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. IGNACIO:  Salamat, Aljo. Kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO:  Good afternoon.

CHONA YU/ RADYO INQUIRER:  Sir, can you confirm si William Dar is the new Agriculture Secretary?

SEC. PANELO:  I heard about it, but let’s wait for the President’s announcement.

CHONA YU/ RADYO INQUIRER:  Sir, on President Duterte’s visit to China. May I know who initiated the bilateral talks?

SEC. PANELO:  I do not know exactly but what I know is that there will be a China visit, but the dates are not yet confirmed.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, good afternoon. Sir, can we just have more details about the visit. Is it a state visit or an official visit?

SEC. PANELO:  It’s a working visit.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  A working visit and what will be the purpose of the visit, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Well, the same—all visits of the President if it’s working, then it refers to discussion with the visited country relative to issues that affect both – issues that will benefit both countries; issues of conflict; issues of cooperation; issues of support especially with respect to terrorism, to fighting drugs, to cultural exchanges, people-to-people and financing too – funding.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  So do we expect, sir, the discussion on the West Philippine Sea most likely, because you said conflict?

SEC. PANELO:  That could be part of the discussion.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  And is it true, sir, that the President will also watch the FIBA?

SEC. PANELO:  There is no confirmation on that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, I’m interested to know iyong status nung MOU between the Philippines and China on the joint exploration and exploitation of some areas in the West Philippine Sea. Whether it’s moving, because the last time, I think si Secretary Locsin said that he has accepted the “superior version” of the Chinese. I was wondering whether this is going to be one of the agenda in the meeting this August.

SEC. PANELO:  We are waiting for the report of Secretary Locsin; It could be part of the discussion.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Are we looking to maybe move on more documents after the TOR. Ano ang next na document noon, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  I’ll wait for Secretary Locsin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, how did this meeting come about? Is it—this is a long time—

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ko alam eh, basta ang alam ko lang may Chinese visit.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  How did you hear about it, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  From the President himself during his speech. Di ba sinabi niya, I will go to China.

MPC: Sa NICA ba iyon?

SEC. PANELO: In one of his speeches Ang dami na niyang events eh, na wala kayo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Excuse me, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, na wala kayo eh, hindi kayo imbitado doon, di ba.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, so anyway, in terms of timing ‘no… and this is I guess the fifth time, is it correct, fifth time already?

SEC. PANELO:  Fifth ba? Ba’t naalala ko parang three times lang kami nagpunta roon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, hindi ka kasama, charing. Touché. [laughs]

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, three times pa lang.

MPC:  Five.

SEC. PANELO:  Ah, Iyon ang hindi ko naalala iyong Belt at saka iyong—

MPC:  Iyung Boao.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  So sir, in terms of timing, this is very… do you think significant in terms of context of time ‘no. Kasi galing tayo doon a isyu ng Reed Bank and then of course, buhay na naman iyong isyu ng verbal agreement because of the privilege speech of Senator Tolentino.  If ever, is the President going to raise again the arbitral win because this is going to be the third ‘no, kasi first time he was in Beijing and then April and then this is going to be the third time—

SEC. PANELO:  Let’s see kung ire-raise niya iyon, kung kasama sa kanyang agenda iyon. Wala siyang binabanggit pa eh, baka mamaya he will mention sa Cabinet meeting.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  But this is a very important meeting, yes?

SEC. PANELO:  Any meeting involving the President is important.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  Just one, sir. But is there any specific issue that may have prompted this meeting. Because medyo… I mean, his foreign trips are usually advised especially for us covering him. Is there any specific issue that made him want to go to China?

SEC. PANELO:  He didn’t mentioned anything about that; he just mentioned he will go to China.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS:  But it was him who wanted to go, it was him who initiated.

SEC. PANELO:  He mentioned it, but he didn’t say na siya ang may gustong pumunta o inimbitahan siya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sir, is he going there upon the invitation of President Xi because of FIBA?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ko nga alam kung—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Or lalagyan niya ng bilat?

SEC. PANELO:  I will ask him mamaya para sigurado.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Pardon for staying on the topic, because is Senator Tolentino did mention again the verbal agreement. Do you agree with the preposition, sir, that it does not need a Senate concurrence?

