Press Briefing

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

USEC. IGNACIO: Good morning, Malacañang Press Corps; happy Monday. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good morning. Maricel long time no see ha. [laughs]

USEC. IGNACIO: Questions MPC? Maricel, you have questions?

SEC. PANELO: Oo nga, bumawi ka.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, what’s the Palace position on calls from different government officials for the resignation of the UP Regent because of—

SEC. PANELO: Of who?

MARICEL/TV5: UP Regent, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Bakit daw?

MARICEL/TV5: Farolan, because of his post about some Ateneo players with regards doon sa UAAP sir?

SEC. PANELO: Who is asking for resignation?

MARICEL/TV5: Senator Nancy Binay, Senator Pangilinan.

SEC. PANELO: I think the call for resignation; we leave it to the discretion of the person subject of the call.

MARICEL/TV5: But given that he’s an appointed. Will you—

SEC. PANELO: Even then—I mean, fairness only dictates that it is the person subject of their call for resignation should decide for himself whether or not there is a validity for the call or not.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, I think the context of calls for resignation for UP Regent Spocky Farolan is that he called for violence against some Ateneo players in the light of the ongoing UP-Ateneo match in the UAAP. Now some were saying that since he is a presidential appointee it’s very unbecoming and it might reflect on his—you know, being an appointee of the President. So what’s your take on this?

SEC. PANELO: I think we should give the person the benefit of the doubt. Let him explain himself. That’s what we call due process and the rule of law.

JULIE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: He said sir that it was in jest. Do you think that violence against university athletes should be—

SEC. PANELO: I think there should be a body that will objectively investigate that incident so that the finding will come out.

JULIE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: One to be created by Malacañang sir or you leaving it up to UP?

SEC. PANELO: We leave it to UP because it happened there. We always respect the independence of any entity in this country.

JULIE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Thank you sir.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, the AFP says that it will formally recommend to President Duterte the extension of martial law and the PNP has also expressed its support for the extension of martial law. The President has always said that he will abide with whatever the military officials will recommend. So ibig sabihin po ba sure na iyong extension ng martial law with the recommendation of the AFP and the PNP?

SEC. PANELO: Of course the President will always evaluate whatever recommendations that the AFP and the PNP will give him. But given the support of martial law in Mindanao, even by a Catholic bishop and the citizens there, the President may be persuaded to grant, to approve their recommendation. But of course, again, that is the prerogative of the President.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Ano pa po ba iyong mga considerations na ite-take ng Presidente po in deciding whether or not to extend martial law?

SEC. PANELO: Well, palaging—the basis palagi will be the safety of the people there. If the threat remains and there is still an ongoing rebellion, then constitutionally the basis would be valid for continuation of martial law.

PIA/ABS-CBN: Thank you sir.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, follow up. Sir, do you think it will be easy for Malacañang to convince lawmakers should you decide for a martial law extension? Because some Senators are saying that it will be more difficult to convince them now for the extension of martial law dahil nabigyan na ng specific period to the job.

SEC. PANELO: Again, the Constitution grants them the authority to decide whether or not it will extend martial law. So we leave it to them.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, good noon sir. Sir, sabi ni General Albayalde wala pa daw official directive to form or start forming iyong Duterte Death Squad. May we know kung mayroon kayong timeline on when do we expect na kung matutuloy talaga ito?

SEC. PANELO: As again, again and again, we said it earlier that it’s an idea which the President has floated. So let it develop.

REYMUND/BOMBO RADYO: Thank you sir.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, doon po sa forum ng istasyon ni Ina—

SEC. PANELO: Ng?

JOSEPH/GMA7: Ng istasyon ni Ina. Some allies are saying, si Bato si Ejercito and Tolentino agree that Mr. President should issue medical bulletins. Your position on the matter, please?

