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:  Good morning, MPC. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO:  Good morning, members of the MPC. You got my ano ‘di ba, iyong clarification?

MPC:  Yes.

SEC. PANELO:  Alam mo—sino ba ‘yung huli, si Chona ba ‘yung nagtanong nun? Iyong huling tanong tungkol doon, lahat tayo mali ang interpretasyon natin eh klarong-klaro naman… Tingnan mo, para kita mo – reporter, sino ba ‘tong reporter na ito? “Sir, should we prevent China from fishing in our EEZ, kasi iyon ang request ng mga fishermen?” PRRD: “I don’t think that China would do that.” Talagang ang ibig niyang sabihin ‘I don’t think China would go fishing there.’ “Why, sir?” “Because we are friends.

Kaya ang dating sa—ang intindi natin eh iba, baligtad. O kaya ang daming nag-react tuloy. “Oh, that’s unconstitutional…” so forth and so on… Tama ang reaksiyon sa maling premise. That’s why I had to clarify. And I asked the President… tinanong ko nga siya, “Iyon nga exactly, that’s what I meant.” And then he elaborated pa doon sa speech niya.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Sir, are you saying that the President initially never really said that he will allow China to fish in Recto Bank?

SEC. PANELO:  No. Ang sinasabi ni Presidente—kasi ang tanong sa kaniya, ‘will we prevent China from fishing?’ Ang sagot ni Presidente doon, “I don’t think China would go fishing there.” Kasi nga may usapan na sila ever since, ‘di ba? Iyon ang pinapaliwanag niya nga sa speech niya, iyon ang sinasabi niya. The first time he went there, nagkaroon sila ng usapan… iyon. Kasi nga alam nila na ‘pag mayroong ano doon, baka magkaroon lang ng hostility leading to armed confrontation.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. But going back to my question, are you saying that the President never said that he will allow China to fish in—

SEC. PANELO:  He never said that. Tingnan mo sa mga speech niya.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. Speaking—alright. Last night—

SEC. PANELO:  He never said na he will not allow.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Last night po, sir iyong sinasabi ninyong speech?

SEC. PANELO:  Ah hindi, he never said that he will…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Allow.

SEC. PANELO:  Allow.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. Last night in the speech you were saying, I’m reading this transcript sent by Malacañang—

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, iyong sinasabi ninyong ‘of course’? Alam mo iyong ‘of course’ doon, he was referring to “Of course we talked about that,” iyon ang ibig niyang sabihin doon.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  No, no, no, no, no, no… Let me read to you the transcript, sir: “Tanong sila, Will you allow the Chinese to fish? Sabi ko, of course ‘yan ang pinag-usapan—

SEC. PANELO:  Pagkatapos mayroon siyang pinaliwanag sa baba eh, kasi tinanong ko siya exactly may problema kasi—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Yes. But in the same speech last night, he even gave specific points as to why he will allow or contin—let the Chinese fishermen fish in the Recto Bank. Are you saying nagbiro again?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi. Kasi sinasabi niya nga—kaya hindi raw puwedeng pigilan iyon kasi sinasabi niya claimant din sila. Claimant sila eh, that is a disputed area or territory.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  So again: Is he allowing it or not as far as you are concerned?

SEC. PANELO:  As far as, I think, the President is concerned that is a disputed area and China claim that it’s theirs. But ang usapan nila, parang walang gulo eh hindi na lang pupunta roon. Unang-una, one, mayroon na ba tayong balita o report na nagpunta sila roon sa Reed Bank? Wala naman ha. Never—have we heard about that, Reed Bank? Sa ibang lugar iyon. No, no, no…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Regardless, sir. Regardless, the issue of allowing or not—

SEC. PANELO:  Ah hindi, ang sinasabi mo fishing. Ikaw naman eh, you’re jumping to conclusion na. Pangalawa, hindi natin alam exactly kung the vessel was fishing there or was just passing through, innocent passage; kaya nga precisely iniimbestigahan eh, kaya masyado tayong nagtalunan kaagad kasi eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  No, sir. Regardless, it’s about his policy. Yesterday he said that iyong napag-usapan daw, iyong mutual agreement was that, ayun nga, China will allow or let our fishermen back in Scarborough Shoal—

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, hindi ba…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  And now, he’s letting them in the same way go to Reed Bank.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, wala siyang sinabi na i-allow. Ang sinasabi niya—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  So, you’re disputing what the President said last night?

SEC. PANELO:  Ang sinasabi niya, the Chinese government will not allow that kasi nga baka lang magkagulo; magkakaroon ng hostility.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  So again, you’re disputing what the President said last night that he will allow.

SEC. PANELO:  O hindi naman niya sinabi. Ang intindi ko, ang sinasabi niya may usapan na sila noon pa.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Oo nga – na puwede.

SEC. PANELO:  Oh… Hindi, na iyong mga Pilipino hindi papakialaman ng mga Chinese doon sa Reed Bank.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  In effect, puwede.

SEC. PANELO:  What do you mean puwede? Hindi nga papakialaman eh—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  That they can fish in each other’s—iyong kini-claim nila.

SEC. PANELO:  In other words, parang ang punto ni Presidente kung ipilit nila ang sarili nila doon, may magagawa ba tayo? Iyon ang punto ni Presidente eh. Kung ipilit nila ang sarili nila roon dahil that’s a disputed territory, may magagawa ba tayo? Tapos sabi niya, “O itong mga senador na ito, o iyong mga iba pa… gusto nila magdala ako ng mga armed people doon na bantayan. O, paano kung magkagulo? Papaano kung nagkabarilan doon? Are you telling me na iyong Chinese government will just sit idly? Eh siyempre magre-react din naman iyon.” Iyon ang ina-avoid ni Presidente.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Hence, that’s why he’s not stopping them from entering Recto Bank, right?

SEC. PANELO:  Unang-una sabi niya nga, ‘hindi nila gagawin iyon kasi we’re friends.’

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Uhum. But that’s not the point. What I’m asking—

SEC. PANELO:  That’s the point. The point is—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  No, no… What I’m asking is what the President—

SEC. PANELO:  Magiging irrelevant iyong tanong mo diyan kasi nga they will never do that.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  But we’re asking the President’s policy. Is he—puwede ba sa kaniya o hindi?

SEC. PANELO:  The policy of the President precisely is mayroon na silang usapan doon, the first time he made the visit kaya hindi siya worried doon. Kaya sinasabi niya, “They will never do that because we are friends.” May commitment sila eh, para walang gulo.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. It’s just not—

SEC. PANELO:  Kasi ang sabi pa nga niya, kasi marami naman silang—unang-una, parang nabanggit niya pa nga, “That’s not their fishing ground.” Ibang… siguro ibang lugar.

Q:  [off mic]

SEC. PANELO:  Whatever…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. It’s just that again sir, last night he was clear that he will allow them there.

