Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Building, Malacañang

USEC. IGNACIO: Good noon MPC. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good noon, MPC.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, ano pong reaksiyon ng Palasyo doon sa statement ng Amnesty International, nanawagan sa United Nations, na imbestigahan iyong patuloy na extra judicial executions po dahil sa drug war na isinusulong ng administrasyon?

SEC. PANELO: I think is it incorrigible on the part of the Amnesty International to make that call issue. It keeps on calling for an investigation ever since; but the fact remains that the basis for their call is factually wrong. They are saying that there have been murders in his country as if all those who were killed in the police operations have been intentionally slaughtered or killed by the policeman. But as we have repeatedly said these are the result of legitimate police operations and those subject of these process have resisted violently hence confrontation results and under the law, the officers are entitled to self-defense.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Meron silang sinayt na isang kaso na iyong suspect eh bugbog sarado based sa kanilang naging investigation, pero sa report daw po ng PNP ay nanlaban. Ano po iyong masasabi ninyo sa mga ganoong insidente?

SEC. PANELO: The presumption of regularity in the course of public functions is there – that is what the law says. Now they have been investigated differently, then they should have filed a case. Did they file a case? No.

They should have filed a case against the policeman and we would have welcomed it. As the President says, we will not tolerate any police abuse because there will always be hell to pay for them.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: So sir, welcome sa inyo sakaling tulungan ng Amnesty International iyong ilang pamilya ng biktima ng sinasabi nilang extra-judicial?

SEC. PANELO: But they don’t have to help, because the family—we have our own organizations of human rights here. They can always assist them. We have PAO, a government agency precisely to help poor litigants; we have the IBP Free Legal Services, they can always go there.

The problem is this Amnesty International is politicizing the so-called extra judicial killings in this country. So there is bias, there is prejudice. So we’d rather have our own groups here protective of human rights to help those who feel that there has been police abuse in the matter of police operations.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, is it a policy of the administration to dismiss criticisms from international groups?

SEC. PANELO: No. We are responding precisely. That is my response. Let our own group assist our own Filipinos. We don’t need them. We have a battery of human rights activist in this country. We don’t need interference from any other human rights group. They cannot be belittling our own human rights groups here. They have been very busy. They have been very active in helping our countrymen who feel that they have been subject of an abuse coming from who ever.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, when does the Palace consider a report like this on the—

SEC. PANELO: The what, concern about what?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: When does the Palace consider a report like this from an international group about the administration’s human rights record not politicized, not biased?

SEC. PANELO: Eh obviously it’s biased, because they kept on saying that we have 27,000 deaths, when that is not true. We have been asking them show us. You give us the figures then show us the facts and the circumstances surrounding these 27,000 deaths. Who are these people? Under what circumstances where they have been murdered or killed? But they cannot present, simply because they accept false reports and false narratives coming from those who are against this administration.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, you were talking about the presumption of regularity on supposed police killings. But Amnesty International is saying that these killings are not investigated by the police because they rely on the presumption of the regularity?

SEC. PANELO: No. For every death occurring in any police operations or arrest, the policemen involved are administratively charged – and that is recorded. Either they are administratively charged or a criminal complaint is filed against them and it’s for them to present their side.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Last na lang, sir. Will the Palace look at the cases of killing in Bulacan, which the Amnesty International is now identifying as the new killing field in the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Bulacan?


SEC. PANELO: This is not the one involved where a three year old was… iba iyon? What is it about Bulacan, parang ngayon ko lang narinig.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: They are saying that marami na daw pong mga abusive operations in the past 18 months there were… the Amnesty International has supposedly examined 20 killing in Bulacan from May 2018 to April 2019 which led to 27 deaths.

SEC. PANELO: I think the victim should file appropriate criminal charges; unless they file it, we will never know the truth behind those reports.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Will the Palace look into these cases?

SEC. PANELO: They have to file complaints. Like the subject victims should file the appropriate charges with the police or to us or to the local government officials, so that we will know.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, since the Palace did not want international human rights groups to meddle into the affairs of the state, is it possible to… or will the Palace support any move to at least strengthen the capability of our own Commission on Human Rights to go after these people or government agents who allegedly committed human rights violations?

SEC. PANELO: We are precisely supportive of any victim of alleged police abuse to file so that we will know exactly their complaint and so that the legal process will start rolling.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But how about the CHR, our own CHR. Kasi some of—or I think most of the victims go to CHR. However the CHR lacks budget and they don’t have—

SEC. PANELO: No, I don’t think so.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: They are not that… iyong toothless, parang toothless to go—

SEC. PANELO: I disagree. What is wrong with them is it has been politicizing these killings.

Q: Who?

