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

SEC. PANELO: Good noon, MPC. I’m ready if you are. Kahapon piyesta kayo ha, piyestang-piyesta.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yesterday ‘no, the President said that in his SONA – probably in his SONA – he will talk about iyong decision niya to allow iyong—

SEC. PANELO: He will educate.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, correct sir. So we can expect that during the SONA, he will defend (a) foreign policy ‘no? Can you elaborate more, please?

SEC. PANELO: He will not defend; he will educate people who think that what he did was unconstitutional. He will lecture on the constitutionality of what he has done.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So mga limang oras po ba ito, sir? [laughs]

SEC. PANELO: Hindi… anim.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Para ma-warn na namin iyong mga newscast. But, why do think that the President saw a need to educate his critics?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi—siguro sa feeling niya mukhang hindi nagbabasa o masyado nang passé iyong mga alam nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But can you anticipate sir how he’s going to educate or explain iyong rationale niya? Ito ba ‘yung narinig na namin sa inyo sir na higher command of the Constitution to serve and protect—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, apart from that mayroon pa. Mayroon pa siyang sasabihin sa inyo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, can you interpret these words from the President? Yesterday he said—with regard to the Chinese liability ‘no, we asked him if we’re going to at least push for the liability of the Chinese fishermen. Ang sabi niya ay, to quote: “Whoever is in the better position to assert justice, gawain nila iyon. Kung sila, magbabayad sila.”

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba sinabi ko na rin iyon? Kasi if we file a case against them, baka matagalan tayo. Kasi first, we will have to identify kung sino idedemanda natin. Eh ni hindi natin alam kung sino, puro John Does lang ang gagawin natin doon.

Pero kung iyong Chinese government, since nasa jurisdiction nila iyong Chinese vessel; and they said they will impose sanctions for the irresponsible behavior with respect doon sa abandonment, o eh ‘di mas lalong okay. Sila na mismo mag-i-impose ng sanction and then they will be compensating iyong mga crew/vessel, kung kasama iyon sa sanction – to compensate the victims. Iyon ang ibig niyang sabihin doon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kumbaga sir, shorter process ‘no?

SEC. PANELO: Oo. Eh kung nandiyan na iyong—kumbaga justice has been rendered by the Chinese government to our Filipino fisher folks, so we don’t have to do anything anymore.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just one last point on my part. Kahapon sir sinabi niya, he has a proposal and that is to have the whole 7th Fleet of the US Armed Forces in the South China Sea. Should we interpret this sir as a serious proposal or is it just a metaphor for saying na the US will never fight our wars?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, both puwede iyon. Alam mo naman si Presidente eh… puwedeng he was really serious, at the same time metaphorically he is saying that. The point of the President is, may problema sa South China Sea – they are in possession. So, we’re trying to settle our differences through diplomatic negotiations.

Ang problema, mayroong mga tao na gustong i—ano bang tawag doon sa Pilipino? Gusto siyang… ha? Hindi lang udyukan eh… Gusto siyang gawing ano… pain – that’s the correct word. Gusto siyang gawing pain eh. Eh alam na nga nilang the Chinese government claims that it is their own, and it would consider folly for us to assert na sinasabi na ngang, “Amin ‘yan. Magkakaaway tayo diyan ‘pag pinilit ninyo ‘yan.” O eh… ‘di away pala tayo. ‘Di huwag na muna tayong mag-away, mag-usap na muna tayo – ‘yan ang ginagawa nga ni Presidente.

