Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

USEC. IGNACIO:  Good noon Malacañang Press Corps; happy Monday. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO:  Good afternoon members of the MPC.

First of all, I’d like to call the attention of the NAIA General Manager. Of course, I already told Secretary Tugade about the incident last Saturday. It took us more than two hours to retrieve our luggages. Why? Because there was only one or two carousel functioning and there were four trips arriving simultaneously at the airport – the trip from London, from Bangkok, Singapore and from Japan. Not only that, the air condition was not functioning, if at all; and there was no space to maneuver or to move, because can you imagine hundreds of passengers in front of one or two carousel.

I think—although the General Manager has apologized today for the inconvenience. But we suggest—because their explanation is that one carousel broke down. Carousels should be checked on a regular basis. If you do that every week or at least twice a week, I don’t think a carousel will break down.

Number two, another explanation is that there were simultaneous arrivals; but that can easily remedied. How? All the NAIA would do is to request the airlines or their respective planes, not to disembark the passengers for at least 30 minutes interval so that they will not be all there in one sweep.

We understand of course, that it’s under renovation, but I think they can be better than what happened last Saturday.

I’m ready for your questions—but we accept the apologies of the Secretary or rather of the Director General and I commend Secretary Art Tugade for assuming responsibility. He texted me and he said it’s command responsibility. And I told him that, that’s a very attitude except that your General Manager should refrain from performing acts which can be avoidable; and that incident could have been avoided.

I’m ready for your questions.

MARICE HALILI/TV5:  Sir, since it’s the opening of classes. Teachers once again asked Malacañang for salary increase. What’s the response of the Palace to their request, sir?

SEC. PANELO:    Yes, the President is working on that. And hopefully that can be responded to. Our economic managers are doing everything to see how things can be done.

MARICE HALILI/TV5:  Kasi, sir parang sinasabi nila, since the start of the term of the President it has always been part of his statement na after police officers and military, teachers na iyong kasunod. But now, its’ been three years. So what seem to be the problem, sir, and the consideration?

SEC. PANELO:   The President is not reneging on his commitment. But as you all know, there had been many things that occurred during that three year term and the President had to increase the salaries of the soldiers as well as the PNP as he ably explained these are the front liners in securing our country and when they go out of their homes half of their feet already buried on the ground. But you must remember that the mother of the President was a teacher and so his heart is with the teachers.

MARICE HALILI/TV5:  So, sir how soon do we expect?

SEC. PANELO:  Hopefully—let’s see. Because I’ve talked with the Secretary of Finance and the Budget Manager and they said that they are working on it. Let’s see how it goes.

MARICE HALILI/TV5:  According to Alliance of Concerned Teacher, sir, all it needs naman is just an executive order coming from Malacañang. So ito ba iyong tinitingnan—

SEC. PANELO:  Well, easier said than done. Because even if you issue an executive order if there is no finding source, baka lalong may problema tayo. So, we’ll have to get some funding first.

AC NICHOLLS/CNN PHIL:  Sir, just a follow up on that. Is there an update on a possible dialogue with teachers because back in January, the President did say something about having a dialogue with the teachers; so, may update na ba, sir? Can we expect that sometime soon? I believe you said na within the next three months din from January, so parang lumampas na yata doon sa initial plan.

SEC. PANELO:   A dialogue, we will arrange for that. I’ll talk with the President about that.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Sir, you said that were looking for possible sources of funding. Has the executive identified any income generating measures that maybe used to fund the salary increase for teachers?

SEC. PANELO:   I don’t know where they will get the funds, but they are looking for these sources.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  But  do  we have like, say a timeline, like will the salary hike possibly happen this year or maybe next year?

SEC. PANELO:  I really cannot answer that categorically, I think the economic managers have to answer that.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  But the President has ordered the economic managers to look for funding for the salary hike?

SEC. PANELO:    Well, certainly, yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, can I follow up on the decision of the President to give a go-signal to the sale of the Marcos jewelries?

SEC. PANELO:  Yes. 

