Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Malacañang Press Corps; kasama na po natin si Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: And, the…?

MODERATOR: Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

SEC. PANELO: [Laughs] Good afternoon, MPC.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is so upset about the inordinate delay of Canada in shipping back its containers of garbage. We are extremely disappointed with Canada’s neither here nor there pronouncements on the matter. Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously. The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dumpsite.

As a result of this offending delay, the President has instructed the appropriate office to look for a private shipping company which will bring back Canada’s trash to the latter’s jurisdiction. The government of the Philippines will shoulder all expenses and we do not mind defraying the same. If Canada will not accept the trash, we will leave the same within the territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country’s shores.

The President’s stance is principled as it is uncompromising. The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations. We hope this message resonates well with other countries of the world.

That’s the first statement. If you have any question, we will respond—

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sec., kahapon you said na mayroon na ngang na-hire ang Canada na private contractor. Why the—

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, because we’ve been hearing that—their pronouncements are neither here nor there. There is no definite position when they will take back the trash. And the President is already so upset about this. It’s been there for five years, my goodness!

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, anong particular agency was tasked to look for the shipping—

SEC. PANELO: He didn’t mention it, but apparently it should be the—


SEC. PANELO: One of the offices.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, what triggered this reaction from the President such that he had to ask you to announce this?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, because you must remember the deadline was May 15 and thereafter, no word from it, they just says, “We will do something about it…” puro ganoon eh. So I think, we’re just being given the runaround.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Any timeline for the President, I mean, when the—

SEC. PANELO: He has already instructed to look for a shipping company; so, immediately.


ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Pero wala pa naman sa consideration iyong sinasabi ni Presidente na pagputol ng ties?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, basta iyon ang pinapa-announce.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Wala pa naman tayo sa ganoong punto?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, depende siguro.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So posible iyon, Sec.?


ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Posible iyong cutting of ties with Canada?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi natin alam. Sa ngayon, iyon muna.


JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, na-heads up na po ba ang Canada dito sa utos ni President Duterte?

SEC. PANELO: Eh ngayon, dapat alam [laughs]… I’m sure they are monitoring, so they know now the stance.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. So, wala namang any formal communication sa kanila sa kanila regarding this—

SEC. PANELO: Wala, ito lang. This is an announcement.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Thank you, sir.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN: After this announcement sir, is the Palace still open for a negotiation between Canada?

SEC. PANELO: Wala na. Palagay ko, wala na iyong negotiation. Basta ibalik nila ‘yan, either sila ang kumuha bukas siguro o ‘pag nakakuha ng shipping company bukas, o ‘di diretso na iyon.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN: Saan po sir huhugutin iyong fund?

SEC. PANELO: O, eh ‘di sa gobyerno.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN: In particular, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Eh ‘di sa atin.

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN: No, no. OP, sir? OP?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam kung—whatever. What is important is—we don’t mind spending dahil ano na si Presidente, masyado nang…

DEO DE GUZMAN/RMN: Thank you, sir.

SEC. PANELO: He is outraged by this inordinate delay; masyado nang matagal eh.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, to the point na we are ready to risk iyong 1.34 billion trade natin with Canada?

SEC. PANELO: The what?

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Iyong total trade natin in 2018 kasi was set at 1.34 billion US Dollars. Itong isyung ‘to, baka maapektuhan iyong trade natin with Canada. So, iyong galit ng Presidente to the point na kahit na maapektuhan iyong trade relations natin with them?

SEC. PANELO: The President has already made his position. In fact, he even said he will declare war ‘di ba? So ibig sabihin, ganoon na siya kaano… kainis. Masyado na eh, I mean… I think every Filipino should really feel insulted by this trash staying with us for five years. Can you imagine, five years? Any head of state can just get that within a week, within a few days.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: What about sir iyong welfare of Filipino workers in—

SEC. PANELO: Wala namang problema doon, kasi… I don’t think they will be affected.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, if he’s so outraged and he feels insulted as a, you know, as a President and sa country, iyong sa atin… is he prepared to sever ties with Canada if they don’t… I mean…

SEC. PANELO: I think that is going to that direction if you’ve read his pronouncements.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, we are not waiting for Canada’s action anymore? We’re taking this into our hands, right?

