Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

MODERATOR: Magandang tanghali MPC, kasama na po natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. Good afternoon, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Good noon, MPC. Welcome back.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Hi, sir. Sir, can you expound a little bit on President’s directive as you said to investigate iyong mga nangyayari po sa SEA Games? How did he say it? What specifically does he want to find out?

SEC. PANELO: No, I received a text message to make the statement. He—indeed there is—or there are mistakes. If there are mistakes, we have to admit it but there are also so many false information and false news. So, we should not accept outright any news we read and we also advice the media outlets not to publish without verification.

So the President is clear that while he is displeased with what he has heard, he however would like these games to proceed; the organizers have done so much to prepare for this event. Whatever snafus we had, we should learn from them. They committed to do better service and they should. Whatever irregularities or any allegation of fraud, they will all be investigated after the event.

Meanwhile, let’s put ourselves together in support of all our athletes and welcome with all warm hospitality as we are known to the rest of the world.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, who’s going to lead the investigation? You mentioned kasi the Palace will initiate its own probe apart doon sa… obviously iyong ini-expect nila.

SEC. PANELO: Yes. Well, the Office of the President will do that. So the President will create a committee or any person to lead the investigation.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. Sir you mentioned that indeed there are mistakes. For now, what are the clear mistakes that have happened as far as Malacañang is concerned?

SEC. PANELO: Well for one, the… that checking in at 2 P.M. which did not happen; which could have been avoided by just checking them in in another hotel available for them. What else? The reports on certain facilities not being fully completed, appears not to be true. They showed a facility which is not the real venue.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. Regarding reports on—

SEC. PANELO: The food also is not true naman pala. May pagkain naman pala, masarap naman iyong pagkain.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. Although sir I have to point out, for example doon sa facilities. Although yes, may fake news about that, iyong sa sinasabi ninyo. There was an incident iyong wala po talagang scoreboard doon sa first football game; and regarding the food, although the kikiam issue is—

SEC. PANELO: Ah ito namang mga scoreboard, medyo maliit lang naman na bagay iyon.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: It’s a big deal for the athletes playing, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi, pero—with respect to the scoreboards/billboards?

Q: Iyong scoreboard, during the games nga.

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga scoreboard. O hindi ba may nag-i-score naman at mayroon namang mga nagbabantay din doon? Parang convenience for the spectators iyon, not for the athletes.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, what do you say to those calling on… sana daw po maging free iyong tickets for all the SEA Games? Kasi may payment po if you want to watch the games, specifically the organization asking the President is the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas.

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi ko pa natanong iyong parteng iyon. Alam mo… bakit daw may bayad? Baka kailangan nila ng pera.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: But, there is a budget.

SEC. PANELO: Ever since ba may bayad ang mga games? Sabagay kahit iyong Olympic Games mayroon namang bayad eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Yeah. But again, you know, this group is requesting na sana daw po pagbigyan na free na lang.

SEC. PANELO: Baka iyong mga estudyante huwag nilang pabayarin siguro. Pero iyong mga may suweldo naman eh magbayad.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Thank you, sir. Sir, are you going to push for that, iyong free tickets for students who might want to watch?

SEC. PANELO: Eh suggestion ko lang iyon.

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

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir good morning. Sir, sa investigation ‘no, it’s OP and then will that cover also iyong sinasabi ni Senator Lacson na iyong pag-channel ng public funds into a private organizations such as the PHISGOC is similar to a pork barrel scheme?

SEC. PANELO: O ‘di ba sabi nila ang mga—diyan sa Kongreso mag-iimbestiga sila? ‘Di sama na nila rin iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No, but iyong coverage po ng OP investigation.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, kung ano ‘yung reklamo ‘di iyon ang iimbestigahan. Any complaint lodged in the Office of the President vis-à-vis any matter concerning the SEA Games will be subject for scrutiny.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi sir iyong sa House, ang sinasabi ni Congressman Salceda is that it might not be possible for the House to initiate an investigation because APC [Alan Peter Cayetano] is the Speaker. Now, he’s leaving it up to the Senate to investigate iyong SEA Games hosting. What do you think of it?

SEC. PANELO: O bakit, the Speaker can always inhibit himself from the investigation. There are so many Deputy Speakers, they can take over the podium, rostrum and preside.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Should APC inhibit?

SEC. PANELO: That should be—that’s call for a judgment on the part of the Speaker.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So we’d rather that the House also initiate it and then… ah, paano ba ‘to…?

SEC. PANELO: From what I know, the good Senator Christopher Bong Go will initiate an investigation if complaints are filed in his committee.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: If there are complaints?

SEC. PANELO: Paano nga naman kung walang nagko-complain?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Oversight function.

SEC. PANELO: Ah, siguro. But sabi ni Senator Go ‘di ba, “Apology is not enough.” O, eh ‘di take it from there.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Are you willing—is the Palace willing to punish APC?

SEC. PANELO: Who? There is no sacred cow in this government. We’ve been repeatedly saying that those who transgress to law will be accountable.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Even if they are allies of the President?

SEC. PANELO: Uy ikaw naman eh… Did you see the President fired his friends and allies in the Cabinet? That should respond to your query.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright sir, thank you.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, may calls ang PNP and DILG to suspend classes in Metro Manila. What’s the take of—

SEC. PANELO: Dahil sa traffic?

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sa SEA Games.

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro they have studied that. If they are proposing that, there must be some good reasons for that.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Does the Palace support that call?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, we’ll have to know the reasons why – the whys and the wherefores. Ano buong SEA Games?