SEC. PANELO:  Yes, di ba may statement na ako diyan.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Pang-ano lang, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Executive agree—parang hindi naman lahat ng executive agreement eh kailangan nasa papel.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  And then again, pardon for belaboring the point. The coverage of that verbal agreement again is… because that might be tackled in the meeting this August?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam exactly kung anong magiging area ng coverage nung usapan nila with respect to that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  But sir ‘yun pong— the thing that we are referring to before ‘yung verbal agreement covers specifically what and what period?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. ‘Di ba— [coughs] excuse me. Ang usapan lang naman nila doon eh pagdating doon sa mga mangingisda natin hindi gagambalain doon sa mga areas na traditional fishing grounds, puwede lahat sila mag-fishing. ‘Yun lang naman ang usapan eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Oo. sige, sir—wala naman itong period of time? It can go on until eternity?

SEC. PANELO: Could be. Could not be. Depende. Depende sa pag-uusapan nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, meaning—

SEC. PANELO: Because agreements can always terminate. So, tingnan natin.


SEC. PANELO: So, tingnan natin especially because they will be talking this time. O, ‘di mas magiging klaro ang usapan.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Puwede nating sabihin, sir, they can fine tune and… the agreement and then—

SEC. PANELO: We don’t know whether that will be tackled nga eh. Let’s just wait.


NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET:  Secretary, the Inquirer reported today that Chinese investors are targeting three strategic islands in the Northern Philippines – the Fuga in Cagayan Province and the Grande and Chiquita in Subic Bay in Zambales Province. Security analysts are saying that— wait… “This is part of the geopolitical agenda of China and it will be used for its strategic maritime posture since these islands are near the disputed West Philippine Sea.” May we get Malacanang’s reaction, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I’ve not heard anything from the National Security Adviser nor the National Defense Secretary.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Defense Secretary Lorenzana said that he will check if this will have implications in our national security.

SEC. PANELO: Then we will wait for his advice.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Okay, sir. We have a comment from security analyst Jay Batongbacal saying that the problem is that the government only focuses in bringing money in, not the wider ang longer term effects of the project it approves.

SEC. PANELO: And the problem with him is he doesn’t see anything good that this government does relative to the issue on China.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: But is Malacanang concerned that Chinese investors are investing in strategic areas or islands in the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Again I will repeat what I’ve said: We will wait for the National Security Adviser and the Secretary of National Defense give their comments on the security issue affecting those three areas you mentioned.


HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Hi, sir, good afternoon. Sir, pagpapaliwanagin po ba ng Palasyo ang Department of Health doon sa report—

SEC. PANELO: Ipapa ano?

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Ipa-explain po ng Palasyo ang Department of Health doon sa report po ng COA na nag-overstock ng medicines po at umabot po ng almost twenty billion po. Na-discover nila na malapit nang ma-expire, ‘yung iba expired na po instead na ma—

 SEC. PANELO: The President will wait for the report of the Department Secretary regarding that.

HANNAH SANCHO/SONSHINE RADIO: Madi-discuss kaya ito, sir, sa cabinet meeting later?

SEC. PANELO: I have not seen the agenda yet. It could be in the other matters, topic.


 INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, over the weekend three ferries capsized in Iloilo, thirty-one ‘yung latest po na namatay. Is the President perhaps considering visiting Iloilo to visit these victims or check on the situation there?

SEC. PANELO: Given the character and style of the President, that’s a probability. Meanwhile, we condole with the families of the victims that perished on those mishaps.


ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, ano ‘yung government actions given that the incident doon sa Iloilo kasi tinitingnan nila kung bakit daw nakapaglayag ‘yung mga bangka eh?

SEC. PANELO: That’s why. I think whoever is responsible for securing the folks during storms should exercise more prudence, caution, and should give the people more guidelines relative to facing this kind of disasters.


JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, may info tayo doon sa whether it’s going to be a holiday on the twelfth, Eid’l Adha?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa. Wala pang announcement ang ES.


SEC. PANELO: Wala pa.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, what’s your reaction to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea filing a libel complaint against Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo?

SEC. PANELO: That’s between the Executive Secretary and the journalist.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Is the Palace supporting the move of the Executive Secretary?

SEC. PANELO: That is personal between the two, so we will not interfere.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, given na presidential appointee si Ramon Tulfo, is it not a cause of concern given na he’s allegedly saying libelous remarks against Executive Secretary?

SEC. PANELO: Since charges have been filed, we cannot comment on the validity of the charges. So, we will wait.

USEC. IGNACIO:  Questions? No more? Okay. Thank you.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Any announcement?

SEC. PANELO: Tomorrow siguro maraming announcement.

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


SOURCE: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau)