ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Good afternoon MPC; magandang hapon, Secretary Salvador Panelo.
SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, puwedeng malaman kung ano agenda ng Cabinet meeting mamaya?
SEC. PANELO: Wala pa sa akin eh.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Pero noong last kasi sir na briefing ang sabi ninyo puwedeng talakayin iyong pagtanggal ng Filipino subject sa college?
SEC. PANELO: That might be taken up. Ang alam ko mamaya iyong updates noong oil prices, idi-discuss iyon, pati iyong mga pinagkasunduan during the ASEAN.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Extension ng martial law?
SEC. PANELO: Wala, wala iyong… ang alam ko wala iyon. Unless na it will be raised doon sa other matters.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Iyong pagbawi sir noong suspension ng excise tax?
SEC. PANELO: Oo, siguro pag-uusapan iyon.
ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Ah okay, thank you.
HENRY URI/DZMM: Secretary, magandang hapon po. Nagkausap na ba kayo ni Secretary Dominguez, Secretary Pernia; any of the member of the economic team tungkol po sa excise tax kung itutuloy ba iyong implementation o hindi?
SEC. PANELO: Mamaya magkakausap kami sa Cabinet meeting.
HENRY URI/DZMM: So, hindi pa ho kayo nagkakausap?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa.
HENRY URI/DZMM: Ano ang tsansa na ito ay masuspinde o ituloy; 50-50, 60-40 ano pong tsansa?
SEC. PANELO: Malalaman natin mamaya when we meet. Idi-discuss pa ‘yan eh.
HENRY URI/DZMM: So hindi pa ho talaga kayo nagkausap maski kailan?
SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa, wala pa.
HENRY URI/DZMM: So mamaya, sigurado na hong dedesisyunan ito?
SEC. PANELO: Most likely… most likely. We’ll let you know immediately.
HENRY URI/DZMM: Alright, thank you sir.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Good afternoon, Secretary. Defense Secretary Lorenzana said this morning that he was not inclined to recommend to the President the declaration of a unilateral holiday truce with the Communist rebels, because they will use this to reinforce their group. What’s the Palace take on this, sir?
SEC. PANELO: Mamaya idi-discuss namin iyon.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Yeah. So, what’s the position of the Palace on the recommendation of—
SEC. PANELO: The position is: we will discuss it. There will be discussion necessarily for any recommendation by any member of the Cabinet.
NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Do you see any advantage sir on the part of the government if there’s a truce or walang truce?
SEC. PANELO: There should be permanent truce. There should be no bloodshed as far as the government is concerned. It’s about time we stopped all these bloodshed. It’s been 50 years, my God! Let’s end the internecine among Filipinos.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir the President yesterday—but he said that it was just a joke regarding the use of marijuana. With that, there’s this discussion again… may discussions again na to revive the—to legalize medical marijuana. So, is the Palace supporting this move by some lawmakers if ever to revive and if ever, legalize the—?
SEC. PANELO: Well, the President has already made a statement on that prior. He said for purposes of medicine, to heal, he’s in favor; but not for use other than that. Now with respect to the joke, you know, you cannot deprive any person – not because he is the President – to crack jokes. As he said, he does it because usually events are boring. So he gives some jokes to make us laugh.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero sir, when you make—
SEC. PANELO: First, marijuana is not a stimulant to make you awake – it’s the opposite. So it’s obviously, wala na kaagad logic. Nagpapatawa talaga siya. The fact alone na nagtawanan iyong mga tao, eh ‘di talagang joke nga.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Nagtawa—he looks serious, parang hindi naman nakakatawa iyong sinabi niya.
SEC. PANELO: Eh bakit nagtawanan ang mga tao, sige nga?
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Parang wala naman sir tumawa…
SEC. PANELO: Nagtawanan sila eh. Ang hindi ko kasi maintindihan, bakit pati iyong mga jokes eh binibigyan ng pansin.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Oo nga… How can we know that the President is serious or he’s just joking? Kasi there’s this presumption that if you’re stating something especially if you’re the President, that’s the policy or you’re saying what is iyong truth.
SEC. PANELO: Ang test mo doon, ‘pag walang logic nagpapatawa ka; ‘pag iyong audience mo tumawa, nagpapatawa ka. Pero kung makita mo reaction ng tao – sumimangot, they will feel offended, ibig sabihin hindi nagjo-joke iyon.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero like kami, hindi naman kami tumawa…
SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro hindi ninyo nakuha ang joke [laughs]…
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sundot lang doon sa—before we leave the topic. Of course the President, he said naman yesterday that’s he’s joking and then it is right, whatever ‘no, but he is the President, somehow his words carry weight ‘no. And the question becomes, how do we know if the President is telling us the truth or not anymore—
SEC. PANELO: I already responded to that.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: —if there’s no logic?