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Can the Marcoses oppose the sale?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know about their lawyers.  It’s the lawyer’s job.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Can, meaning—

SEC. PANELO:  I do not know if they want or they can’t.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Kasi, sir, ang sabi ng PCGG no legal impediment, kasi I think the last set of jewelries that had a problem legally was the Malacañang collection. But I think the SC ruled in favor of the government, that’s why it’s PCGG saying there’s no more legal impediment. Should the Marcoses still block the sale?                                 

SEC. PANELO:  That’s for them to respond.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Should is a question of principle, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  I can’t read their minds.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Pero if they do, will we find it objectionable?

SEC. PANELO: If they do, then we will oppose it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Because?

SEC. PANELO:  Because that’s the right thing to do. We feel that as the President says, the proceeds have to go to the Filipino people who are in urgent need of government aid.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ok, sir just a clarification. Doon sa let—ang gino-signal ni Presidente is all three sets po of jewelries ‘no?

SEC. PANELO:  Yeah.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Kasi ang sa COA kasi iyong Hawaii lang.

SEC. PANELO:  He didn’t specify, because my question to you is whether or not—o whether he is going to give a go-signal for the sale of the Marcos jewelries, and he said yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Kasi, sir sa letter ng PCGG, all three eh di ba, iyong inakyat nila kay Presidente. So what does it mean now, now that you are going ahead with the sale in terms of—the context of allegation is that the Marcoses have ill-gotten wealth. What does it establish – the sale and the existence of the jewelries?

SEC. PANELO:   Well, as far as we are concerned, these properties have been declared to be ill-gotten, that’s why precisely it is to be solved. If that was the court decision then we have to abide by it.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Sir, may report sa Philippine News Agency na iyong mga opisyal at mga residente ng Marawi ay pabor po sa… parang bino-vouch po nila iyong malinis na pagkatao ni General Bautista, DSWD Secretary, at binabatikos po nila iyong pambabastos ni Erwin Tulfo kay Bautista. Ano po iyong reaksyon dito ng Palasyo?

SEC. PANELO:  We really didn’t talk about it, about that incident there was no mention of that. You know the President—the style of the President, as far as I know him and even during the time that he became President, he never interferes with any feud between people; he doesn’t as a matter of policy.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  So, tingin n’yo sir—kasi si Presidente  paulit-ulit niyang sinasabi iyong kanyang paghanga at paggalang po kay General Bautista, tingin n’yo ba karapat-dapat iyong ginawang mga pagbatikos ni Tulfo laban kay Secretary Bautista?

SEC. PANELO:  Well, Mr. Tulfo has his reasons for doing what he did. He apologized for it and I think we shall accept the apology. He was gentleman enough t0 apologize.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Pero tingin ninyo, sir, kailangan pang ipag—ano iyong garantiya na hindi na niya uulitin ito sa mga Cabinet members. As a kapwa n’yo po Cabinet member, tama ba iyong ginawa ni Tulfo kay Bautista?

SEC. PANELO:  Only, Mr. Tulfo can respond to that, whether he is going to make a repetition of the same. But definitely, General Bautista as his supporters describe him is a man of probity and of good repute. I think the very reason why Mr. Tulfo made such comments was because he wasn’t able to interview him and he felt that it was the duty of every Cabinet member to respond to any interview – that was his opinion.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  So, iyong pagtanggal po ng security detail ng mga Tulfo tingin ninyo tamang hakbang iyon ng PNP at AFP?

SEC. PANELO:  The Secretary of the DILG explained that they are reviewing the reason for the grant of security detail – that was his official explanation and I leave it at that.

HENRY URI/DZRH:  Secretary, ang sabi ni Ginoong Tulfo kaya niya sinabihan ng masasakit at maanghang na salita si Secretary Bautista, sapagkat binibigyan pa siya ng limang araw para mag-response at ma-interview. Iyon bang limang araw na iyon, ano ba ito patakaran ba ito sa Gabinete, meron ba kayong pinag-uusapan na ‘wag agad sasagot, i-require muna sa mga mag-i-interview na hingan ng sulat ang isang nagre-request for interview?