SEC. PANELO: Yes. Unless we are beaten into it; eh kung biglang mamaya kinuha na nila, ‘di naunahan na tayo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright sir, thank you.

SEC. PANELO: What is important is tanggalin na nila ‘yan.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sec., kung tayo iyong gagastos tapos hindi na sila aaksiyon, hindi ba parang tayo iyong nag-blink sa aspektong ito? Kasi tayo na iyong gagastos eh, hindi natin sila napuwersa na tanggalin iyong basura.

SEC. PANELO: Mas importante siguro kung saan mo dadalhin iyong basura – sa shores nila. Mas matindi iyon.


BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Spox, clarify ko lang. So magkano po kaya iyong expected na expenses natin na isho-shoulder?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Hindi ko alam.


MODERATOR: Follow up? Okay, other issue, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Alright. The case of Charade Puno – you’ve been asking the reason for the sacking and the former Director General appeared on television that she does not know exactly why she was fired. But from what I gathered, she’s been told about the COA findings and others. And… the President received among others a letter coming from one of the biggest, if not the biggest association of pharmaceutical and healthcare groups in the country. And I’d like to read this to the public as instructed by the President:

From Mr. Teodoro B. Padilla, Executive Director; date: 17 May 2019 – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Republic of the Philippines, Malacañang Palace, Manila through Salvador C. Medialdea, Executive Secretary.

Dear President Duterte, The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines or PHAP representing the research-based providers of medicines and vaccines in the country expresses its genuine appreciation to you for continually building a solid foundation for a more inclusive growth, high trust society and a global competitive economy. We laud your efforts at enabling an inclusive policy development environment where key stakeholders, including those of us in the business sector are consulted and engaged on pressing matters that impact our operations in delivery of needed services for the Filipino people.

Specifically, we are deeply grateful that you have acted swiftly on our issues and concerns at the Food and Drug Administration or FDA and we highly anticipate that your reforms will lead to improved regulatory services and processes to ensure people’s access to lifesaving quality, safe and efficacious pharmaceutical products. We fully support your resolute actions at the FDA, including the replacement of its Director General for us to effectively and efficiently conduct commerce that is consistent with your agenda of increasing competitiveness and ease of doing business to fuel human capital and economic development.

Actions such as these underscore your administration’s seriousness in its commitment to fight graft and corruption for which we have taken notice and are extremely grateful. We at PHAP remain committed to supporting and partnering with you as you implement policy decisions that promote the attainment of your administration’s overall health and economic goals. Thank you very much. Sincerely, signed: Teodoro B. Padilla, Executive Director.

Perhaps in the coming the days, according to Secretary Duque, the findings of the COA, as well as other documents, have been forwarded to the Department of Justice for evaluation and for the filing of whatever charges or appropriate charges that the Department may find to be appropriate.

And the President also wants to share to the public that he has received numerous, as in numerous, complaints against doctors – including his own doctor – about the former Director General; and many complaints coming from many sectors. And the Palace is just awaiting for the submission of sworn statements which shall be forwarded to the Department of Justice.

TINA: Sir, if it’s related to a COA report sir, so ano ito, misused of government funds?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi lang sa COA report – marami. Isa lang iyon sa mga.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, in (unclear) if you can, what’s the nature of these complaints from several doctors, you said?

SEC. PANELO: I think corruption.


SEC. PANELO: I don’t know, but iyon lang ang sinasabi. Let’s wait for the sworn statements coming from the so-called victims.

You were asking about the proclamation?


SEC. PANELO: The Palace joins the Filipino people in congratulating the 12 victorious candidates for senator who have been entrusted with the mandate of legislating new policies and programs as they commit to refine the current legal framework of the country. Congratulations to all of them.

The recently concluded election which shows all Filipinos qualified to vote trooping to their respective precincts or embassies shows and demonstrates that we have a vibrant democracy at work in this region’s first republic.

After a grueling battle, it is hoped that every protagonists lays down their political swords and bow to the will of the electorate by giving their preferred choices a chance of leading the country towards progress.

So we call on everyone on all sides of spectrum to have a moratorium in what appears to most of us as excessive politicking that has only caused more divisions amongst us. Now that political dust has settled with the proclamation this morning of the winners, it’s the perfect time for nation building. And for those who triumphed, to focus on public service.