Ito namang mga sutil, mga hecklers… “Hindi, hindi… punta ka doon.” O kaya sabi niya, “O sige… O sige na nga, punta tayo. Kayong mga…” ‘ayan si Justice Carpio, sino pa? Si another Justice Carpio naging Ombudsman, si Del Rosario… “O sige tayo, tayo ang nandoon sa harapan punta tayo doon. Nandiyan na ang 7th Fleet.” O kaya ginaganun niya na. O tingnan mo nga kung anong response nila? Sabi naman nila, “O parang bata nanaman si Presidente.” Hindi… Eh para kayong bata eh, kaya ini-engage kayo ni Presidente.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, was it confirmed already based on the report of the PCG and MARINA na those people manning the Chinese vessel were Chinese militia or fishermen talaga nila?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, wala iyon sa report. Wala akong nakitang nakalagay doon sa report.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Bakit hindi na-establish kung anong klaseng tao iyong—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, ang established doon Chinese vessel kasi sinabi ng China na Chinese vessel talaga iyon. Iyon ang established.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But, is the Philippine government interested to know who manned the vessel? Kasi—

SEC. PANELO: We are interested to render justice to the fisher folks that have been abandoned there – iyon ang pinaka-importante sa atin.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Kasi sir before, you mentioned na we really don’t know if they are Chinese government or private fishermen. Kasi it would make a difference if those people manning the boat were militiamen and hindi fishermen.

SEC. PANELO: Papaano mo malalaman kung militia o hindi? Sige nga… tell me how to determine that. Unang-una—

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Are we not going to ask China?

SEC. PANELO: Sinabi na nga ng China, Chinese vessel eh. Eh kayo naman… Ano pang ibig sabihin? ‘Di ibig sabihin, hindi militia – ‘yon ang sabi nila. Ang problema, we cannot even—how can we determine that? Ni walang testigo. Actually, they were just guessing na Chinese vessel – buti nga inamin. Gabi, madilim, paano mo malalaman kung ano man… kung armado iyon o hindi—

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero sir ‘di ba, determined naman—

SEC. PANELO: Ikaw naman… parang hindi ka law student.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: … iyong Chinese vessel na iyon—Sir ‘di ba may name nga iyong Chinese vessel—

SEC. PANELO: Ano, ano?

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: May name iyong Chinese vessel, na-determine nila. So isn’t it necessary to know na kung sino talaga—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi na. Mas interesado tayo na iyong ginawa nila sa Pilipino eh panagutan nila – iyon ang pinaka-importante sa amin.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Hi, sir. Sir can you confirm if tuloy nga po iyong meeting ni President Duterte with MILF Chief Al Hajj Murad tomorrow?

SEC. PANELO: Who?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Murad. Tomorrow…

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung nakalagay sa schedule, ‘di tuloy iyon. Nakalagay ba? Hindi ko pa nakita eh… Hindi ko pa nakita iyong schedule.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: We’re asking you because we received information—

SEC. PANELO: Nasaan ba si Usec. Mia? Siya ang nakakaalam noon eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, ‘yun po bang pag-appoint ni Secretary Piñol to Minda is already a sure thing or it will still be dependent on the outcome—

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba sinabi ni Presidente, “tatanungin niya si—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Subject to the approval of the MILF?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, kasi kung— paano kung ayaw naman ni Mr. Murad. Siyempre, you have to respect—

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: So right now sir, hindi pa po siya final, ‘yung paglipat po sa Minda?

SEC. PANELO: Kasi ‘yun ang sinabi ni Presidente, it came from him.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, also I’d like to get your reaction because some members of the BTA are reacting doon po—

SEC. PANELO: BTA?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: The transition authority are reacting doon sa statement ni President Duterte—

SEC. PANELO: Na?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: —saying na medyo nababagalan po siya doon sa BARMM. They’re saying that they shouldn’t be blamed for it dahil may budget issues po, hindi raw po nare-release din ‘yung… agad ‘yung DBM funds.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman sila bini-blame ni Presidente, nababagalan siya sa galaw because nga of those constraints. Sinasabi niya lang ‘yun gusto niya mas mabilis.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Yes, but some members are saying that kaya daw po posibleng nagkakaroon ng problema is because the administration has been slow in disbursing funds for them to do their jobs—

SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily administration; baka naman because the process requires that kaya matagal. Just the same, nababagalan si Presidente, kung pupuwedeng bilisan ng appropriate office, ‘di dapat alam na nila ang gusto ni Presidente.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: They’re saying it’s the DBM, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Oh, then we will call on the DBM. If you’re listening DBM…

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay, thank you, sir.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, follow-up lang po kay Piñol. ‘Yung ibang mga Moro leaders daw po they are wary of President Duterte’s plan to appoint Piñol as a point man in…

SEC. PANELO: Bakit daw?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Dahil daw po doon sa history ni Piñol doon sa—

SEC. PANELO: Which is?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: ‘Yung sa MOA-AD before. Isa siya dun sa mga kontra sa MOA-AD, so, na parang—

SEC. PANELO: Kontra saan?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: MOA-AD, sir. ‘Yung ancestral domain sir, Gloria time. So, wary daw po sila sa pag-appoint kay Murad [Piñol] as point person ni President Duterte. Will the Palace take this into consideration or aware po ba si Pangulo?

SEC. PANELO: I suppose the President will always take any factor being introduced by concerned players in that region. Siyempre lahat ‘yun iko-consider ni Presidente.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: If ever—

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ngang kay—sinabi ni Presidente na depende pa kay Mr. Murad, eh ‘di ibig sabihin kino-consider niya na kung may opposition o wala.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, if ever sir na ganun— Murad is being been quoted as ano… wary nga siya. So, if ever na umayaw po si Mr. Murad, posible po ba kayang mag-appoint ng iba si Pangulo? May iba kaya siyang—

SEC. PANELO: Well, everything is possible. Puwede rin naman na kausapin niya si Mr. Murad, puwede namang um-okay na siya na hindi na lang si Secretary Piñol. Tingnan natin.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Thank you, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Lets’ see how it evolves.

MODERATOR: Questions, MPC? Okay na? Joseph.

SEC. PANELO: Speaker? Speakership.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Go. Sige, sir. You were in the meeting ‘no?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: How did the—of course may sinabi na si Presidente yesterday, but I’d like to get some more details. So, parang— siya mismo, sir, ‘yung nagsabi na—how did the conversation start pala? He proposed na agad na ito ang gawin n’yo, ganoon ba iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi kasi ang background diyan is nag-meet ‘yung tatlo sa Davao, ‘di ba? And then, ‘di ba kausap ko Martin Romualdez in your presence – hindi ninyo lang narinig – pero vinalidate niya na—the agreement really was to bring the matter to the President, kasi nga hindi na sila nagkakasundo and there was a potential break-up on the alliance, ng mga allies kaya inilapit na nila kay Presidente. Okay.

Si Presidente naman, para matapos na ‘yung problema nila. Oh, ‘di um-oo na siya. Kaya pagpasok niya, “Oh, ano, ano? Ano?” “Opo.” “Oh, sige.” Palagay ko—sige, sabi niya panahon na sigurong I’ll have to talk… time to talk. ‘Yun ang exact words niya eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, the proposal for the term sharing came from?

SEC. PANELO: Tapos sinabi niya na, “Alam n’yo naman I really didn’t want to interfere, to intrude. I’ve been trying to ignore you people, ayaw ko talaga. Eh, kayo naman ang lumalapit sa akin ngayon. Oh, sige ‘di Alan ang fifteen months, si ganito—.”

Pero before sinabi niya ‘yun, sabi naman ng tatlo, “Sir, whatever you say basta we have already agreed na susundin namin lahat yun.” ‘Yun.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, yesterday sabi ni sir ‘no, ‘yun pong— ‘cause this will be subject to the vote of the majority, ‘no? This will be subject to the vote of the majority.

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, they will be electing their own.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Correct. Pero sir, anong expectation natin, is that they will follow the President of course?

SEC. PANELO: It’s not a question of following the President. It’s them who went to the President and the President made, kumbaga ‘yun ang suggestion niya, “Oh, ‘eto kung ako ang gusto n’yong— hinihingian n’yo ako ng payo, oh ito. Oh, ‘di na sa inyo… kayo na bahala roon.”

