ang banat nila eh – this is a referendum of the performance of this President. O iyon ang issue eh, they didn’t raise the issue against the candidates endorsed by the President or Mayor Sara, but they concentrated and focused on the performance of the President, and the issue was raised against him; and the people simply repudiated them.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, on another topic. Sir, ang China nag-implement po ng annual fishing ban nila starting May 1 until August 16 sa South China Sea which also includes some part of the West Philippine Sea. Inalmahan na po ito ng Vietnam. Ang Philippines po ba, what is our reactions to the fishing ban? Are we affected?

SEC. PANELO: I’ll leave that to the Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: But do you think sir, maaapektuhan tayo ng fishing ban knowing na part of our waters ay kasama nito?

SEC. PANELO: I will leave it to him. He is the head of the Foreign Affairs Department.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Will you direct the Foreign Affairs Secretary to issue a statement on the matter?

SEC. PANELO: Nobody is going to direct anybody, not even the President. The Department Heads know their jobs. They will do as directed by the President in the previous Cabinet meetings.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, good afternoon. Will that be your policy from now on na everything about a foreign affairs issues would be discussed by the DFA and not by you, since Secretary Locsin made a tweet I think last week or—?

SEC. PANELO: No, no… But that has ever been the policy, we talked about it.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So right now, you will be more cautious in issuing statement—

SEC. PANELO: Oh, there’s nothing wrong with my statement regarding any issue involving the country vis-à-vis another country. I didn’t feel alluded to, because as I have told you before, whatever the position of Secretary Locsin would be the position of the President. He could be referring to another official, not me.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So regarding the trash, is there any update?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, yes. The DFA issued a statement that the Canadian government has already directed a shipping company to get the trash back. And according to them, it will be sooner than later.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Any specified date?

SEC. PANELO: Walang sinabi eh, kababasa ko lang ngayon eh.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So, that was coursed through the Philippine government already? There was formal communication?

SEC. PANELO: I think so, because the DFA issued a statement.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, as a concept. China imposing a fishing ban in our waters that could potentially include our EEZ, is that not objectionable sir? Considering our past statements that we will assert, and even the President talking to President Xi bringing up the arbitral tribunal; as a concept sir, China imposing na—

SEC. PANELO: Well, the policy of the government will always be consistent with its policy that it will assert its sovereignty over the areas claimed to be its own. So, it will always pursue that line.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. Given that sir, iyon pong fishing ban, is that objectionable on our part?

SEC. PANELO: [Laughs] Draw your conclusion, that’s against the sovereignty – that’s our position.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Which is?

SEC. PANELO: Which is… what do you think? Is it?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, I’m not the Presidential Spokesperson sir [laughs]. What is it, sir?

SEC. PANELO: [Laughs] Is it objectionable for a sovereign country to have its property or island assaulted or intruded into? Your question, if your answer is yes, then the answer to your question is yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So you’re saying, the answer to my question is yes. You used two big words sir: assaulted and intruded.

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Meaning?

SEC. PANELO: In other words, we will always be consistent. But I will leave that to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to make a direct statement on that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, the imposing of the fishing ban, you said is an assault and an intrusion.

SEC. PANELO: No. I was asking you, would you consider that as an assault or an intrusion.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why can you not say sir that it’s an assault or—

SEC. PANELO: Because I’d rather leave it to the Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir, may report po ang Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative Center for Strategic and International Studies na iyong most destructive boats po ng China ay spotted po sa Panatag Shoal at may mga bago po silang harvest na mga giant clams at sinisira po noong mga Chinese ships na ito iyong ating coral reefs doon sa pagha-harvest ng giant clams. Nakarating na po ba sa inyo iyong ulat sir, at ano po iyong move ng Palace dito po?

SEC. PANELO: I have not—this is the first time I’ve heard of that, and I suppose the Western Command should make a validation of that and then refer it to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs for whatever action the Department may take on that issue.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Magpa-file din tayo ng diplomatic protest?

SEC. PANELO: That depends on the DFA.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Regarding po sa isyu ng Huawei.

SEC. PANELO: Huawei, yes telephone.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Opo. Nababahala po ang US at ang bansa sa banta ng seguridad na dulot ng Huawei at kinansela na rin po ng Google ang Huawei sa mga app nito. Meron po bang aksyon na gagawin ang Pilipinas lalo na po’t ang third telco player po natin ay mula sa China? At mayroon din po ba tayong pag-iingat na ginagawa? May direktiba po ba tayo sa PNP at iba pa pong law enforcement agencies na pag-aralan kung mayroon din bang banta sa seguridad natin ang Huawei?