SEC. PANELO: Who else, the CHR and its head.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So, meaning our CHR is not the right agency wherein these alleged victims of human rights can go to.

SEC. PANELO: That’s their job. They should do their job. If they want to increase their budget they can lobby Congress; that’s for Congress not with the Executive Department.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Do you think there is a need to amend the law regarding the CHR—

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know about them.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: They don’t have a prosecution—

SEC. PANELO: It’s them that should decide whether or not the law gives them strength or makes them weak. They should do their homework. They cannot be relying on the Executive. Precisely the Constitution has given independence to this body kaya dapat sila ang… they should do their homework.


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sabi n’yo po kanina—clarification lang, sabi n’yo kanina AI shouldn’t… I mean, intrude in our affairs because we have enough human rights activists that can investigate. So, you are fine with CHR investigating these deaths?

SEC. PANELO: They can always— whatever findings they have they can always give it to the other human rights groups. They could share and then they file.

You know what’s important there is you should file a case. You cannot be politicizing, running to the media and making report without facts, without a formal complaint. Otherwise, those are mere allegations and designed to besmirch the reputation of this administration.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, sir. Sir, okay with the investigating and then basta magpa-file afterwards?

SEC. PANELO: Iyong mga victims ang mag-file; sila ang complainant eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Thank you, sir.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, the Philippine Coast Guard and MARINA report showed that the June 09 sinking of the Filipino boat at the West Philippine Sea was a serious marine casualty. Whys did the President downplayed it as “just a little maritime accident”?

SEC. PANELO: I haven’t seen that report; but assuming that to be true, the phrase is what? “It’s a serous…”

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Very serious marine casualty.

SEC. PANELO: Very serious marine casualty and as against the President’s what?

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Little maritime accident.

SEC. PANELO: Little maritime accident. There is no contradiction. In so far as that incident is concerned given the fact the Filipinos were placed in a dangerous situation where they could have been dead, then that’s a serious… What did it say?

MPC: Marine casualty.

SEC. PANELO: Marine casualty. That’s serious enough; but when the President says it’s not that serious enough to blow it into international crisis, that is what he meant. So, both of them are correct.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So, the President believes that the sinking of the boat was a serious marine— very serious marine casualty, sir.

SEC. PANELO: It is serious in the sense that when you leave our countrymen there after that accident, then that’s a serious matter, we will not allow that. You have to be accountable for that.


SEC. PANELO: But you cannot blow that and make it into an international crisis.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Secretary, the President received the report June 20—

SEC. PANELO: You know why? Because that was a Chinese vessel; that’s not China Republic.


SEC. PANELO: You’re from the Inquirer?


SEC. PANELO: Ah, kaya pala.

MPC: Sir, naman…

SEC. PANELO: Oh bakit? Like for instance, your front page today says… ano’ng sabi doon? “Palace is not in a rush to file.” ‘Yung the way the article was written okay pero ‘yung headline parang you make it sound as if hindi kami interesado.

Precisely nga, gusto kaming mag-file but kailangan namin ‘yung findings muna ng China, ‘yung findings natin, makita natin kung sino ang accountable. Oh, hindi ba puwede naman sinabi ninyo: “Palace will file charges”; pero ginawa niya, “Palace is not in the rush to file.” Medyo ano—anyway, sige tuloy mo na.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Sir, will Malacanang or the government release the result of the investigation?

SEC. PANELO: I will leave it to the President and the DFA.


ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Hi, sir ulit. Sir, posible bang mangyari ‘yung sinabi ni CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison na mapatalsik si Pangulong Duterte ng isang US-backed coup d’etat?

SEC. PANELO: That’s a wishful thinking coming from a tired, old, failed revolutionary. He has to wake up from a half century of sleep, it was fifty years. Fifty years they’ve been fighting and it’s even—as one of my staff lawyer says, it’s ironic; but to me not only ironic, it’s pitiful that this man has to rely on a foreign country to effect a change of leadership in this country. It is an admission in fact that their revolution has failed. It’s wish thinking. Why? Apart from the US will not listen to him – a country which he abhors in the first place, he hates to the bone – Filipinos trust this President. The military and the police love this President.


JINKY BATICADOS/IBC: Hi, sir. Sir, follow-up ko lang po ‘yung question ni Ate Rose. Sinabi rin ni Joma Sison that the President is heavily bribed by China, ano ‘yung reaction ng Palasyo, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Not only misplaced, he’s absolutely false. What bribery is he talking about?

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay. Tina.