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Puwedeng sumuway?

SEC. PANELO: Aba’y na—nasa kanila ‘yan kasi sila naman ang boboto, hindi naman si Presidente. Ayaw ni Presidenteng makialam, eh gusto nila pakialaman niya. Pero actually. ‘yun lang naman ang pakialam doon sa sabi niya nga, ‘yun lang pulitika ninyo pero ‘yung trabaho n’yo eh bahala na kayo diyan, trabaho n’yo ‘yan eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi, sir ‘yung PDP second pa lang i-uupo nila ‘di ba? I mean, si APC first and then si Velasco and anything can happen in fifteen months, right, that might be too palatable for PDP?

SEC. PANELO: Basta si Presidente just responding to the call for help.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Call for help?

SEC. PANELO: Sila ‘di ba? Sila ang pumunta, sila ang nakikiusap na tulungan sila sa pag-resolve.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay sir, ‘yun muna sa speakership.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Hi, sir! May we know the rationale, sir, on the 15-21 arrangement po – term sharing. Bakit po 15-21, sir, ‘yung arrangement?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. I can only guess na siyempre, gusto nung— either one of them mauuna, ‘di ba? Parang ‘Solomonic’ nga ‘yun eh. Iuuna kita pero fifteen ka lang pero ‘yung isa naman, pangalawa, twenty one months naman. Oh di ba mas marami.

MPC: [off mic]

SEC. PANELO: Buti nga hindi ‘yung tig-a-ano sila… divided by three.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, for the record po. Kay Presidente po mismo galing ‘yung 15-21 arrangement po? Hindi po siya proposal nung isa doon sa mga—

SEC. PANELO: I think so sa kaniya galing ‘yun.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sa kaniya galing.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko naman narinig sa tatlo ‘yun eh.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Okay, sir. Tapos sir, lawmakers have earlier voiced concern about the term set-up since a change in the House leadership entails changes in the committee chairmanships which may subsequently disrupt—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: —committee hearings as well as the deliberations in the national budget?

SEC. PANELO: Napag-usapan ng tatlo ‘yun. They were—they agreed na hindi mangyayari ‘yun sa kanila kasi nag-uusap silang tatlo.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: So, the Palace is confident that there would be no further delays in the passage of subsequent budgets despite the term sharing agreements?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, yes.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Are we not afraid that the term sharing set-up will undermine the continuity of leadership and the passage of crucial bills being pushed by the Duterte administration?

SEC. PANELO: No, nag-a-agree na nga iyong tatlo, sila nga ang magkakalaban ang nag-agree. They forged into unity. So how can there be disruption.

BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Okay, sir. So, basically smooth transition po tayo between Cayetano and Velasco, sir… sa House leadership?

SEC. PANELO: I think so.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, does Malacañang see any scenario na later on, they would also endorse Representative Ungab doon sa speakership when Congress opens this July?

SEC. PANELO: Palagay ko malabo na iyon. Kasi iyong tatlo represents the majority of the coalition eh. The fact alone na si Mayor Sarah na Chairman ng HNP saka si Cong. Paolo agreed with that suggestion to bring the matter to the President, oh di kasama na doon si Congressman Ungab.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, during the June 27 media briefing with the President. He already mentioned—

SEC. PANELO: June 27?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: He already mentioned about the term sharing actually, 15 months for Cayetano—

SEC. PANELO: Alin iyan sa Japan?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: No. Sa Malacañang, the oath taking ni Senator Bong Go. Tapos, Velasco—sabi ng Pangulo ‘and Velasco can have the other half, which is short as 21 months.’ Ganun ang proposal. Pumayag na si Cayetano; but si Velasco, mukhang last minute nag-back out. So during the latest meeting, pumayag na si Velasco?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, obviously pumayag siya.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, they heed to the President—or Velasco heeded to the President.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, ang tingin ko diyan ano eh, all of them were… are realist. Kung hindi sila pumayag doon sa ganoong arrangement, eh labo-labo talaga sila, magkakasira-sira sila; iyon ang iniwasan nila. To their everlasting credit, they were pragmatic enough to admit na they have to forge a unity among themselves. Otherwise, magiging talagang dismembered iyong buong grupo.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, noong mag-meet sila – iyong latest meeting, sir – talagang pumayag na si Congressman Velasco o paano napapayag ng Pangulo si Congressman Velasco—