SEC. PANELO: One, if there’s no logic; if people, the audience would laugh – then it’s a joke. Alam naman natin kung ano joke at hindi.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero sir, wala tayong nakikita na problem na that is the President. He should be a little more… maybe careful with the words?
SEC. PANELO: Eh every now and then lang ang jokes niya eh, ikaw naman.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, position ng Palace sa medicinal—nasagot ninyo na ba iyon? Iyong sa why do you think—do you think there are people here that need medical marijuana?
SEC. PANELO: There have been researches. In fact in some countries legalized ang marijuana… o iyon, you pointed out Canada. In fact in some states in the US ginagamit talaga iyon, pero siyempre controlled iyon, regulated.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And you are for that controlled ‘no?
SEC. PANELO: The President is for that, nagbigay na siya ng mensahe diyan noon pa.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon muna sa akin, later na iyong iba.
SEC. PANELO: Di ba may mga proposed bills na nga in Congress.
CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, si Presidente ba nag-try talaga ng marijuana ever?
SEC. PANELO: Never in his life.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, did you asked him if he ever took marijuana?
SEC. PANELO: Did you not hear Senator Sotto said, he asked him.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But you?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t have to ask him kasi we have been together for 30 years, never.
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: But he is 74.
SEC. PANELO: Even then, he never, never. Otherwise, maikukuwento niya iyon kung—kasi napapag-usapan namin—
CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: How about you, sir, did you use marijuana?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t need it. If the marijuana makes you high, I’m always high.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, okay, if we’re saying that we have been able to distinguish or never the President makes a joke and when it’s not a joke. We should also remember that children are also watching him who may not be intellectually… you know, capable of distinguishing which is a joke and which is not—
SEC. PANELO: Incapable also of understanding whether it’s a joke or not. So, if they’re incapable of understanding it so there’s no harm, hindi nila naiintindihan eh.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: But there is harm, sir, in saying that the President takes marijuana and the children might take it seriously?
SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, iyong mga bata hindi naman nanunuod sa mga speeches ng mga Presidente.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: They might watch the news, sir?
SEC. PANELO: I think we are dwelling on this joke thing more than we should; hindi importante iyan. Let’s talk more seriously about serious things, not jokes.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: So, just last on the matter, sir. So, you will just leave it at that, that the President should be allowed to make jokes without taking into consi—
SEC. PANELO: Everybody is entitled to a joke.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Yeah, without taking into consideration—
SEC. PANELO: Even Presidents are entitled to jokes.
JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Yeah, without taking into consideration that, you know, he might have to remember to set a good example to children.
SEC. PANELO: He has set a good example by being a good leader. One joke will not make him a bad leader.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, kahapon po sa tree lighting he mentioned something about the COA ‘no, Commission on Audit. And then he said that he is going to talk to the COA Commissioner/Chairman, because of some investments not moving.
And if I may quote just for your context: “The Philippines has been known as a country which does not honor contractual obligations and yet COA, if you are listening now, you should be reasonable and sane enough to know that in the Constitution… So, instead of rendering an opinion that blocks the project, why don’t you just invent if you have to.”
May we know the context, is he referring to a particular contract that is not moving because of maybe some adverse findings from the COA?
SEC. PANELO: I do not know what project he was referring to. What he is saying is that if it is against the interest of this country with respect to investments then we need to do something about certain regulations that instead of helping, restricts and scares away investments.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But it’s not the point of having a Commission of Audit to check whether there will be, you know, some questionable transactions in government. When the President says ‘invent,’ if he used the word invent?
SEC. PANELO: What he means by ‘invent’ is you try to evaluate whether or not your opposition or your auditing are within what the law prescribes. Because you maybe misreading the provision of the law.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: Sir, si Defense Secretary Lorenzana said the Philippines cannot physically confirm China’s weather stations doon sa South China Sea. Wala na po bang efforts ang gobyerno to check kung totoong may weather station na itinayo ang China doon sa area?
SEC. PANELO: Well, apparently the Secretary of National Defense has already done his job.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: So we will just let it be na walang tayong alam? Does this not reflect the capability of the Philippine Armed Forces to even verify these things?
SEC. PANELO: I think Mr. Lorenzana has already made some checking, that’s why he made that statement.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: He just said that cannot physically confirm but it did not say na there is actually no construction of such in the area.