SEC. PANELO: I suppose the Department of National Defense as well as the National Security Adviser are studying that matter. And the President will be waiting for whatever recommendation they have on that.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Kayo po sir, personally po ba Huawei user po kayo sir?

SEC. PANELO: No. iPhone, Apple. Mansanas.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Iyon pong mga Huawei users po dito sa ating bansa, kailangan ba silang magpalit na or meron po ba tayong dapat na ikabahala regarding these issues po?

SEC. PANELO: I have no personal knowledge or privy to anything about Huawei. So, I cannot competently respond to your question.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: How about, sir, nang assurance na bago po natin tangkilikin itong mga ganito pong technology ay nase-secure po natin iyong atin pong information at ginagawa naman po ng pamahalaan iyong responsibilidad na maprotektahan po iyong atin pong seguridad?

SEC. PANELO: As I said earlier the President will wait for any recommendation coming from the National Security Adviser and the Department of National Defense.

USEC. IGNACIO: Sir, tanong ni Jinky Baticados ng IBC 13 on ROTC passing at Lower House daw po, reaction ng Palace?

SEC. PANELO: That’s good news, the President wants that passed.

USEC. IGNACIO: And sa Canada. Bibiyahe na daw po iyong Canada trash pabalik sa Canada anytime this week.

SEC. PANELO: I already answered.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Sir, follow up lang regarding sa Huawei. So when did the President order the DND and the NSC to come up with a study regarding this?

SEC. PANELO: First, I didn’t say to come up with a study. I said earlier that I suppose the Security Adviser and the Department of National Defense are studying the matter, given that it has been brought to the public knowledge on certain apprehension relative to the use of Huawei.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: So, you are not sure if there is an ongoing study right now?

SEC. PANELO: I am not sure, but I suppose they are doing that.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN: Sir, there was a report before that, I think, the Department of Foreign Affairs cautioned the DICT regarding this matter?

SEC. PANELO: Then with more reason the Department of National Defense and the Security Adviser will be studying that. Since a department head has raised concerns.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Sir, kay ex-NYC Commissioner Ronald Cardema. Sabi kasi ng Comelec may age limit po kung sino po iyong magre-represent para sa youth sector pero pinaninindigan po ni Cardema na wala po daw age limit. Do you have any advice since, legal advice po, since supporter po ng administrasyon si Cardema, sir, at ng Pangulo po?

SEC. PANELO: First, that’s a Comelec issue and Comelec should decide on that. Now with respect to being a supporter of the President – as we have already repeatedly said: ‘no allies, no friends, no supporters if they have committed any wrong will be tolerated by this government.’

We have referred the case of Cardema to the DOJ, because we have received reports that despite his filing of a certificate of substitution he presided over a meeting subsequent to that certification. So, we are referring the matter to the DOJ.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: So, may violation po sa side ni Cardema, sir, dito?

SEC. PANELO: That is why we are referring it, because we have received reports that he has presided—

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Sorry, sir. Usurpation po sir ang puwedeng i-charge dito?

SEC. PANELO: That’s for the DOJ to determine what kind of violation he has committed.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: So Sec, hindi alam ng Palace na may nangyaring ganoong meeting na priniside niya apparently.

SEC. PANELO: We didn’t know about—we didn’t even know about his filing of a certification until we read it on the papers.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: So DOJ is now studying—

SEC. PANELO: We referred it to the DOJ.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Investigating, studying it, Sec. Ano ang exact, accurate—

SEC. PANELO: I just talked a while ago to the DOJ Secretary. He will study the matter.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Study on whether to file charges, tama po ba?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, can we just get more details about Cardema’s presiding over the meeting. How did you get the information, when did it happen, may ganoong detalye po ba tayo?

SEC. PANELO: I received a text message.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: From?

SEC. PANELO: Unfortunately again, the sender is not in my directory.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: What did the message say?

SEC. PANELO: Please—may we inform you that so and so presided a meeting on May 15, after the filing of certificate of substitution on May 12.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: So and so, was Cardema.

SEC. PANELO: You know, if he really presided, that will be recorded, that’s supposed to be recorded. All meetings of the Commission is recorded, it will reflect, it will be there on the record. That’s very easy to determine and all you have to do really is to ask the Commissioners, who are the other Commissioners.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, so the Palace sees that as conflict of interest?

SEC. PANELO: Is that what?

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Does the Palace see that as conflict of interest, the fact that he already filed a petition for substitution and yet he still presided over a meeting of the NYC?