SEC. PANELO:  Pero, what is important kay Presidente – ang hindi naintindihan ng mga kritiko – he’s trying to avoid potential situations that will lead to something na we will regret. And sabi niya nga, “I’m looking into the safety of…” – how many are we in the Philippines? Hundred something million Filipinos – na ‘pag nagkaroon ng gulo doon, puwede bang sabihin mo—saka iyon pa sinasabi niya, “hindi pupuwedeng pipilitin ko sila, parang kino-coerce mo sila. Eh baka iyong reaction nila iba – negative.” Oh, in other words talagang diplomat itong mama.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Kaya na nga sir. Hence, he is not stopping the Chinese fishermen from entering Recto Bank?

SEC. PANELO:  May usapan na nga sila eh. Kasi ‘pag sinabi mo—kung walang usapan at pumunta roon, iyon, puwede iyong tanong mo. Papupuntahin mo ba, payag—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. Can you tell us—give us more details sir about this mutual agreement that the President mentioned yesterday?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi niya nga—iyon lang ang sinabi niya, na there was that agreement, mutual agreement.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  What is this mutual agreement?

SEC. PANELO:  Na… okay na mag-fish ang Pilipino doon sa disputed area which they claim to be theirs.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. And then Chinese fishermen, ano iyong mutually on the side of the Chinese fishermen?

SEC. PANELO:  O, eh ‘di kung—ang agreement from what I gather is, hindi nila papakialaman iyong mga fishermen natin doon.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Oo nga. But in the case naman po of Chinese fishermen in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, ano po ‘yung agreement doon?

SEC. PANELO:  Ah, hindi ko alam iyong parteng iyon. Basta iyon lang alam ko, kung ano iyong sinabi niya.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, could you—again, could you tell us more about this agreement between the Philippines and China?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ko nga alam ‘yan, hija. I have to ask the President exactly iyong detalye, kasi hindi naman niya dinetalye eh.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Could you clarify whether the President is specifically referring to an agreement that covers Reed Bank or an agreement that covers Panatag Shoal?

SEC. PANELO:  I will ask him that, kasi hindi naman klaro din iyong sinabi niya ‘di ba? Parang general, so we have to ask him.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Alright. Thank you, sir.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Secretary, ano iyong ibig sabihin ni Presidente noong sinabi niya na ano, iyong… ito ha: “Sinabihan ang China, sinabi na natin ang usapan natin. Huwag na muna ngayon pag-usapan. Magkaibigan lang muna tayo. ‘Pag bigyan ko kayo ng armas, ano pang gusto ninyo? Ang projects ngayon, kita mo naman. You from Luzon, kita mo iyong highway ngayon? Kita mo iyong mga… tapos gusto mo lang na pilitin na umalis sila doon? Tayo ang mapulpog.” Ano iyong ibig sabihin noon, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Ang ibig sabihin, magkaibigan nga tayo kaya we’re talking about trade relations, people-to-people exchanges. So, bakit mo pa gagambalain iyon? Kasi ‘pag pinilit mo na magre-react din sila, eh mag-aaway lang kayo. Baka kung saan pa humantong iyon, mapanganib. Kaya huwag muna ngayon, darating ang panahon diyan. Siguro bago the end of his term sasabihin niya, “O, ano?” Eh…

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  So iyong sinabi po niya na, “Tapos gusto mo lang na pilitin na umalis sila doon” So, tama iyong interpretation na hindi niya nga pinipigilan iyong pagpasok?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi. Ang sinasabi niya, ‘pag pinilit mo iyong isang bagay at mag-react sila baka magkaroon tayo ng problema – ina-avoid niya nga iyon eh. Kaya nga very cautious siya na huwag magkagulo eh.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR:  Sige, iyon muna Sec. Thank you.

SEC. PANELO:  Saka remember doon sa UNCLOS, palaging ang remedy is: all is peaceful means, diplomatic.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET:  Secretary, is it allowed in our laws for President Duterte and Xi Jinping to go into a mutual agreement on a fishing rights without the concurrence of Congress, given that we are talking about sovereign rights?

SEC. PANELO:  With respect to?

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET:  The mutual agreement, sir.  Is it allowed in our laws na they go into a mutual agreement over our fishing rights by allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in our exclusive economic zone, given that we are talking here, iyong sa sovereign rights natin?

SEC. PANELO:  Ano ba ang difference sa sovereign rights saka sovereignty, meron ba?

Q:  Sovereignty is territory, sovereign rights is the right to exploit resources.

SEC. PANELO: You must remember that under the Constitution even the so called sovereignty over certain natural resources… merong provisions na naka-qualify. Like puwede tayong pumasok ng joint venture agreement. Kumbaga iyong sovereignty even in our Constitution hindi absolute eh.   Kina-qualify din natin eh, why, I think the reason, the logic there is kailangan din natin na, we are in a world, we are not in an island ng tayo-tayo lang. We have to deal with nations of the world.  Kailangan din natin ng tulong nila, kailangan din natin ng kanilang investment. Kaya even our Constitution allows certain actions that will effectively diminish the sovereignty of this country. But we allow it, because kailangan din natin iyon, and for that matter lahat ng bansa ganyan.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET:  So, you are saying sir na hindi kailangan ng Congress concurrence, iyong parang unilateral lang on the part of the President?

SEC. PANELO:   Hindi. Pagdating doon sa specific provision like iyong joint, eh kailangan talagang may Congress, palaging meron ang Congress. Even nga iyong nga, alam mo even iyong exclusive use ng EEZ na sinasabi, I’m even wondering whether this is immediately executor, or it requires Congress to enact law para magkaroon ng linaw. Hindi, not fisheries code, iyong pagdating sa EEZ, kasi iba iyong exclusive economic zone eh. Especially because under the UNCLOS,   puwedeng i-grant sa ibang bansa, kaya hindi masyadong maliwanag eh. Baka Congress will need to pass a law para makita natin kung ano ang mechanism.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET:  sir, you are saying na kailangan ng concurrence ng Congress, so why did the President went into a mutual agreement with Xi Jinping, especially now pinag-uusapan nga natin dito ay iyong sovereign rights natin over our exclusive economic zones?

SEC. PANELO:  Alam mo iyong ginawa ni Presidente more on avoiding dangerous situations that will affect the millions of Filipinos. Wala naman siyang ginawa na masama doon, nakabuti nga iyon, dahil ngayon nakaka-fish iyong mga fisherman natin doon sa mga areas na dati ayaw nila, hindi ba?

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET: So, you are saying sir that what the President did was Constitutional?

SEC. PANELO:  Definitely. Ano ba ang unconstitutional doon sa napag-usapan nila na wag magkagulo doon sa isang lugar. Kasi tandaan ninyo, this is a disputed territory, buti sana kung hindi. Kung hindi, di wala tayong kaproble-problema.

Iyon nga ang sinasabi niya, meron ngang arbitral ruling, pero ang America, di ba dine-dare niya ang America, oh sige punta tayong tatlo doon pati Canada, tingnan natin kung ano ang mangyari. Di ba, he keeps on saying noong ginagawa pa lang iyan, nandiyan naman kayo na nakikita ninyo, kayang-kaya n’yo namang i-stop-in, hindi n’yo ini-stop. Pagkatapos ngayon na nandiyan na, super power na, gusto ninyo ako ang gawin ninyong pawn. Oh hindi ba iyon ang pinupunto ni Presidente?  EH puwede namang mag-usap tayo, pag-usapan natin.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQ. NET:  Sir on another topic. Is the President serious when he mentioned yesterday, when he dared the United States and Western allies to help the Philippines stop China’s aggression in the South China Sea?