SEC. PANELO: Dati na nga silang—hindi pa nga sila pumupunta di ba pumayag na nga sila. Whatever the President suggest to them, payag na sila.

Iyon ang premise nila eh, we’re here because we need your help, we want your suggestion or whatever proposal and we will accept without question – iyon lang ang naging ano nila eh… noong pumunta sila sa Palasyo.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, your reaction lang po. Prominent rights lawyer Amal Clooney, the wife of George Clooney, is reportedly joining the legal team of Maria Ressa to help defend her in her cases here. Reaction lang po ng Palace. Do you feel threatened na may big shot na pong sasali sa legal team?

SEC. PANELO: Palagay ko naghahanap lang sila ng katapat ko.

MPC: Wooow.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Kindly expound, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Kasi kapag kaming dalawa ang nagdedebate ni Maria, medyo kawawa naman, kasi hindi naman siya abogado; aba eh kailangan may abogado rin siya, ayun…maganda pa, sexy pa.

Did you hear about the incoming… I don’t know if true, the incoming US Ambassador? Beautiful, maganda, golfer pa, Harvard pa. Ewan ko, basta iyon ang sabi eh. Nakarating na rin sa inyo ha. Exciting times.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Pero sir, seriously—

SEC. PANELO: I’m serious.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Yeah, I know.

SEC. PANELO: I’m very serious.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: On the legal side, sir. Is the Palace threatened na a big shot is—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman siya—ano ba namang… nasa Supreme Court na nga eh. Di ba, nag file na sila sa Supreme Court… naghahanap lang ng kakampi iyon.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: So, ano… you don’t mind Clooney joining the legal team; kumbaga, hindi isyu sa iyon?

SEC. PANELO: They are welcome to defend Maria.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, good afternoon. Ano po iyong napag-usapan kagabi sa command conference ni Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: Wala ako, absent ako. Kasi by the time na sinabihan nila ako, two hours na akong nagbibiyahe eh, hindi na ako makabalik.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, wala kayong… wala silang sinabi sa inyo?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa ako, hindi ko pa alam kung anong naging ano nila.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Maaring related po doon. Can you expound a little bit sir, on the President’s statement yesterday. Noong sinabi po niya that ang military mainit na. The context is corruption and him also telling the contenders for the speakership that if they want to change the Constitution do it now, nandiyan pa ako. And I can tell the military, no, no you better… kasi mainit na nga daw po iyong military. What did he mean by that?

SEC. PANELO: Ang premise noon, under the Constitution the AFP is the protector of the people. So kung ang military alam nila na maraming kalokohan, maraming korapsyon… gaya nga ng sinasabi ni Presidente, iyong sa Manila Water, iyong mga kontrata, masyadong onerous. Alam na ng military iyon, so nagre-react sila doon, bakit ganyan.

In other words, I think it’s a fair warning to all na baka pag nagalit iyan, biglang mag-coup iyang mga iyan. Kaya ang sabi niya nga, ‘kung magku-coup wag na kayong magdala ng mga tangke ha. Kausapin n’yo na lang ako, magkape tayo rito.’

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: But he already said na, ‘kasi ang military mainit na.’

SEC. PANELO: Exactly, nagre-react na nga sila sa nakikita nilang nangyayari.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Ibig kong sabihin, sir, maybe some top officials already relayed to him na… I mean, possible actions that they will do if things get worse?