SEC. PANELO: Well, because you need to go inside the territory that this particular country claims that it’s theirs. So you may have some problems there; may even provoke something that we don’t want.
TINA MENDEZ/PHIL. STAR: So we cannot invoke our rights over that area, at least to go there?
SEC. PANELO: They claim that it’s theirs, but the arbitral ruling says it’s ours. Meanwhile, nobody seems to want to enforce it, that is precisely why we’re using the mechanism of diplomacy and negotiation.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, may nabasa lang ako tungkol sa Bohol closure ‘no.
SEC. PANELO: Bohol?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, sir. During the opening of the Panglao Airport, the Cabinet secretaries – the three one ‘no, the DENR, DOT, DILG – met with the local officials of Bohol; and there was a meeting. And in that meeting, allegedly, that there was, I think, an executive order unsigned by the President yet that will order something on the beaches of Panglao.
SEC. PANELO: That is the first time I’ve heard of it. I was there with the Cabinet members you mentioned.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Meeting with the LGUs, right? Did you go with the meeting?
SEC. PANELO: Wala akong alam na nag-meeting kami doon.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ah, okay, baka po iyong tatlo.
SEC. PANELO: Wala akong—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Not even the three? Sila Secretary Puyat?
SEC. PANELO: I don’t know about that. But I never noticed nor heard anything about that.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: There’s no executive order prepared for signing for the President?
SEC. PANELO: None that I know of.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi, sir, kayo iyong kinu-quote na mayroon daw kayong pinakita. Wala iyon?
SEC. PANELO: Wala, wala. Ngayon ko lang narinig iyan.
Q: Sir, ano iyong participation ni Presidente sa pagdating ng Balangiga Bells next week?
SEC. PANELO: Mamaya siguro we will discuss it. Hindi pa namin alam. Ang alam ko lang, may parang military ano… seremonya. Iyon ang alam ko. Mamaya maki-clear lahat iyon.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Secretary, may nagpapatanong lang na taga-Malacañang. Kailan daw ibibigay iyong 50K?
SEC. PANELO: Tatanungin ko mamaya kung kailan. Kayo ba ang makakatanggap noon?
Q: Hindi. Para sa Malacañang employees.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Joseph, to clarify things about doon sa 50K. Joseph, please.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, on behalf of the other employees of Malacañang kahapon na nagtatanong, sino ba iyong makakakuha ng 50K? Is it just the OP or the whole—
SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam eh. I’ll ask mamaya. I’ll ask.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Tungkol doon sa 50,000—Henry, okay na tayo doon sa 50K? Hindi lang natin alam kung kasama iyong casual doon kaya—hindi, hindi kami kasama. Henry?
HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, binanggit ng Pangulo kahapon na iyong KMU, Gabriela at saka Bayan Muna ay mga front ng NPA. So ano ang rekomendasyon ng Palace sa AFP, sa PNP sa mga miyembro at mga lider nito? Ano ang susunod na hakbang? Mayroon bang gagawin ang gobyerno laban sa kanila?
SEC. PANELO: Ang ano diyan, they should always work within the law. Kasi kung ginagamit nilang fronts iyon ng armed elements ng NPA, may problema tayo. They will be violating the law; they can be charged of it.
HENRY URI/DZRH: May warning ba ho ang Palasyo, ang Tanggapan ng Pangulo sa mga ito?
SEC. PANELO: Well, the fact alone that the President has made that statement, that’s already a warning to them.
JOPEL PELENIO/DWIZ: Sir, good afternoon. Sir, sinusuportahan ni Presidente iyong pagkakaaresto kina Satur Ocampo and company; pero ngayon ay nakapag-bail po sila. So anong ibig sabihin nito, sir, ipapaaresto po ulit?
SEC. PANELO: Ibig sabihin, iyong due process ay tumatakbo at naoobserbahan. Ang policy ng Presidente sa lahat ng mga ganitong klaseng bagay, the presumption of regularity always apply to every act, undertaking, moves by an official of the government. Kaya iyong mga nanghuli sa kanila, kung mayroon silang basis ng pag-aresto, the presumption is regular iyon. Now kung may reklamo ka, you sue them. And since nandiyan na iyan sa office of the prosecutor—sa ngayon nasa office of the prosecutor pa yata eh. Binigyan sila ng bail ng hukuman kasi karapatan nila iyon.
So hayaan na lang natin na tumakbo ang sistema ng pangkatarungan dito sa ating bansa.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Maraming salamat, Jopel. MPC, no more questions? No more.
SEC. PANELO: Thank you.
ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Maraming salamat, Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)