SEC. PANELO:   Sa akin, ang tingin ko doon nangangantiyaw siya. “Masyado kayong maraming sinasabi ngayon, samantalang noon kaya ninyong i-stop-in,” iyon ang punto ni Presidente roon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, mga factual questions lang: The President said yesterday that he entered into a mutual agreement with President Xi Jinping, in the presence of the Secretary of DILG, Defense…

 SEC. PANELO:  Bilateral siguro iyon.

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: …When was this exactly, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Kelan ba iyong first trip, basta iyong first trip sa Beijing.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  And would you know sir, the terms of the–sinabi n’yo kanina hindi pa?

SEC. PANELO:  No.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  And then does it—legal basis for it?

SEC. PANELO:  Which one?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  The entering into an agreement with?

SEC. PANELO:  Iyong entering of agreement na iyon, more on—gaya ng sinabi ko na kanina, para lang to avoid armed conflicts between the two sides.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And from the statement of the President yesterday, did he say that he is allowing China to fish?

SEC. PANELO:  What he is saying is, China will not do that, kasi nga they are friends, alam nila na kapag ginawa nila iyon, baka magkagulo lang tayo.  In other words, he believes in the assurance, friends na hindi ka manggugulo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  When was this assurance given?

SEC. PANELO:  Di ba sinabi niya na may usapan sila nung first trip.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  How then do you interpret the statement from the President, this is… I’m reading from the transcript of the Palace, official transcript, he said “Will you allow the Chinese to fish?. President talking, sabi niya, sabi ko of course”. How do you translate that, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh ako ang tingin ko doon, iyong of course niya, he was referring to iyong pinag-usapan nila tungkol doon sa topic na iyon. Iyon na nga, iyong agreement na hindi magpapakialaman doon sa Reed Bank.  Iyon ang pagkakaintindi ko, I don’t know. I will ask again the President.

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  No, sir.  I think you don’t have to ask him, because the statement is here; next paragraph, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi rin, iyong statement din meron doon, iyon pala, pare-pareho tayong mali ang interpretasyon natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  I’ll go there later no, pero, sir after that paragraph. He said “iyan ang pinag-usapan namin noon” referring maybe to the Scarborough incident in 2016 when Chinese President Xi Jinping allowed us to fish. “Iyan ang pinag-usapan namin noon, kaya tayo ay nag-uusap eh. And that was we were allowed to fish again. It was a mutual agreement, sige bigayan”

SEC. PANELO:  And ibig sabihin ng fishing agreement, ibig sabihin noon, hindi tayo pinapa-fish.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Yes, sir. I mean, hindi naman iyon debatable. This one: “sige bigayan tayo – fish ka doon, fish ako dito”. The agreement says that they can fish, correct?

SEC. PANELO:  Doon sa kanilang fishing ground.

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Which is what?

SEC. PANELO:  Ewan ko kung saan ang fishing ground ng China.

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  All right, sir. Bottom line sir, now President Duterte yesterday said that he cannot and will not ban China from fishing in our waters. Did he say that, did he not say that?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko nakita iyong categorical na iyon na sinasabi niya. Kasi ang nangyayari sa atin, we are interpreting some statement of his to mean this way and to mean that way.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, medyo klaro naman yata si Presidente yesterday?

 SEC. PANELO:  Alam mo iyong mga sinasabi ninyo ngayon, that subject lahat iyan sa usapan sa diplomatic mechanism natin, kasi pag-uusapan iyan, kung regular naman iyong usapan nila.  oh I’m sure that will be raised: Oh sabi ni Presidente—ganito ba ang linya ni Presidente ninyo” ‘di, siyempre sasabihin naman ng DFA ganito iyan.  Lahat iyon, kasi sa tingin ko, parang general iyang statement ni Presidente eh. Walang specific na ano eh, you can interpret it other way.

 JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So now, sir you are saying that the President did not say that he will not ban China?

SEC. PANELO:  What he is saying is, pag ginawa niya iyon – iyon ang sinasabi niya – pag ginawa niya iyon at umalma ay may problema tayo, kaya nga hindi ko na pararatingin pa doon. Iyan ang pinupunto niya eh, at naniniwala siyang hindi naman mangyayari iyon, kasi hindi naman sila pupunta roon, they will never do that – fish there. Why, because we are friends, iyon ang maliwanag na naiintindihan ko sa sinasabi niya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi ko na alam, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Sabi ng mga nagku-comment, “Nakakatuwa iyong press briefing ninyo.” Sabi ko, bakit? “Animated.”

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Oo, and very unclear.

SEC. PANELO: Because you make it unclear.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Of course not, sir. Okay, let’s go to that statement that you referred to when we asked the President—

SEC. PANELO: Did you ask him ba?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: We did, sir. I did.

SEC. PANELO: Anong sagot?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Question, sir: Will you prevent China from fishing within our EEZ? – because that was the request of the fishermen.

SEC. PANELO: Anong sagot niya?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Question, sir: What was the subject of the question, when I said—

SEC. PANELO: Ano nga ang sagot?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Will you prevent China from fishing within our EEZ?

SEC. PANELO: Anong sagot niya nga doon?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sa iyo muna, sir. Iyon pong question ay ganito: Will you prevent China from fishing within our EEZ? – iyon po kasi ang request ng mga fishermen. What was the request of the fishermen, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Ewan ko.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The ban. They wanted the ban, sir.

SEC. PANELO: They want exclusivity, iyon ang sabi nila. Gawin daw exclusive.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, yes. They want the ban. And then—that’s why we ask the President, we want to know his reaction. So I said—

SEC. PANELO: Ano ang sagot?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Will you prevent China from fishing within our EEZ? What was the subject matter of the question, sir, from your interpretation… from your understanding?

SEC. PANELO: Eh di iyong sa EEZ.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is it the ban?

SEC. PANELO: Pero ang gusto kong malaman, anong sagot niya?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I’ll go there, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, importante iyong sagot niya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, sir, importante and related to the question. Sir, question: Will you prevent China from fishing within our EEZ? What was the subject matter of that—

SEC. PANELO: Oh di EEZ, di in reference to Reed Bank.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, sir. Is it the ban? Is the question talking about the ban?

SEC. PANELO: It appears to be.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, okay.

SEC. PANELO: Anong sagot?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Klaro, sir, ha. The question refers to the ‘ban.’ Answer – Presidente Duterte: ‘I don’t think that China would do that.’

SEC. PANELO: Oh exactly, iyon na nga ang sinasabi niya. Hindi gagawin ng China na pumasok doon. So in other words, ang sagot niya roon, it is not necessary to prevent them from fishing because they will not do that. In other words, why should I prevent somebody to do something he is not going to do that?