SEC. PANELO: You know, it depends on every Cabinet member.  The schedule of the Cabinet member may be such so tight that it has to follow a certain procedure. As far as I am concerned, as you all know, I respond immediately if I’m available. If I’m not, I don’t. [Laughter]  I don’t.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Sec., may narinig ako dito sa likod. Parang hindi naman, sabi nila. [Laughter]

SEC. PANELO: Kasi I don’t nga eh. If I’m not, I say, I’m not available. I don’t. [Laughter]

HENRY URI/DZRH: Anyway, Secretary—

SEC. PANELO: But I do within the day.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Thank you, kanina nagising kita. But anyway, iyong five days na iyon na—

SEC. PANELO: Five days ba ang sinabi? Parang may protocol yata—

HENRY URI/DZRH: Five days eh. Ang sabi raw ni General Bautista, sumulat and then within five days, magre-response. Katanggap-tanggap ba iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro baka naman masyadong serious iyong topic ng interview, he had to prepare for that. Mahirap din naman iyong basta ka susuong sa interview na hindi mo alam, ‘di ba.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Sec., kung kayo ang … kaming mga anchor, kung kayo ang nasabihan namin ng “punyeta”, “gunggong”, “buwang”, “ingungudngod sa inidoro”, kung kayo ang nasabihan ng ganoon, how would react?

SEC. PANELO: Eh hindi ba marami ang na nagsabi sa akin ng ganoon, wala naman akong reaction.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So kung masabihan kayo ng ingungudngod sa indoro, wala kayong… okay lang sa inyo?

SEC. PANELO: Wala eh, ganiyan talaga ang buhay. Mas marami pa ngang mas maaanghang doon eh.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Tama ba o hindi tama na sabihan ang isang Kalihim ng ganoon?

SEC. PANELO: Depende kasi iyon sa tanggap eh. Sa akin, I don’t mind. Wala sa akin iyon, ordinaryo iyon. For the last 35 years in the public eye, wala na sa akin iyon. It doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, but just to clarify—

SEC. PANELO: Teka muna, the fact alone that Mr. Tulfo has apologized, palagay ko—

Q: Pressure.

SEC. PANELO: Even then, kahit na, nag-apologize na iyong mama eh. I think we should also commend him for expressing an apology. Eh kumbaga, itigil na natin iyon.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, do you see anything wrong with how Secretary Bautista responded to—

SEC. PANELO: I didn’t know how—how did he respond? Hindi ko alam.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Iyon nga po, sir, na humingi siya ng letter, formal letter at kailangan five days before the actual interview. At nabanggit ninyo, sir, wala naman talagang rules si President Duterte for the Cabinet members as to how they should be—

SEC. PANELO: As I said earlier, he had maybe special reasons for doing that.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: There’s nothing wrong with his response?

SEC. PANELO: Depende na sa tingin ninyo. Kasi kung mayroon naman siyang valid reasons for doing that, you cannot also blame him.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Would you encourage, sir, greater respect sana for Cabinet members—showing of greater respect for Cabinet members?

SEC. PANELO: Not only for Cabinet members. Respect should be given to everyone.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Iyan ba ang encouragement ninyo rin po kay Tulfo?

SEC. PANELO: Na?

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Showing greater respect to Cabinet members, especially—

SEC. PANELO: As I said, Mr. Tulfo has his reasons for so doing and he has already apologized for that, I think we should bury that. We should move forward. Nag-apologize na iyong mama eh.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Would you confirm, sir, that he us being considered position, press secretary, si Tulfo?

SEC. PANELO: I do not know anything about that.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So you cannot confirm, sir?

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

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Okay. Kasi sabi niya, sir, I think in his program din na he is not interested in any appointive position, any position—

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

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, you said that we should just move on and accept Mr. Tulfo’s apology. Would you encourage or tell the alumni of the PMA who have been taking Secretary Bautista’s side to stop their statements against Mr. Tulfo?