SEC. PANELO: The question was whether or not the President should issue a medical bulletin in case of serious illness. The President agrees with that. That is why he informs us of what happened to the medical examination. I don’t think there is a question on that.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Pero sir iyong mga periodic na parang yearly hindi naman kailangan iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Wala naman, hindi naman—ano lang iyon eh, regular examination.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Alright. Thank you sir.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Hi, sir. Good morning po. Regarding po sa recommendation ng economic managers not to suspend iyong second tranche. Sabi po kasi ni Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, kapag wala pong satisfactory explanations ang economic managers, pupuwede po nilang i-force ang economic managers na ituloy ang suspension through the budget, iyon pong 2019 budget. Ano po iyong reaksiyon ng Palace regarding—

SEC. PANELO: Well, I’m sure the economic managers have basis to make that recommendation. They are competent and able to explain themselves to the lawmakers.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Aside po ba sa recommendation ng economic managers, ano pa po iyong titimbangin ng Pangulo para mag-decide kung kailangan ba talagang suspendihin or huwag?

SEC. PANELO: Batas. ‘Di ba mayroon tayong batas, may requirement.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sa tingin ninyo po ba, karapat-dapat na gamitin ng Senado iyon pong usapin tungkol sa pagpasa ng 2019 budget hinggil po dito sa—

SEC. PANELO: The passage of the budget would again depend on the call of members of Congress – that is not for the President. The President under the Constitution is required to submit a proposed national budget within 30 days. He did it on the day of SONA, on the first day, so…

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Willing po bang i-sacrifice ng Duterte admin iyon pong timely passage ng 2019 national budget—

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean sacrifice?

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Kasi po ang binabanggit nga po ng Senate is pupuwedeng maapektuhan iyong passage po ng 2019 budget kung ipipilit ng economic managers na ituloy iyon pong second tranche ng oil excise tax.

SEC. PANELO: You’re only referring to one particular senator, and there are 24 senators. He may not be… his opinion or observation may not be shared by the 23 others.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, just on the comment made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin when—I think, he called bullshit iyong case against the group of Satur Ocampo. Your comment, sir? And—the premise is, he is a member of the Cabinet and an alter ego of the President. How do you see this opinion, sir?

SEC. PANELO: I already issued a statement on that. We view the comment of SFA Locsin as a personal sentiment given the fact that he and former Congressman Satur Ocampo are friends and were both together in Congress.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, he is allowed or anybody of you guys in the official family is allowed to air your personal opinion regardless if it’s pro or against the stand of the administration?

SEC. PANELO: Again, I said, his statement is a personal sentiment. It is not reflective of the view of the administration.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, on Rappler. Secretary, good morning. Happy Monday. Sir, your statement that, well, si—

SEC. PANELO: Ressa.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ms. Ressa, yes, saying that there’s going to be an arrest warrant to be issued against her that stems from, I think, the tax evasion cases. And that they think that this is, of course, persecution from the government.

SEC. PANELO: You know, we have repeatedly said that we never and will never interfere with the function of the Judiciary, as well as the other branch. If the Judiciary finds probable cause for an information filed, and we have to respect the law on the matter.

Ms. Ressa is entitled to legal remedies under the law. And she has her lawyer so I don’t think she has a problem with respect to losing her liberty because she is precisely going to post bail.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: But do you agree, sir, that they are being persecuted?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, definitely not. How can they be persecuted? It’s a question of tax evasion. You violate tax laws, and then you will be prosecuted. If you have a justifiable reason for so doing or you will introduce evidence to show that it’s not true, then you will be acquitted. Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and that includes everybody including Ms. Ressa.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PDI: Sir, but wala namang fears iyong Malacañang that baka it will have a negative impact again ‘pag iyong ganitong mayroong arrest order against the President because he has been very vocal against Rappler?

SEC. PANELO: The stand of Malacañang is always: you violate the law and you will have to account for it. And the Constitution also says, every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise by competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt – proof. That has been the policy and will always be the policy of the Duterte administration.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PDI: So the President has nothing to do with it, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Oh, definitely. He has too many obligations to fulfill. As we said, we can hardly cope up with this man. He’s always working. We are amazed at how industrious he is.

USEC. IGNACIO: MPC, questions? No more? Okay.

Maraming salamat, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Thank you, Malacañang Press Corps. Back to our main studio sa Radyo Pilipinas and People’s Television Network.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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