SEC. PANELO: He must be having nightmares.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Hi, sir. Sir, on another matter. May we know you opinion regarding the inclusion of these provisions sa cost… ‘yung sa Immigration forms sa airport as posted by activist Carlo Celdran. Are you bringing in any form of the following? Number seven says: materials advocating or inciting treason, rebellion, insurrection, sedition against the government of the Philippines; and number eight: abortion paraphernalia. Why is there a need to include this? Medyo bago yata itong numbers.

SEC. PANELO: Nakalagay ba ‘yan ngayon?

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Yes sir, based on Mr. Carlos Celdran’s.

SEC. PANELO: Based pala sa kaniya. I have to see the authentic document.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: But as Chief Legal Adviser, do you think it’s necessary to point out—

SEC. PANELO: Yes, but I need to see that. I cannot be giving opinion based on an allegation or a statement of another person. I need to see the document and then I can make my response. First, I will ask: Sino bang gumawa niyan?


SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga, then will ask Immigration: What’s your rationale for this?

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, generally under our laws, is it a violation to have materials in your possession ‘yung mga… would advocate inciting to sedition?

SEC. PANELO: Kung you’re advocating for the downfall of the government, di that’s illegal.


PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, Foreign Secretary Locsin posted on Twitter that he has accepted China’s version of the terms of reference on the joint exploration for oil and gas between the Philippines and China—

SEC. PANELO: I read that also. I read that too.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, do you have details on this? Can you confirm this?

SEC. PANELO: No. I’ll leave it to the DFA Secretary; he’s more knowledgeable on that.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Will the Palace get a copy of this terms of reference, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I’ll ask for a copy.

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

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, any update on who’s going to replace Secretary Piñol at the DA?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa eh. Kasi ‘di ba, iyong colatilla niya, he will have to talk to Mr. Murad. Apparently hindi pa niya nakakausap; wala pa siyang sinasabi. But he announced two days ago yata ‘di ba na he will still place Secretary Piñol to Mindanao Development Authority.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So we expect the President to meet Mr. Murad this month or—

SEC. PANELO: Siguro, iyon ang sabi niya eh.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, follow up lang doon sa joint exploration. What are the Philippines’ non-negotiables pagdating sa terms of reference on the joint oil and gas exploration, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Again, I will leave that to the DFA Secretary. That is his territory, I would not want to preempt.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, ‘di ba nabanggit ni PRRD po iyong… initially ‘no okay iyong China sa 60-40. And then he said—

SEC. PANELO: Parang ayaw.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yeah, parang ngayon ang status is parang medyo matabang na iyong China. So where are we at right now in terms of sharing?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Siguro they’re still talking, negotiating. Baka nag-uusap pa sila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But are we fine with a bigger share for China?

SEC. PANELO: A what?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Bigger share po for China.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam eh. Actually, hindi ko—dapat si Secretary Locsin dapat ang sumasagot niyan.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, should the TOR consider iyong PCA ruling and then our rights over the EEZ in maybe … siguro hindi na term iyong negotiating because may TOR na—

SEC. PANELO: Basta ang posisyon natin, kung ano iyong beneficial sa ating bansa, doon tayo. Iyon ang absolute na posisyon natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just a little bit on the Coast Guard report ‘no. What are the next steps for the government now? Okay, we have at least a report is saying that the Chinese vessel left the Filipino fishermen. And before you’ve said that klaro iyong liability, right?


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: What are we going to do again, so we can file charges in our Philippine courts or—

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, ‘di ba sinabi ko we can do that. But ‘di ba sabi ni Secretary Locsin, they’re going to compare our findings as against their findings, then they will issue a joint statement.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, what’s in—

SEC. PANELO: For the resolution of the three issues that I have mentioned: One, the nature of the incident; number two, the accountability of the Chinese vessel; and the issue on compensation.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, what’s the point of having a joint investigation to… ano, harmonize ba iyong dalawang report, sir, or papaano?

SEC. PANELO: Eh para malaman nila kung pareho ang kanilang findings.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And if they are different?

SEC. PANELO: If they are different, eh di pag-usapan natin kung how can we resolve the difference.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But we will insist on their liability?

SEC. PANELO: Definitely, kung—as I said, there is only one way by which they can justify the abandonment of our fisherfolks. And that is if by so doing, their lives would have been endangered. That’s the only reason na pupuwede silang hindi accountable. Iyon ang pinaka-ano doon, kasi iyon ang nakalagay sa UNCLOS eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero mukha namang walang threat noong time na iyon, sir, ‘di ba?

SEC. PANELO: Sinasabi nila mayroon. Eh ako naman, ang sinasabi ko naman, anong threat? Dahil maraming bangka doon na nagkalat, kasi may labingsiyam yata. Eh ano kung may nagkalat doon? May nakasakay ba doon? Hindi nga nakasakay ang mga Pilipino doon eh, nakakapit nga doon sa mother vessel eh. Eh ‘di ibig sabihin, as far as I can see kung iyon ang nangyari, then there’s no threat.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: How do you make them, sir, accountable?