We have shown you that we have been magnanimous in victory; we even congratulated those who were defeated in the polls and thanked them for fighting a good battle. We expressed confidence that these newly proclaimed senators will be true to their oaths, loyal to the Constitution, obedient to the laws of the land. And our people – that means all of us – are confident that they will do their best as legislators and enact laws which are not only conscientious but beneficial to the welfare of the nation and its citizenry.

We remain confident that these new senators, as well as the other incumbent senators will join the President in his dedication of spurring inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, implementing the nation’s most ambitious infrastructure program, and creating a foundation for the establishment of a society that will provide lasting peace on Filipino people, as well as comfortable lives.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyong kay Ombudsman, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. What does the Palace think first of that act that Hong Kong questioned her for four hours?

SEC. PANELO: We feel that it’s between the former Ombudsman Conchita Morales and the Chinese government on what transpired there because, I think, there was the official communication there as to the whys and the wherefores of the delay in the entry of her and her family.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So we’re not interested sir, in what Hong Kong said are immigration concerns?

SEC. PANELO: What we are interested in is that all Filipinos who go abroad and are confronted with problems that will affect their lives, security and welfare, we will provide government assistance as we have provided the former Ombudsman. That’s only our concern. We cannot intrude into the immigration laws of any country, in the same way that we expect that they cannot intrude into ours.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You don’t see this, sir, as a political act on behalf of China?

SEC. PANELO: We do not know. I think, only the former Ombudsman would know how to perceive or think about any action of the Chinese government against her.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Secretary, your reaction to Senator Hontiveros’ challenge to the President to protest the Chinese government for holding of former Ombudsman Morales at an airport?

SEC. PANELO: As I said, we cannot intrude into the immigration laws of the land of another country, in the same way that they cannot intrude into ours.


SEC. PANELO: Wala pa akong update.


SEC. PANELO: Wala pa.


SEC. PANELO: May mga private meetings yata siya ngayon.


SEC. PANELO: Kahapon madami siyang private meetings ha. From ambassador to—apat, lima, anim yata iyong sunud-sunod eh.


SEC. PANELO: Ha? About the Ambassador?

Q: About other events involving the President?

SEC. PANELO: Wala, wala.

Q: Wala rin kaming official schedule.

SEC. PANELO: Wala. Umalis na ako after the Ambassador.

Q: Sir, balik lang doon sa—

SEC. PANELO: But if you notice, the President was upbeat, di ba naa-update kayo ‘di ba, kita ninyo. Wala namang pagbabago.

Q: Sir, balik lang doon sa Canada trash. Tuloy ba iyong kaso or investigation doon sa mga nag-i-import ng trash—

SEC. PANELO: Siguro, I’m sure iyong Customs Commissioner is still doing that.

Q: Anong sanctions nila or penalties?

SEC. PANELO: Depende, siyempre iimbestigahan pa nila iyan. Kung anong recommendation niyan.

Q: Sir, mayroon yatang, if I recall it right, conven—ano ba iyon, iyong sa UN na bawal magtapos ng hazardous waste. Eh kung iyong trash ay galing nasa Philippines, tinapon mo sa … binalik mo sa shores ng Canada, wala ba tayong violation doon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa yata tayo signatory doon ‘di ba?

Q: We are signatory, sir.

SEC. PANELO: No. ‘Di ba, inaano nga tayo na mag-sign eh. We’re not part of that yet.

Q: Sir, itatapon din natin sa shores nila, what happens if they block our shipment?

SEC. PANELO: Tingnan natin kung anong gagawin nila.

Q: Iiwan na lang din natin like what they did?

SEC. PANELO: Maganda iyang suggestion na iyan. Sabihin ko galing sa’yo.


SEC. PANELO: No, Ina Andolong is precisely there to welcome—that’s what she said on the phone to me, “Sir, I’m here to welcome the trash.”


SEC. PANELO: Aba’y immediately iyon, as soon as …

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Sir, iyong timeline ng pagdala ng trash—

SEC. PANELO: Immediately kapag nakakuha ng shipping company, iyon na iyon.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: As we speak, naghahanap na ngayon?

SEC. PANELO: Definitely.

MODERATOR: Okay, wala nang questions? Marami pong salamat, Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.


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