SEC. PANELO: Well, you cannot stop them also to express their outrage. That’s the right of any individual or group.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Do you feel, sir, that the PMA alumni’s outrage, as you put it, is well founded?

SEC. PANELO: Well, as far they are concerned, yes. That’s their right. They feel that their fellow member has been gravely offended and they rose to the defense.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Also, sir, you mentioned that respect should be given to everyone not just Cabinet members. Given that—

SEC. PANELO: Yes, respect should be given to everyone; and it should also be earned.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Yeah, okay. But don’t you feel that in the case of what happened between Mr. Tulfo and Secretary Bautista, Mr. Tulfo should have, you know, recognize the respect befitting Secretary Bautista by virtue of his office not just his person?

SEC. PANELO: I think the apology of Mr. Tulfo has already … is a statement that can be seen as giving his regrets on the incident.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, just last on my part. You said that it will depend on the Cabinet secretary involved kung ilang days iyong palugit na hihingiin niya for, say, an interview request. In your opinion, what is a reasonable for a Cabinet secretary to, say, conduct pressers or—

SEC. PANELO: It depends. It depends on the seriousness—

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: One day, sir, two days?

SEC. PANELO: It depends on the seriousness of the case. Depende eh, depende iyon.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sec., good morning. Will Malacañang order a probe on Mr. Tulfo since his controversial radio—

SEC. PANELO: Will order what?

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  Probe on Mr. Tulfo since his controversial episode was aired on state-run Radyo Pilipinas?

SEC. PANELO: Anong iimbistigahan? Whether he did or he did not? Eh kung it was live eh—

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: No, using the government air time to attack the President’s alter ego which is Secretary Bautista.

SEC. PANELO: Then I will leave it to the department secretary, what he will do.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  Meaning, Secretary Andanar?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: But as of now, there’s no order from President?

SEC. PANELO: As I said, the President will not intervene on any feud between two individuals.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Sir, do you find it unethical, sir, kasi iyong station na ginagamit ni Tulfo is state-run tapos ganoon ang sinasabi niya against the Cabinet Secretary? How do you find it, sir? Is it unethical, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I do not want to preempt whatever the head of the department would look at that incident.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Would you recommend, sir, na i-call iyong attention niya or suspend his program or reprimand him?

SEC. PANELO:  Again, I will not interfere with the department. Let the head of the department do what he wants to do.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, would you call for accessibility of Cabinet members sa media? Kasi I think ang reason naman ni Tulfo is may mga gusto siyang ipapaliwanag kay Secretary Bautista regarding important pro-poor programs. So sa side ng Malacañang, would you encourage Cabinet members to be more open, more accessible to media?

SEC. PANELO: But we are accessible, I think. We are accessible.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Not all of the Cabinet members, sir. Would you encourage—

SEC. PANELO:  Maybe, it would takes a little while sometimes. But, yeah, they’re still accessible.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Would you encourage other, other Cabinet members na—

SEC. PANELO: We do not have to encourage because that is our policy. We are accessible.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: They should be accessible.

SEC. PANELO: We are. Not only should be, we are accessible. It takes a little time for others, but we are accessible. We do not block media from coming in.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: But, sir, given iyong response nga and Secretary Bautista na he asked for at least five days before he grants an interview, would you consider that—

SEC. PANELO: Siguro may reason siya. I’ll ask him when I see him, bakit five days, and then I’ll get back to you. Baka mayroon siyang specific reason.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: But the Cabinet members in general, sir, should be accessible, that’s the rule?

SEC. PANELO:  Oo, hindi lang in general, we are accessible. Hindi lang we should, we are always accessible.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, may gusto lang kaming i-compare. Kasi before when House leaders in House of Representatives, may mga … iyong nangyari kay Secretary Diokno, remember that time? Hindi nga siya minura during the hearing pero the Malacañang was quick to give a statement of support, asking for members of Congress to respect—

SEC. PANELO: No, no, no, there’s no question about—we are supporting General Bautista; walang problema doon, talagang we are supporting him. Ang sinasabi ko, since nag-apologize na iyong mama at apparently inaamin niya na baka nagkaroon ng… na nag-over siya, eh nag-apologize na nga eh. But definitely, we are for General Bautista, as I said earlier.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN:  Sir, good afternoon po, regarding the denial of the motion for reconsideration filed by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Carandang before the Office of the President. Is it—iyong removal niya, is it executory or could he still file an appeal or bring the case before the Supreme Court?