Halimbawa, sabihin ko sa’yo Joseph, huwag ka nang magtanong eh ever since naman pala ay ayaw mo namang magtanong. Bakit ko sasabihing magtatanong ka, ‘di ba? Kung ayaw mo  naman talaga from the start, mayroon ka nang desisyon, bakit pa kita tatanungin. Sasabihan na, huwag mong gawin ito ha. Eh baka sabihin, bakit mo akong pinagbabawalan; may sinabi ba ako sa’yong pupunta ako doon. Iyon ang… baka mamaya iba pa ang…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So you’re saying, sir – I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here – that the President is saying that there’s no need for a ban because in the first place, China will not do that.

SEC. PANELO: Iyan ang klarong nasa transcript. At saka tinanong ko rin siya eh, kung iyon ang meaning niya, oo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Anong meaning niya, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon nga, hindi gagawin ng China so bakit mo pa ipi-prevent.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No need to ban because they will not do it?

SEC. PANELO: They will not do it.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why then do we have an agreement?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon nga ang resulta ng agreement nila eh kaya there’s no need for banning. Kumbaga, voluntary lahat.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, he mentioned projects in the context of our issue with China last night.

SEC. PANELO: Anong projects?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Projects in Luzon, in Metro Manila.

Q: Iyong highway…

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Yes, the highways, infrastructure.

SEC. PANELO: Sinong nagbanggit?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: The President in his speech.

SEC. PANELO: Iyong speech niya sa PSG.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Correct. Can we say categorically that the President is protecting his Build, Build, Build Program in which China is also a partner?

SEC. PANELO: He is protecting interest of the Filipino people. The Build, Build Program is precisely designed to uplift our economy, and necessarily to uplift the lives of the Filipinos.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: And that’s one of the reasons why he’s being very, very careful in dealing with China?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, dahil magkakaibigan nga tayo eh. Pero palagi niyang—may colatilla naman siya: But there will come a time na I will …

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: And we expect the President to do everything to protect that relationship with China?

SEC. PANELO: Yes—the what?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: To protect his friendly relations with China.

SEC. PANELO: Depende. Di ba sinasabi ni Presidente, ‘kapag mayroong assault – assault ha – at mayroong nasaktan sa mga Pilipino, aba’y hindi ako papayag.’ Hindi ba sinabi niya? ‘Makikipaggiyera ako sa inyo kahit na talo ninyo ako.’ ‘Di ba, klaro naman iyon eh. But I don’t think that it will come to that precisely because nga marunong nga siya eh. He’s very smart.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Except for those reported harassments in West Philippine Sea involving our fishermen plus the Recto Bank?

SEC. PANELO:  Oh tayo rin, ‘di ba, tayo hindi ba may napatay pa nga. Alam mo ang tingin ko, I was telling—sino bang kausap ko kahapon? I was telling it to the Senate President. I think what started the whole confusion and fracas is because iyong mga kritiko or pati kayo rin siguro assumed na iyong Chinese vessel is owned by the Chinese government kaya tayo nagre-react. Ang dating, itong Chinese government na ito, ito ang bumangga rito eh. Eh hindi, Chinese vessel; private eh. Bakit sinasama kasi natin ang Chinese government? Isasama lang natin iyon kung wala silang ginagawa na gawing accountable iyong Chinese vessel which is under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government.

Iyon I think ang nag-umpisa eh. Kasi ang reaction natin, “Chinese.” Para rin tayo, kung nangbangga ba tayo, iyong Filipino vessel, at sinabi “O ba’t iyong Philippine gov…” Teka muna, private vessel lang iyon, imbestigahan namin iyan. Hindi kami papayag kung… parang ganoon. Kaya ang tingin ko, doon nag-umpisa iyan eh.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, another topic. Sir, the President also appointed retired Army General Ricardo Morales as PhilHealth Board Member. Can you just confirm, sir—

SEC. PANELO: Board member ng ano?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: PhilHealth. There’s an appointment paper—

SEC. PANELO: Ng?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Appointing Ricardo Morales as PhilHealth Board Member. Can you just confirm, if he is going to be the chief of the PhilHealth?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko pa alam kung siya ang magiging chief; basta member siya ng board.  Sino ba ang nag-ano … ‘di ba the board will choose.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, still on the Chinese vessel. You keep on stressing kasi iyong the China will not do that, hence there’s no need to ban.

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang sabi ni Presidente.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Why can’t you just answer, explain to us what the policy is? Are we okay, whether or not China plans to do it?

SEC. PANELO: The policy of the President is very clear: Ayaw niyang pumasok sa isang sitwasyon that will reap danger and put the lives of hundred plus million Filipinos on the edge. Iyon ang pinaka-policy niya.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: I’m asking about the specific policy of having Chinese fishermen in our exclusive economic zone. Is it allowed or not? Are we okay with that or not?

SEC. PANELO: Ang sinasabi ni Presidente, hindi ko na pagbabawalan kasi hindi naman nila gagawin. Iyon ang point ng kaniyang… iyon ang transcript niya eh, so iyan ang policy.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: What is—again, again sir?

SEC. PANELO: The policy is, according to him, according to the transcript when he was asked: Will we prevent Chinese fishermen…? Ang sabi niya, “China will not do that. Why? Because we are friends.” Ibig sabihin—tapos in reference doon sa sinasabi niya, ‘eh nag-usap na kami diyan tungkol doon.’

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, iba nga eh. It’s just yes or no.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi puwedeng iba.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Are we okay with Chinese fishermen—

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi, mahirap iyang yes or no. Kasi ang headline kapag sinabi kong yes or no, iba. Iba iyong—kailangan in context palagi tayo, kung ano sinabi ni Presidente, iyon lang ang gawin natin.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: That’s why. And yesterday, the President said was clearer about this. That he will not stop them—

SEC. PANELO: Kasi iba na naman ang interpretasyon ninyo. Sa akin, ang interpretasyon ko, iyong ‘of course’ niya, in reference doon sa pinag-uusapan nila. Kumbaga, “Of course, we talked about that.” Hindi iyong, “Of course, I will prevent.”

Kasi if you will read the succeeding transcript, sinasabi niya roon na kapag ‘if I will enforce my desire to implement, paano kung nagkaroon ng reaksiyon na negative eh di magkakaroon ng giyera. Eh ayaw kong mangyari iyon.’

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, you have every chance naman to give an explanation eh. But we need a yes or no first. Are we okay with Chinese fishermen?

SEC. PANELO:  I will ask the President exactly kung ano talaga. “O, ano ba final mo Mr. President?” para sigurado. Kasi as far as I’m concerned, kung babasahin ko ang—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  It’s a yes or no, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Ay, no… I will ask him para I will give you—I will make a statement.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Okay. Sir, doon lang sa investigation since we were talking about it earlier. Nabanggit ni Pangulo yesterday that ang intindi nila ngayon is that ‘the Chinese vessel sideswipe’ sabi niya, iyong boat ng—

SEC. PANELO:  Eh kasi siguro—‘di ba sinasabi niya mayroon na siyang preliminary report from the Coast Guard. Eh siguro iyon ang preliminary report ng Coast Guard.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Does this mean that the investigation is leading towards, ayun nga, na it was just an accident?

SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi niya, mayroon nang preliminary report. Eh doon siguro siya nagbabase. Pero ang sabi niya, hindi pa nagagawa iyong final report… baka ita-type pa. O, eh ‘di ibig may—alam mo si Presidente just don’t say anything na walang basis, mayroon siyang pinaghuhugutan noon. O, eh ‘antayin natin iyong report. ‘Di ba sabi niya mayroon akong—anong tawag niya doon? Something in his sleeve, nag-aantay lang daw siya ng—may baraha siya. Siguro mayroon siyang alam kung ano talaga nangyari doon.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Is there any update sir on what possible actions, if we are to take any, against the Chinese nationals on that vessel—

SEC. PANELO:  Eh, mahirap mag-speculate kasi hindi pa natin alam. We have to wait for the final results, and then we will make a move.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES:  Thank you.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir if I were a Chinese fisherman…

SEC. PANELO:  Ah, since you are not.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  If I were [laughs] and I don’t think I’ll ever be – ‘cause I don’t know how to fish. If I were a Chinese fisherman—

SEC. PANELO:  And?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  And I want to go to Recto Bank…

SEC. PANELO:  O, ‘di manghihingi ka ng ano [laughs]… manghingi ka muna ng permiso doon sa mga boss mo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  And I was allowed by my bosses… meaning, I’m ready to go Recto Bank and two areas that are covered by the Philippine EEZ. I want to fish, okay? Given the President’s statement yesterday, can I?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh conjecture ‘yan eh. I will not deal on conjectures. If that happens, then we will respond to your question. Until such time, it’s all speculations. Kaya tayo naaano sa mga speculation…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Are you walking back sir the statement of the President yesterday?

SEC. PANELO:  That?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Is the Palace walking back—

SEC. PANELO:  What walking back?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  —The statement of the President? Because—

SEC. PANELO:  Kina-clarify natin, kasi iyong premise natin mali eh, kaya iyong sagot ko iba rin. O pero noong binalikan ko iyong transcript, iba ang dating ng—mali iyong premise natin eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Okay. Sir, when the President said that there is a mutual agreement between Xi and him. In your interpretation, what was the agreement again? Sorry, I have to repeat everything.

SEC. PANELO:  O, eh ‘di the agreement is hindi… hindi magkakagulo doon sa lugar na iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  With regard to fishing, what was the agreement? What was it saying? [Sino po ‘yan?]

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, may nag-text.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Do you wanna call a friend? [laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  May nag-text, makulit ka daw. [laughs]

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ah, okay lang…

SEC. PANELO:  O, eh dati naman ‘ika kong makulit ‘yan eh. Trabaho niya iyon, that’s part of your job. O, ulitin natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, ite-text ko din siya. Sino… para makapag—

SEC. PANELO:  Ah, magandang ano iyon..

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, game. Ha?

SEC. PANELO:  Maganda…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ah, okay. [laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  Saka guwapo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, game. With regard to the agreement, what does it say in terms of fishing rights? Mechanics of the Chinese fishing in the Philippine—

SEC. PANELO:  Ang pagkakaintindi ko kasi, dati hindi tayo pinapayagan kasi nga mayroon silang claim eh – as far as they are concerned, kanila iyon eh. O, kaya hindi ba… kaya mayroong mga sinasabing harassment. O, pero noong nagkaroon sila ng pag-uusap, pumayag na sila na hindi nila pakikialaman iyong ating mga fisherman.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So therefore sir, translate that to policy now, the mutual agreement says what – in terms of fishing… in terms of fishing?

SEC. PANELO:  The mutual agreement is, hindi makikialam sila doon sa fishing ground natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Can China fish in our Philippine EEZ?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh hindi nga daw sila makikialam eh. Hindi ba… they’ll never do that, ‘yan ang sinabi ni Presidente – they’ll never do that, why? Because we are friends, o eh ano pa bang…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Are we listening to the same President, sir? [laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  Baka you’re not listening to what he is saying…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Anyway sir, game… Because some are saying sir that the agreement, he cannot do because of the Constitutional provision that he is mandated to protect the EEZ. Do you agree with that?

SEC. PANELO:  Na alin?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Na he cannot enter into these kinds of agreement because that opens our EEZ to foreign forces and that is a contravention—or just contrary to…

SEC. PANELO:  Eh iyon ngang provision na iyon ‘di ba sinasabi ko kanina, is that executory or it requires Congress passing a law to define exactly the whys and the wherefores of that provision. Kasi hindi naman lahat ng provision sa Constitution executory eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Are you referring to the protection of the EEZ?

SEC. PANELO:  Oo…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Interesting that you—you mentioned that, because there is a fisheries code, Republic Act 10654…

SEC. PANELO:  Iyong fisheries code na sinasabi mo, iba iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  No, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Iyong sa EEZ, kailangan na ang batas refers to that particular use of the Exclusive Economic Zone. Iyong fishes, applicable iyon sa lahat ng ginagawa ng fisherman eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ah sir, can I read Section 1?

SEC. PANELO:  O, ano?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Of—Section 2 actually, Declaration of Policy of the Fisheries Code 10654, it says here: It is hereby declare the policy of the state—letter C, “to ensure the rational and sustainable development, management and conservation of the fishery and aquatic resources in Philippine waters, including the Exclusive Economic Zone and in the adjacent high seas consistent with the primordial objective of maintaining…” It mention… it does mention how we are going to treat the EEZ.

SEC. PANELO:  O, eh ‘di economic—iyon ang policy, kumbaga policy iyon. Pero iyong specific provision, does it deal with how you will deal with other countries coming into our Exclusive Economic?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Yes, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Ano nakalagay?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  This is a law, at access, mayroon sir Section 5. Section 7-Access to Fishery Resources — harvest control and reference points, monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing in all Philippine waters and Philippine Flagged Distant Water, fishing vessels…

SEC. PANELO:  Ano—may nakalagay ba diyan kung may pumasok, anong gagawin? Kung mayroong…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ah, they have to coordinate sir with us.

SEC. PANELO:  Ha?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  They have to coordinate.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, ang ibig sabihin kung may violation.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Ah yes sir, mayroong penalties and—in fact it—

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, sinong magha-handle ng violation? Ano nakalagay sa batas?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir… ah, iyon pong—mayroong tayong—ito sir, sa Chapter 6… Para tayong law school ‘no? Prohibitions and Penalties, Unauthorized Fishing.., tapos they have to gain license and permit from the Department, the BFAR siguro ‘to sir and LGU.