SEC. PANELO: Could be, dahil otherwise hindi sila nagsasalita ng ganoon eh. Meron siguro siyang info, very reliable.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: And what solution does the President see for this? Is this the cha-cha, because that is what he mentioned right before that statement?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, di ba sabi niya, ‘you better amend the Constitution habang nandito pa ako.’ Habang napapakiusapan ko pa iyong Armed Forces na irespeto ninyo. You must remember that the history has shown us that when the Armed Forces of the Philippines rise and supported by the people, eh nababago, nagkakaroon ng leadership change.

Ang problema – iyon nga ang sinasabi ni Presidente, ‘ang problema sa inyo, nagku-coup nga kayo, tinanggal ninyo iyong isang political party, ang nililipat n’yo naman iyong kalaban, kaya ganun pa rin, kayo ang may kasalanan, actually.’ Hindi ba iyon ang sinasabi ni Presidente, ‘kaya matuto na kayo, Ilagay ninyo iyong mga bata, matatalino, independent, hindi mga corrupt, hindi mga pulitiko.’ Ganoon ka-frustrated na si Presidente.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Lastly, sir. Doon sa speech po niya in Leyte a few days ago he said, and I quote – this is to those who are threatening to impeach him – “Don’t force me to declare war because I have something else. I have a card which I can throw anytime.” What is that, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Well, maraming pupuwede siyang gawin – he can impose martial law; he can declare a revolutionary government; he can use other emergency powers. Marami naman. The Constitution is, as I said before, a living instrument, it’s dynamic. I don’t think the framers of the Constitution has chained the head of the state from performing his duty which is to serve and to protect the people by placing provisions there in derogation of that obligation. Kaya marami siyang puwedeng gawin eh.

Pero ang problema, marami nga siyang gustong gawin pero parang ayaw na niya na – nayayamot na eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So it’s clear, sir, itong scenarios na sinabi ninyo – martial law, rev gov and other emergency powers – are what he could do if he is threatened with an impeachment—

SEC. PANELO: No, not with the impeachment. Iyong impeachment ano lang iyon eh—actually, hindi iyon sa impeachment. Ang sinasabi niya ay iyong problema ng bansang ito, masyado nang malawak ang problema that—

Sinabi niya nga kagabi ‘di ba, “My duty is to preserve the Constitution, to serve the people.” Sinabi niya kagabi iyon eh. Iyan ang ibig niyang sabihin, hindi iyong impeachment. Hindi naman siya takot sa impeachment eh.

How can he be afraid of an impeachment? First, it’s baseless. And then number two, eh may super majority; kakampi niya lahat. Hindi niya tinutukoy iyong impeachment.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Hi, sir. Sir, these problems you were referring to are corruption and drugs still, right?

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, terrorism, rebellion, everything.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: But this administration has repeatedly said na nagagamot naman natin iyong drugs, iyong corruption, bumubuti naman iyong crime rate. So what does that mean?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, nagagamot natin pero sige pa rin. Pagkagamot, mayroon na namang bago ‘di ba. Parang sakit – ginamot mo iyong sakit, mayroon na namang bagong sakit. Paulit-ulit eh.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: So that could be reason for the President to declare martial law and all these …

SEC. PANELO: Yes, because the Constitution precisely bestow on him the sacred duty, one, to serve the Filipino people; and number two, to protect them from whatever dangers that lurk. Kailangan palaging iyong welfare ng taumbayan. Kung papabayaan niya iyong … ‘di ba sabi niya, ‘For as long as there is corruption, there is no peace and order, kahit bigyan ninyo ako ng 20 years, walang presidenteng makakaahon dito sa ating bansa.’

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So off hand, sir, how does the constitutional amendment cure these terrorism, drugs and corruption if ever?