SEC. PANELO:  Grave abuse of discretion on a certiorari, he can do that if he wants.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN:  But the removal, is it executory already or hindi pa, while the case is pending before the… if ever he will file it before the Supreme Court?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh, kung puwede pa siyang pumunta sa Supreme Court, di hindi pa executory.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN:  So he could still stay as the Overall Deputy Ombudsman?

SEC. PANELO:  Grey area, I’ll study it. I’ll get back to you next, pag-aralan ko kung executory o hindi.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN:  Pero based on jurisprudence ba, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga pag-aaralan ko. Baka mamaya magkamali pa ako. I don’t want to commit mistake on a legal point.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, I think yung sin tax, iyong sa cigarette price hike. I think lalagariin ng Senate ngayon and si Asec. Lambino last week said that Speaker Arroyo gave the commitment na if Senate passes its version, they will just adopt that. Now, Palace level, once the two chambers agree on a version the President is expected to sign it immediately—because they have a little time na left?

SEC. PANELO:  Siguro, I’m sure. If the President wants it passed, then necessarily logic is he will sign it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  He will no, before June 7?

SEC. PANELO:  Ah, hindi natin alam, kung kalian matatapos iyon, hindi pa natin nga alam kung it will pass before June or after June… or before the end of June rather.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  But if it reaches his office, I mean, ano na iyon, I mean given na sa-sign-nan na niya?

SEC. PANELO:  Iyon ang gusto niya noon. I don’t know if he has changed his mind. Let’s see.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sa Marcos lang, sir. Can the Marcoses be banned from the auction? Meaning if we proceed with the auction, can they still participate or they should not participate?

SEC. PANELO:  Only the court can stop the sale. Kung auction di everybody is free to bid.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Including the Marcoses?

SEC. PANELO:  Ay siyempre, dahil everybody, wala namang prohibition doon di ba, auction eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Hindi puwede sila, sir, i-ban?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t think so, kung auction. I do not know of any law prohibiting any person from bidding, if you are qualified. Unless there are requirements for a qualification na gagawin nung auctioneer, kung meron eh do you will have to pass through the qualification.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, what do you think of the idea before that the PCGG floated na dapat i-exhibit muna iyong mga jewelries to display the excesses of the Marcos regime?

SEC. PANELO:  Ano iyon?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Iyon pong plano before, I think in 2016, nung in-appraise iyong mga jewelry, sabi ng PCGG, display muna sa museum so that they can, you know, parang exhibit?

SEC. PANELO:  Is it there now, are they exhibited, now?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Not yet, sir. Nasa vault ng BSP, but may proposal to exhibit it. What do you think of that proposal?

SEC. PANELO:  Are you asking the Palace position?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Of course, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  I will ask the President if he is okay with that.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Sir, follow up lang po sa statement ninyo kanina about President Duterte’s recent visit to Japan. You said that President Duterte has extended an invitation to the new Emperor Naruhito to visit the Philippines. Do we have like a timeframe for this, will this be happening this year?

SEC. PANELO:  Walang timeframe.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Do we have other details about this invitation. How did the President say?

SEC. PANELO:  Wala, he just said in his—during the bilateral.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  How do you see this invitation to the new Emperor as reflecting on the Philippines and Japan’s strategic partnership?

SEC. PANELO:  What do you mean, how do I see it?

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Do you see the Philippines and Japan’s relationship going stronger if the new Emperor accepts the President’s invitation?