SEC. PANELO:  Baka naman with respect to Filipinos iyon. Filipinos, eh kaya nga fisheries eh; Paano pagdating doon sa mga foreigners na pumasok?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sige na, sir… Iyong poaching din sir ha, Section 91 oh… may violation iyon.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  Hi sir, good afternoon. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said yesterday that the Philippine government cannot allow Chinese fishermen to fish in our Exclusive Economic Zone. But then the President said, Justice Carpio is stupid and fool. May mali po ba sa sinabi ni Justice Carpio?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi… Ang sinasabi ni Presidente iyong matagal ko na ring sinasabi na ang gusto kasi noong mga kritiko is to pursue an aggressive isolationist policy na very dangerous sa panahon ngayon. Hindi natin alam kung ano ang magiging epekto noong kokontrahin mo, pagkatapos i-enforce mo; ‘pag nagkaroon ng gulo… iyon ang pinupunto lang naman ni Presidente.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV:  So sir, dangerous na i-invoke iyong nakalagay sa Philippine Constitution?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh, nilalayo mo naman iyong tanong mo eh. Ang sinasabi ni Presidente, uulitin ko na naman. Ayaw niya na iyong mga pinipuwersa siya na gumawa ng hakbang na malalagay sa panganib, sa bingit ng panganib ang mga Pilipino. Kasi pinipilit siya, kumbaga… hindi ba sabi niya, “They are looking for trouble. Gusto nila talagang isubo ako doon” Kaya ‘yan ang pinupunto ni Presidente eh, kaya siya nagre-react.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Hi sir, good afternoon. Sir, nakakapag-submit ba iyong Philippine Navy at saka Philippine Coast Guard ng mga apprehension reports po nila sa illegal fishing ng Chinese—

SEC. PANELO:  Siyempre.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Nang poaching katulad po noong nangyayari sa mga nakalipas na administrasyon. Kasi dati po – na-assign ako sa maritime beat – halos linggo-linggo po merong report iyong military at saka iyong Coast Guard ng apprehension ng mga illegal fishing at saka poaching mga Chinese fishermen. Hanggang ngayon po ba may ganoon pa?

SEC. PANELO:  Siguro naman, kasi standard iyon eh.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  Kasi po parang wala akong nababalitaan na may ganoon eh. Kasi kung may ganun pa po hanggang ngayon puwede pong basis iyon sa sinasabi ninyo na ano eh, na hindi pinapayagan ng Pilipinas nang iligal iyong mga dayuhan ke Chinese, ke Taiwanese gaya po nung mga nangyari noong nakaraang administrasyon.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi tayo ng report sa Coast Guard with respect to that.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW:  And Philippine Navy sir, kasi meron po silang regular na ganoon eh.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  Sec, clarification. Iyong sinasabi ninyo na sinabi ni Presidente na he trust that China will not fish doon sa EEZ, they will not do that—

 SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, kung ano iyong sinabi niya. ‘Di ba?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  It covers the entire E—

SEC. PANELO:  Sabi niya, I don’t think that China would do that. Ang tanong: should we prevent China from fishing in our EEZ?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  Iyong statement, that covers the entire 200 nautical mile EEZ sa Philippines?

SEC. PANELO:  Eh, EEZ ang tanong eh, tapos iyon naman ang sagot niya di…

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  But Sec., Panatag Shoal is located within the EEZ. Eh ang nangyayari doon, Sec?

SEC. PANELO:  Oh di ba kaya nga tayo may mga diplomatic protest.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  But they are fishing there. In fact, they are in the area.

SEC. PANELO:  Pero nagpo-protesta tayo. Kaya nga hindi ba subject nga ng diplomatic mechanism iyon kung papano nila ire-resolve iyon.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  So that means, hindi totoo—I mean, ginawa nila, they already went there, nag-fish na sila in an area within the EEZ?

SEC. PANELO:  Alam mo pag sinabi mo kasing ‘nila,’ you refer to the Chinese government, hindi ba, iyon ang assumption, diyan na naman tayo mali. Baka iyong mga fisherman doon sa Chinese, hindi naman ina-allow ng Chinese government iyon pero pumupunta—

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  Sec, there were reports—

SEC. PANELO:  Na?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  That Chinese boats were accompanied by Chinese militias. So paano iyon, Sec? May mga ganoong reports iyong fishermen even our security forces kung i-check ninyo iyong mga previous reports nila. There were reports that iyong Chinese fishermen were accompanied by Chinese militia and then iyong Coastguard ng China was even there.

SEC. PANELO:  Oh eh di, that is a violation of their own…

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  So ergo, nasira na iyong trust ni Presidente doon sa China, doon sa Panatag pa lang.

SEC. PANELO:  Kaya nga subject—kaya nga nireklamo natin eh, di ba?

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  So therefore, do we still have a basis to… iyong i-maintain natin iyong claim ni Presidente that they won’t do that given that nandoon iyong Panatag, ganoon iyong situation doon. Oh sige iyong Recto, sige sabihin natin wala muna, pero iyong Panatag very clear na nasa EEZ rin po iyon.  Paano iyon, Sec?

SEC. PANELO:  Basta iyong nangyari doon sa Panatag, meron na tayong mga reklamo doon at subject na iyon sa kanilang pag-uusap; iyong sa Reed Bank, isang insidente pa lang iyon.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  So naniniwala pa ba si Presidente na China won’t do it, given iyong nangyari sa Panatag, iyong sa fishing?

SEC. PANELO:  Baka he is only referring to Reed Bank.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR:  Kanina sabi ninyo EEZ buo.

SEC. PANELO:  Iyan ang interpretasyon natin, kasi ang pinag-uusapan iyong Reed Bank talaga eh, iyong insidenteng iyon. So, he could be just focusing on that particular incident.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Sir, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario said that President Duterte can be impeached for constitutional violations when he failed to protect the country’s EEZ?

SEC. PANELO:  Salita lang iyon ng ano. Alam mo, under the Constitutions merong provisions on impeachment. Kung naniniwala sila na may ginawa siyang impeachable ground, o eh di mag-file, di ba? But you cannot stop the President from doing measures, steps that to his mind is the correct way to obey the constitutional command to him to protect and to serve the Filipino people. Di ba sinabi niya nga, ‘I’m willing to sacrifice my life, my position. You can put me to jail, you can assassinate me…’ – di ba pinatanggal niya pa nga iyong bullet [proof] glass. Wala ano roon… wala siyang takot doon eh. Basta ang ginagawa niya palagi sa kapakanan ng taumbayan. Iyon ang hindi nakikita ng mga kritiko.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  So, the Palace believes that what President Duterte did is not an impeachable offense?

SEC. PANELO:  Definitely.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Because?

SEC. PANELO:  Ano ba ang nakalagay doon sa culpable violation of the Constitution, ano, like what – bribery, wala; graft and corruption, high crimes. Anong ginawa niya?

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Sir, does it seem like the President is weighing between which constitutional duty is more important to him, protecting the EEZ—

SEC. PANELO:  There is only one very important duty of the President and that is ‘to serve and to protect the Filipino people.’ Lahat ng provisions doon sa Constitution, doon nanggagaling iyon.

Parang Ten Commands din, ‘love thy neighbor.’ Nandoon na lahat iyon. Love God as you love…, di ba parang ganoon iyon eh; iyon ang basis eh. Eh lahat ng provision ng Constitution kung titingnan mo palaging doon galing eh, sa ‘serving the people and protecting the people.’

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Sir, on a related note, sir. Former senatorial candidate Chel Diokno, who is lawyer for the fishermen in a Writ of Kalikasan case before the Supreme Court, said that the Chinese fishermen can be sanctioned under the Fisheries Code just by entering the Philippine EEZ.