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro—marami eh, marami kasing… like for instance, he wants iyong foreign investors to come in na walang restriction. Gaya nung hindi puwedeng pumasok ang mga foreign investors kung hindi 60% capital eh sa mga Pilipino. Number two, iyong … hindi niya nga magawan ng paraan iyong EDSA kasi nga naka-ano iyong kamay niya, maraming constraints kaya nga humihingi nga siya ng emergency power eh ayaw naman siyang bigyan. Kaya ‘di ba sabi niya, ‘O sige, ayaw ninyo akong bigyan, let EDSA rot.’ Maraming dapat na baguhin ang Saligang Batas.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: So one of the changes would be giving more power to the President, is it safe to assume?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi giving powers. Siguro to limit the restraints, constitutional restraints imposed to certain branches of the government.

TINA MARALIT/DAILY TRIBUNE: Sir, good afternoon po. Sir, lately po si Presidente, lagi niyang nababanggit iyong Bureau of Customs and he has hinted na may apat pa po siyang tatanggalin—

SEC. PANELO: Sabi niya nga kagabi.

TINA MARALIT/DAILY TRIBUNE: Nabanggit na po ba niya, nagpahiwatig na po ba siya kung sino iyong mga ito? Mga opisyal po ba o rank and file?

SEC. PANELO: Wala siyang binanggit. General iyong pagkakasabi niya kagabi.

TINA MARALIT/DAILY TRIBUNE: So, sir, nakailang palit na po ng ulo sa Customs, and there are reforms that have been instituted pero parang patuloy pa rin po iyong katiwalian. Sa tingin po ba ninyo parang hinahamon po si Presidente ng mga tao sa loob ng ahensiya?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro ganoon na nga ang dating. Ganoon na nga ang dating sa kaniya, ayaw tumigil.

TINA MARALIT/DAILY TRIBUNE: But, sir, can you categorically say po that Commissioner Guerrero still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President?

SEC. PANELO: I think so because he has not mentioned anything about him. Wala naman siyang binabanggit sa kaniya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon pong kay Amal. Technically, she cannot—

SEC. PANELO: She cannot appear because she is not a lawyer.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: In the Philippines.

SEC. PANELO: Yeah, hindi siya member ng IBP.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. Pero, sir, they can coordinate with the Filipino lawyers ‘no?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre. Kumbaga baka consultant lang siya o siguro spokesperson.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Do you think that it says something—

SEC. PANELO: I’m excited to debate with her.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Eh ‘di ba bawal iyong mga ano?

SEC. PANELO: Ang alin?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Mga foreign interference, sabi ninyo.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, eh spokesman lang… ano lang naman. Gusto niyang ipagtanggol, kami we will not—hayaan mo na siya kahit sinong kunin niya basta hindi sila puwedeng mag-practice dito.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero do you think it says something about the interest of international groups with the cases of Maria—

SEC. PANELO: No, I don’t think so. Mukhang nabola niya lang si ano… nabola niya lang si Attorney Amal. Misinformed kasi si Attorney Amal eh. Siguro kapag nagkita kami, I can – to use the word of the President – educate her.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sa SONA. Sir, do we have an idea, does the President want to keep it business-like? Parang last year na business attire, no flamboyant, whatever. What is the direction of the President?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba palagi ang gusto niya austere.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Austere pa rin. So anong utos, sir, sa mga government officials who are going to attend?

SEC. PANELO: Wala, ganoon pa rin. Wala naman siyang instruction sa amin noon eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Bawal ang mga gowns ulit?

SEC. PANELO: Personal na naman iyon sa mga a-attend. Siguro para sa inyo iyon, dahil kayo ang hihilig ninyo … naghahanap kayo ng mga damit.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Of course not.

SEC. PANELO: Pero iyong mga nakaraan naman, hindi naman masyadong flamboyant. Parang simple lang naman sila. Elegante nga ang mga suot nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sino kaya iyong naka-designer last year?

SEC. PANELO: Ewan ko.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So austere measures din, sir, parang—okay, thank you.

SEC. PANELO: Wala nang naka-bahag ano, dahil hindi siya congressman na? Natalo? Did he lose ba in the election? He lost ba in the election?

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi, baka last term na niya.

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

##

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

 

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