SEC. PANELO: As I said, I referred that to DOJ. As a lawyer, I have my own reading of that. But since I already referred it to DOJ, I would not preempt them.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Will that investigation or studying ba by DOJ include iyong allegations that he used his post to promote iyong Duterte Youth?

SEC. PANELO: Yes. That’s included.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Iyong using of resources daw.

SEC. PANELO: That will be included.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, ano lang, for record lang. So iyong presiding of the meeting on May 15, he should not have done that, yes?

SEC. PANELO: Because if he is already resigned, how can he be presiding a meeting.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Sir, any update kung in-accept na ni PCSO Director Sandra Cam iyong challenge ng Malacañang for her to resign?

SEC. PANELO: I have no info on that. Wala pa akong alam.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Sir, would you push for it? Kasi hindi pa naman siya resigned and marami siyang sinasabi laban sa very institution that she was supposed to protect or she is supposed to protect?

SEC. PANELO: That’s why our suggestion is if she feels that she cannot stomach whatever she is confronted inside the agency which she works, then she can always resign and pursue her advocacy outside of the government.

TINA MENDEZ/PHIL STAR: Pero, sir, iyong Office of the President nagkaroon na po ba ng kahit na motu proprio investigation into her allegations?

SEC. PANELO: As I said in my statement, the moment she files criminal charges or whatever complaints she has in mind, then the President will order a full-blown investigation.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon lang, soundbyte. Wala pang proclamation today because I think they have to wait for some COC overseas.

SEC. PANELO: Ah wala pa? Ni-reset nila?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: It’s better to wait than—do you think it’s better to finish 100%?

SEC. PANELO: That’s for the Comelec to decide; we would not interfere.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Sir, balik lang ako nang konti sa China. Number one, sir – predicate to the question – si Presidente brought up the tribunal ruling ‘no sa … before the meeting with President Xi. That means we’re standing by that decision.

Now, the basis of China’s fishing ban, do you think that is consistent with the arbitral ruling that invalidated, for the recorded, invalidated China’s 9-dash claim?

SEC. PANELO: Again, I will leave it to the Secretary of—we had an agreement on that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ah, you had an agreement.

SEC. PANELO: Yes, that he will—he will make any position on the matter.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why is there an agreement? What happened?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean? No, ano lang iyon, implied. You know, we call that courtesy to the department heads.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So kapag po mga … iyon nga, iyong question ni Celerina, if there are foreign affairs questions—

SEC. PANELO: Siya muna.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: We will not have any opinion?

SEC. PANELO: Siya muna. Alright.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, ano lang, sa health ni Presidente. What do you make of this… ano ba ito, persistent, halos buwan-buwan yata kami, sir, may istorya na nagkakasakit si Presidente. What is the Palace make of it?

SEC. PANELO: Wala. You know, you must remember that the President is very transparent on his health condition. During the Presidential campaign, he was already telling us na matanda na siya, lahat ng sakit ng ganoong edad mayroon siya. And then, when he assumed the presidency, sinabi na niya, inisa-isa niya iyong sakit niya ‘di ba. Sinasabi niya naman; kapag nagpa-check up siya, sinasabi niya, nagpa-regular blood check up ako.

In other words, kung talagang serious, he will tell us. Pero kung sakit ng ulo lang, migraine, hindi naman kailangan na sabihin iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero, sir, iyon pong mga ganiyan na halos buwan-buwan ay may umiikot na may karamdaman siya or nagpatingin siya, what do you make of that? Is that like—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kasi nga kung minsan kapag hindi siya nakikita sa publiko one or two days, may nag-i-speculate na kaagad.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So nothing to worry about, sir, on the President’s health?

SEC. PANELO: No, nothing to worry about. You will see him, I think he has a 4 o’clock.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Visuals only.

SEC. PANELO: Mayroon siyang 4 P.M. something.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, can we make a formal request to include reporters later?

SEC. PANELO: Eh di i-request natin.

TINA MARALIT/DAILY TRIBUNE: Sir, isang maikli lang po. Sir, balik lang po doon sa isyu sa China. Halimbawa pong ma-validate ng Western Command na iyong spotted Chinese vessels po are indeed harvesting again the endangered giant clams, given that in the past, we filed a slew of diplomatic protests, sabi ninyo nga po, plus the President even raised our territorial issues when he was in Beijing. Doesn’t the Palace see this as China not taking our protests or claim seriously na parang binabale-wala tayo?

SEC. PANELO: Then again, the DFA will make its move if that’s been validated. Sabi nga nung American law professor, “You know, your reporters ask one question in 12 different ways. And you have also 12 different ways of answering them; it’s all the same.”

USEC. IGNACIO: MPC, no more questions? Thank you, Secretary Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

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

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