SEC. PANELO: First, sila ang magdi-decide niyan, how will they—kasi nga supposed to be iyong Chinese vessel, under their jurisdiction iyon eh. At sinabi na rin nila na they will not allow it. Kung may kasalanan sila, they will impose sanction for their irresponsible behavior. So kung accountable sila at mayroon namang compensation at prinosecute nila or whatever, kung anong sanction nila, oh ‘di ba justice na rin iyon. But if they cannot do that, eh ‘di we will sue them in our jurisdiction.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: For what violation, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Oh ‘di ba in-endanger nila iyong lives, puwedeng reckless imprudence resulting to serious damage to property and endangering the lives of our countrymen.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero, sir, if they … kung aakuin iyong problema, okay na siya?

SEC. PANELO: Eh sa tingin ko, kung aakuin at mayroong compensation, palagay – sa tingin ko ha – okay na iyon.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, if you can confirm: Chairman Murad has asked for an appointment with the President on July 10 at the Palace?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Pero consistent iyon sa gusto ni Presidenteng makausap siya ‘di ba.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, Mr. Piñol’s mission is to oversee BARRM. Is it correct, sir?

SEC. PANELO: As ano, Chair ng Mindanao Development Authority.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Yes, yes. And of course to oversee BARRM—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam iyong oversee. Baka kapag sinabi mong oversee, may magre-react diyan because supposed to be that’s a self-governing body, papaano mo io-oversee iyon.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Because that’s one of the concerns of the President?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, ang sinasabi nila kumbaga para makatulong sa BARRM; hindi ma-oversee. Para alam kaagad nila, ‘Ano ang problema ninyo?’

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Okay. The President does not intent to interfere—

SEC. PANELO: No. He intends to help.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, ang headline ng isang pahayagan ngayong umaga—


HENRY URI/DZRH: Mayroong binabanggit doon na ang Pangulo ay posible pang magbago ang isip at mag-endorso nang pagka-Speaker bago mag-SONA.

SEC. PANELO: Well, kagaya nga ng sinasabi ko palagi ‘di ba, you make a stand but when circumstances change, then you alter your stand. Lahat ng posisyon ni Presidente with respect to… like this matter, is subject to change without prior notice. Eh kung hindi sila nagkakasundo at lumapit sila kay Presidente para pagkasunduin sila, eh wala rin sigurong masama kung tumulong si Presidente sa kanila ma-resolve; pero that’s not interference. Dahil kung sila mismo ang lumapit at humihingi ng tulong to resolve, how can you call that interference kung the President will engage or oblige then? Hindi natin alam.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So kung ang Pangulo ba ang masusunod, ano ba talaga ang posisyon niya dito speakership race na ito?

SEC. PANELO: Kung siya ang masusunod, gaya ng sinabi niya magbakbakan na lang kayo. Labu-labo, kayo na ang bahala. May the best man win, iyon ang sinabi niya ‘di ba.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So ano ang magpapabago ng kaniyang posisyon?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro kung pumunta iyong tatlo sa kaniya. Kung ilan man sila, tatlo, lima, apat. Ilan ba ang naglalaban? Marami na ‘di ba?

Q: Tatlo sir iyong major.

SEC. PANELO: Tatlo major. Apat mayroon ng—si Congressman Ungab kasama na. Eh si Congressman Alvarez hindi umiimik pero sabi niya nasa labanan pa siya.

Kung lumapit iyong lima o anim sa kaniya at sabihin, ‘Mr. President, tulungan mo naman kami i-resolve.’ If the President obliges them, wala naman sigurong masama doon dahil sila ang humihingi ng tulong sa kanila, kung hindi sila magkasundu-sundo.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Ini-endorso po ni Mayor Sara at saka ni Congressman Paolo Duterte si Congressman Ungab, ano ang posisyon ng Presidente rito, suportado rin ba niya ito?

SEC. PANELO: Si Presidente ‘di ba ever since—you know, this family is known for not influencing each other’s decision. If you will notice, Mayor Sara makes official stand, personal stand; si Presidente hindi naman umiimik. Kung minsan naman umiimik, iba naman ang kaniyang posisyon. So makikita mo na hindi sila nag-iimpluwensiya ng kani-kanilang mga stand, politically.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So wala ho silang pakialaman sa desisyon ng bawat isa?

SEC. PANELO: Wala. Knowing the President, hahayaan niya lang iyan. Ang style ni Presidente, matira matibay.

USEC. IGNACIO: Thank you, Secretary Panelo.


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