SEC. PANELO:  Ano sabi niya?

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:   Diokno is saying that the Chinese fishermen or the Chinese fishing vessel or foreign vessel can be sanctioned under the country’s Fisheries Code just by their mere presence in the Philippines EEZ. He cited Section 1, which says: It shall be unlawful for any foreign person, corporation or entity to fish or operate any fishing vessel in Philippine waters. The entry of any foreign fishing vessel in Philippine waters shall constitute a prima facie evidence that the vessel is engaged in fishing in Philippine waters.

SEC. PANELO:  Prima-facie lang iyon. Ibig sabihin, hindi pa proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Ibig sabihin—kasi like for instance, in that Reed Bank incident, hindi natin alam eh kung nagpi-fish ba siya roon o dumaan lang siya. Kasi they are also entitled to innocent passage eh, di ba? Kaya nga precisely gusto nating ma-imbestigahan eh; nag-aantay tayo ng final results of the investigation.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  So for now sir, the Duterte’s administration recourse to incidents like this is to just to file a diplomatic protest. Does it mean that its hands are tied vis-à-vis fining Chinese or any foreign fishing vessels?

SEC. PANELO:  Bakit naman hands are tied, nag-i-imbestiga nga tayo eh. Pag nalaman natin na at fault, di meron na tayong gagawin. Sa ngayon, hindi pa nga natin alam.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Na-fine ba natin, sir, iyong sa Panatag Shoal, would you know?

SEC. PANELO:  Ang alin?

 JULIE AURELIO/PDI:  Na fine ba po ba iyong Chinese fishermen sa Panatag Shoal?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ba subject to diplomatic protest iyon?

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Iyong sa atin, iyong sanction natin. The diplomatic protest is another thing. Pero for us, have we fined any Chinese fishing vessel under the Duterte administration?

SEC. PANELO:  May nag demanda ba? Ang tanong diyan: dinemanda ba iyong sinasabi mo? What particular incident in Panatag Shoal? You have to be specific about it, which one there? Kung isa, dalawa, tatlo, apat, alin doon, para we can ask the Coast Guard: nagdemanda ba kayo, na-identify n’yo ba iyong vessel o nakatakas sa inyo? Di ba hindi lang ganoon ka-simple iyon eh: you have to ask certain facts.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Sir, huli ko na ito sa China. I just have to stress, because it’s quite frustrating sir that we can’t get a categorical answer on our policy of whether or not Chinese fishermen are allowed in Reed Bank. But, iyong minention po na provision ni Julie, Section 91 of the Fisheries Code: It shall be unlawful for any foreign person, corporation or entity to fish or operate any fishing vessel in Philippine waters—

SEC. PANELO:  And tanong nga diyan eh, were they fishing, iyon nga ang tanong eh. We have to specifically refer to one incident, we cannot generalize. There is only one incident in the Reed Bank. We don’t even know whether they were fishing there or they were just passing through.

 INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Yes.

SEC. PANELO:  Oh, exactly. So hindi tayo basta ganoon.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  I am not talking about that specific incident; I’m talking about the general policy.

SEC. PANELO:  If there is a violation of our law, then they should be held accountable.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Yes, so what is the policy then? What would violate the law?

SEC. PANELO:  We will enforce the law kung may violation. Ano bang sinasabi mong law?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Unlawful nga for any foreign person to operate or fish.

SEC. PANELO:  Then we will enforce the law. If it’s unlawful for them to enter, then we will enforce the law.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  So now, you are saying na bawal sila doon?

SEC. PANELO:  Na alin?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Bawal ang fishing doon by a foreign national.

SEC. PANELO:  Sabi ko na nga kanina, you have to specify kung ano ang ginawa, alin ba ang ginawa nila. I don’t want to respond to general question.

 INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  No, no, I’m asking about the policy.

SEC. PANELO:  You have to refer to a specific situation, a specific case and I will respond to it. Not in a general way.

 INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  No, I even referring to—

SEC. PANELO:  We will be committing blunders pag general ang tanong natin.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  No, no, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  If you want a general answer: We will enforce the law.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Okay. And the law says that it’s unlawful for any foreign person to operate any fishing vessel in Philippine waters. So, bawal?

SEC. PANELO:  Kaya nga, kung meron bang ano, then we will enforce the law; eh kung wala, kaya ang tanong ko sa iyo—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Kung wala, no it’s fine. I’m not asking you, telling you that we should.

SEC. PANELO:  Basta—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  I’m asking kung puwede o hindi.

SEC. PANELO:  Basta: We will enforce the law, we will enforce the Constitution. Iyon ang policy ng gobyerno

 INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So bawal?

SEC. PANELO: Basta we will enforce the law, that’s my answer.  We will enforce the law, regardless. The absolute answer of this government—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Again, but it’s also—

SEC. PANELO:  We will enforce the Constitution.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: It’s unlawful.

SEC. PANELO:  We will enforce the Constitution.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, following up Ina’s question. If the investigation shows that the Chinese vessel is fishing in Reed Bank, anong gagawin ng Pilipinas?

SEC. PANELO: We will prosecute.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So bawal, bawal mangisda ang mga Chinese doon?

SEC. PANELO: Aba, kung nakita natin na talagang ginawa nila, lumabag, oh di ba. Eh kung … hindi pa nga natin … ang problema kasi nga, hindi pa natin alam. Siguro kung mayroon ng findings at wala tayong ginawa – ayan, you can pounce on this government. Pero kung wala pa ngang nangyayari, nagku-conjecture lang tayo eh – hintayin natin.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: We will prosecute, sir, under the policy that the Philippine government is not allowing the Chinese to fish in Recto Bank?

SEC. PANELO: Basta ang policy ni Presidente, he will enforce the law – may colatilla naman siya. Iyon namang pagdating doon sa Reed Bank, eh ang feeling niya, hindi sila magba-violate kasi nga sabi niya we’re friends, they will not do that. Dapat siguro ang tanong ninyo: “’Paano if they do that, sir?” – iyon ang dapat tanong niya. If they do that, then ang sagot ko naman diyan, then we will wait for that; and then you will know the response of this government.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Iyon nga, sir, if it shows in the investigation that the Chinese has violated the trust, anong gagawin ng Philippine government?

SEC. PANELO: Basta kapag may nag-violate, we will prosecute. Iyan lang ang sagot ko diyan.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So bawal nga, sir. Thank you.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, unang-una, I’m curious ‘no because when you say now that it’s not proven yet that it is—ang sinasabi ninyo  ngayon, sir, is that iyong Chinese vessel na nakabangga doon sa ating mga Pilipino—

SEC.  PANELO: Hindi pa natin alam kung nagpi-fish ba siya doon o dumaan lang siya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the nature, sir, ‘di ba kasi parang ang sinasabi ninyo is that, ang assumption is that it is Chinese government backed; puwede rin namang ang sinasabi ninyo ngayon is that it’s private, right?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi nga natin alam kung Chinese government iyon o private; kaya nga ang ‘di ba ang sabi, imbestigahan muna natin exactly ano ba talaga iyan.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: No, in-identify lang nila na it’s a Chinese vessel, not a Vietnamese vessel, not an Indonesian vessel.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, are you aware of the cabbage strategy?

SEC. PANELO: The what?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Cabbage strategy.

SEC. PANELO: No, sige, educate me.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, kaya pala, sir. Iyong mga militia, sir, iyon pong—nabanggit ninyo na dati iyon, sir, iyong mga Chinese militia. Remember? Na you referred to those fishing boats as Chinese militia?

SEC. PANELO: Ang alin? Hindi sa akin galing iyon. Sa ano iyon, sa report ng Western Command.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Anong sabi sir, anong sabi sir, ng Western Command?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba, nag-report sila na may mga parang militia daw na mga vessel doon. Na sinasabi naman ni Ambassador Zhao noon, noong tinanong namin, hindi mga fishing vessel iyon kasi fishing season; tinatanggi nila eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And we accept that denial?

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga tayo mayroong tinatawag na diplomatic protest.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon pong sinabi ni Presidente kagabi, do you think that will open up our seas for Chinese fishermen?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t think so.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Why, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Bakit, nabuksan ba, wala naman. Hanggang ngayon nga wala eh, tatlong taon na siya rito, wala namang nangyari diyan sa Reed Bank – mayroon ba? Mayroon bang nag-fishing sa Reed Bank?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: There are reports—

SEC. PANELO: No, puro reports. Show me the report.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: From the government, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Show me. Show me.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: June 10.

SEC. PANELO: Show me. Nasaan ang report?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Oh my gosh.

SEC. PANELO: I need a specific document stating that report. Mahirap na we will be relying lang palaging ano—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: This is also a spokesperson of the Coast Guard.

SEC. PANELO: Anong sabi niya?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: He said, Coast Guard Spokesperson Captain Armand Balilo on June 10 said also seen by the BRP Malabrigo at the shoal about 120 nautical miles from the Iba, Zambales were two Chinese Coast Guard ships and two militia boats.

If you’re asking for citings, those are the citings.

SEC. PANELO: Oh ngayon?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ngayon, sir, iyon pong question ko again, I want to go back to that: Will this kind of incidents be more prevalent and frequent because of the statement yesterday?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi natin alam, kasi iyong tanong mo speculative din. Hindi natin alam kung magiging prevalent o hindi mangyayari o mauulit.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, so taking up from your questions at saka iyong sinabi ng Ambassador Zhao na it’s not Chinese militia who were around Panatag Shoal but fishing vessel.

SEC. PANELO: Oo, kasi tinanong namin siya noong second—second visit ba iyon, iyong last time sa Beijing. Sabi niya, hindi naman mga militia vessel iyon – mga fishing vessel iyon.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Okay, so swak, they are fishing.

SEC. PANELO:  Iyon ang sabi niya.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So they are fishing in our … so malinaw na they are fishing within our EEZ, sa Panatag Shoal. And it’s a violation already of our EEZ.

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga may … ‘di ba nagkaroon … ‘di ba sabi ni Secretary Teddy Boy, he filed a slew of diplomatic protests. Eh di ibig sabihin nagrereklamo tayo kung violation.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Sir, during the June 18 presscon, you have said, “As far as we are concerned, iyong presence ng Chinese vessel doon sa Recto Bank is already a violation.” Bina-violate na nila tayo because that is our EEZ. So maintain o nagbago ba iyong posisyon natin na the mere presence of a Chinese vessel within Recto Bank is already a violation of our EZZ?

SEC. PANELO: Pagdating doon sa incident na iyon, hindi natin alam, besides – gaya ng inuulit  ko – hindi ko alam kung dumaan lang sila doon, may presence nga. Pero dumaan lang ba sila doon o nagpi-fishing sila? Kasi hindi naman bawal dumaan eh.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So if it’s fishing, they violated our EEZ?

SEC. PANELO: Definitely ‘di ba. Pero sabi naman ni Presidente, hindi naman nila gagawin iyon.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So therefore, iyon nga, para simplehan lang natin, so kung—

SEC. PANELO: Basta sinabi ko na, Reymund, basta violation ng batas, under our jurisdiction, we will prosecute. That’s the absolute answer.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So if they are fishing, talagang it’s a violation of EEZ?

SEC. PANELO: Basta may violation, ke fishing ka diyan, kung ano pang ginagawa mo diyan na bina-violate mo iyong mga batas natin within our territory, you will be prosecuted.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So your statement stands na bina-violate nila tayo because that is our EEZ?

SEC. PANELO: No, not necessarily kasi we’re referring only to one particular incident eh. Kaya nga sinasabi ko, hindi pa natin alam exactly kung nagpi-fish sila doon o hindi.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Ah so kung fishing, violation.

SEC. PANELO: Kung nag-fish sila eh di, nag-violate sila.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, tapos na daw po iyong trial on the Maguindanao massacre. Is the Palace hoping for a decision within the year? And how confident is the Palace of a conviction?

SEC. PANELO: We’ll have to ask the DOJ, kasi DOJ ang nagha-handle noon. We’ll leave it to the DOJ, Secretary Guevarra.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: But at the very least, do you want a decision this year, within the year?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, everyone always wants decision from the courts to be sooner than one would wish; ‘Di ba ang reklamo nga dito sa atin, palaging napakatagal ng mga kaso.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, on the speakership. It would appear na dalawa po iyong remaining contenders: Martin Romualdez and—

SEC. PANELO: Tingin ko speculation lang iyan. I was listening to Bebot Alvarez, sabi niya, no. Hindi raw totoo, lumalaban siya – so hindi.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Okay. But did the President meet with any of them following … in the recent days and if they did..?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, during the ano lang, during the HNP.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Okay. After that wala na po?

SEC. PANELO: Wala, none that I know of.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon pong line of questioning ni Reymund and ni Pia, if a Chinese fishing boat –tama ‘no? – enters our EEZ, you said strongly, “We will enforce—

SEC. PANELO: Kahit na anong … kahit na hindi Chinese. Bakit ba masyado kayong hot sa Chinese – lahat, lahat ayaw natin, ayaw natin lahat ng foreign vessel.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Now, sir, if they enter our EEZ, you said very strongly and very passionately, we will enforce our laws. Correct?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang sinasabi ni Presidente.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: That means China, Vietnam, whoever—

SEC. PANELO: Oo, lahat.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:—cannot fish in our EEZ?

SEC. PANELO: Iyan ang supposed to be na dapat mangyari. Pero ang sinasabi ni Presidente, with respect to the Chinese government, mayroon silang usapan na hindi sila papasok doon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi papasok.

SEC. PANELO: Oh ‘di ba, kasi ang tanong—ikaw ba iyong nagtanong sa kaniya na will you prevent? Ikaw ba iyon?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, sir. Pero iba na, sir, iyong context niyan. Ang context ng sinasabi ni Presidente kahapon na—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, pareho pa rin ng context. Ang intindi ko pareho. Mamaya tatanungin ko siya para gagawa tayo ng statement.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sige, sir, iyon na lang.

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

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

##

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

 

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