SEC. PANELO:  Definitely, as the President says – how did he phrase it? – more than brothers  on the relationship. I think the visit would further enhance the bond between the two countries.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, during his speech sa Filipino community meeting. President Duterte said that he was also invited to go back to South Korea with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meron na po ba tayong details on that, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Wala pa, he has not made any statement after that.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: What could be the activity, sir, or—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam eh. I will ask him.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, last May, another large shipment of shabu was discovered in Malabon. This time, it’s worth one billion pesos. May directive na po ba si President Duterte to look further into this?

SEC. PANELO: The President doesn’t have to make any instructions because the law enforcement agencies have their own responsibilities to perform. That’s part of their duty.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, the discovery of this large shipment of shabu continued even after President Duterte ordered changes inside the Bureau of Customs. He also installed Jagger, si General “Jagger” inside to hopefully ayusin iyong sistema doon para hindi na mangyari iyong ganito. Pero nangyari pa rin, sir, and it’s worth one billion pesos. Hindi ba disappointed or nagalit si Pangulong Duterte dito, sir?

SEC. PANELO: To my mind, what is more important is it has been discovered. Mas importante iyon. Nakalusot ka, pero natuklasan ka pa rin. So ibig sabihin, gumagana pa rin iyong kanilang security, iyong intelligence.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero, sir, nakalusot nga po ito, sir. Nakita sa isang warehouse sa Malabon.

SEC. PANELO: Exactly, natuklasan, nalaman, nahuli. It would be different kung napabayaan hanggang kumalat sa buong Pilipinas.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Also, sir, what does it say about the effectivity of President Duterte’s drug war kung mayroon pa rin pong nakakalusot na ganitong kalaking shipment of shabu inside the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Eh nakakalusot, kung nahuhuli naman, eh di wala rin silang … wala rin nangyari sa kanila, ‘di ba? Ang problema mo kung nakalusot at nai-spread at hindi mo nahuli.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Last na lang, sir. Some senators have been questioning the seriousness and the sincerity of President Duterte’s drug war kasi—

SEC. PANELO: Like who?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  For one, Senator Francis Pangilinan, he is citing the reappointment of a former MCIP District Collector na na-relieve na in 2018 after the discovery of a huge shabu shipment at the MCIP. I’m talking about MCIP District Collector Vener Baquiran.

SEC. PANELO: I think I responded to that question already. I said then that when he was discharged from that office, it was not due to corruption. The feeling of the President is napalusutan lang, naisahan.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero, sir, Baquiran apparently was identified na isa sa mga bag man na tumatanggap ng TARA for the big players in the Customs—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman yata napatunayan iyon eh. That was not proven.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: But the President said before na even a whiff of corruption.

SEC. PANELO: Correct. But palagi iyong whiff must have basis. Iyong mga tinatanggal niya kapag sinabi niyang whiff, pinaimbestigahan niya iyon at nakakita siya ng basis to remove.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So you’re confirming, sir, that this Vener Baquiran has been cleared of any allegations of his involvement sa drugs?

SEC. PANELO: To my mind, the appointment shows that the President trusts this man.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, can I ask about Executive Order # 80? Iyon pong rationalizing the rules for the engagement of third party participants under petroleum service contracts. Meaning, iyon pong EO allows PNOC to contract a third party para lang mag-conduct ng exploration. Bakit po ginawa ni Presidente iyong EO na iyon? Are we making way for some companies or some organizations to participate in the exploration?

SEC. PANELO: I haven’t read that EO. Ano nga iyan, EO what?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: EO 80, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Eight-zero.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Eight-zero po.

SEC. PANELO: Sige, I will ask him about that.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi, sir. During the President’s visit to Japan, I think he mentioned that a third party may be a key to solving maritime woes with China. But he also insists that it can’t be US, is that right? So what particular country, sir, iyong ina-eye ni Presidente if ever?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know what country he was referring to.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Pero what will be the considerations po? How serious is the President in looking for a third party?

SEC. PANELO: Well, if the third party can help solve the conflict.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: But what will be the consideration, sir, in choosing what particular country will serve as a third party?

SEC. PANELO: The one who is—that country that will be effective – that will be the consideration.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Why not US, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know. I’ll ask the President.

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay. Thank you, MPC. Thank you, Secretary Panelo.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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