Q: Sir, I think to ease traffic, konti iyong sasakyan sa kalsada tapos ‘pag in-escort-an iyong mga athletes—

SEC. PANELO: Saan ba ginagawa SEA Games? ‘Di ba doon sa Clark?

Q: Sir may Clark, mayroong Rizal Stadium, may Sta. Rosa, may UP.

SEC. PANELO: Eh baka hindi naman… I don’t know how many will be using the streets of Manila for that purpose. Hindi natin alam. They have to explain to us why.

TINA MENDEZ/PHILIPPINE STAR: Sir, iyong paulit-ulit na tanong kung may bago na raw bang Chief PNP.

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa. Wala pang sinasabi si Presidente. ‘Antayin na lang natin si Presidente. Anyway, may OIC naman eh.

Oy by the way, now that you mentioned the PNP, some critics, even editorials are saying that the PNP Spokesman said na wala namang missteps si VP Leni. Parang iyong isang anchor sinasabi niya contrary to the statement of Secretary Panelo… Kayo naman, basahin ninyo kasi iyong… Iyong statement ni… Spokesman ng PNP, sinasabi niya na walang misstep doon sa loob, iyong pag… siguro during the meetings.

Pero sabi niya on a higher level… ay hindi na nga namin alam iyon. Eh iyong mga missteps na sinasabi ko on a higher level iyon, hindi kasama iyon. So kumbaga wala sa teritoryo na niya iyon. Like when she talked with foreign nationals or institutions, para sa Presidente misstep iyon ‘no, ba’t mo kinakausap iyon; kasi iyong mga iyon, nag-judge na nga na mali iyong drug war mo eh – mayroon nang prejudgment. Madaling sabi, pinagsasabong iyong PNP saka iyong administrasyon.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, follow up ko lang iyong pagbabayad ng tickets sa mga panood ng palaro, medyo malambot eh. Hindi ba dapat kayo na iyong—bakit mungkahi lang?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean ‘malambot’?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Malambot eh, bakit mungkahi lang kayo? You are the government, you can specifically order PHISGOC to waive.

SEC. PANELO: You know, you just don’t order. You have to know the reasons for whatever proposal any body or any institution giving. Tingnan—pag-aralan muna natin.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Pero, it’s the government asking for a payment sa mga gustong magbigay ng suporta sa ating mga atleta. So halimbawa ako, ba’t kailangan kong magbayad sa gobyerno kung gusto kong manood at magbigay ng suporta sa aking mga kababayang atleta?

SEC. PANELO: Bakit naman masama na magbayad ka kung gusto mong manood? Unang-una, kailangan din nila na pera for maintenance. Maraming kailangan ng pera eh.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Eh di ba nag roll-out ang gobyerno ng all out support sa funding so bakit kailangan pang … why the need to collect money?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kailangan siguro nga ng organization. Hindi ba sila ang nagsasabi na kailangan nila?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So hindi kaya ito ay dahil ang PHISGOC is a non-government, it’s a foundation so it needs money. It’s a private entity?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kailangan nga eh; Kailangan nga nila ng pera kaya sila nagpapabayad eh. But we will study the proposal.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: And can you please strongly—

SEC. PANELO: Bakit, may mga anak ka bang estudyante na gustong manood?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Hindi, iyong mga kababayan natin, sir. I mean – kami!

SEC. PANELO: Iyong mungkahi na libre ang mga estudyante, kung hindi bigyan niya ng 50% discount.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Anong gusto ninyong mangyari, ideal para lahat … everybody happy, makapagbigay ng suporta?

SEC. PANELO: Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, personally, they should allow students na libre or kung hindi kayang libre, 50% discount – happy compromise.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Kaya nga kagabi, kung nanunood kayo, sir, sa laban ng Azkals—

SEC. PANELO: Nanalo ba tayo?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Walang tao eh, kasi may bayad eh.

SEC. PANELO: Natalo tayo? Mabuti pala may bayad. Kasi kung walang bayad, maraming nanood, maraming na-disappoint.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: May home court advantage of the support sana.

SEC. PANELO: Naniniwala ba kayo doon sa home court advantage?

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Kung totoo iyon eh di lahat ng games panalo tayo dahil nasa home court tayong lahat.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Ito na lang, sir, usapang Pilipino na lang. Can you commit 50% discount?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, sina-suggest natin iyan sa organizers.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: And you strongly suggest?

SEC. PANELO: I will strongly suggest that bigyan nila ng ano, either libre or 50% iyong mga estudyante. Pero iyong mga gaya ni Reymund na may suweldo naman ay dapat talagang magbayad.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just going back to the Vice President. I think she said before that she’s going to come out with her own report on what she had discovered while she was still ICAD. What’s the position of the Palace?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, iyong sinasabi niyang may iri-report daw siya, hindi ba sabi ni Presidente, the reason why she was invited kasi marami siyang ideas. Pangalawa, para malaman niya kung ano iyong nandoon sa loob. Para kung iyong outlook niya ay iba sa labas baka mabago kapag nasa loob na. Pangatlo, if it is true that she discovered any irregularities or any unlawful act or scheme, then it was her duty, it is her duty at the time that she discovered that irregularity to reveal that to the public, and prosecute the people behind it because she is a public official.

Why didn’t she do that, at bakit nag-aantay pa siya nang matagal? Ibig bang sabihin porke’t nandoon ka sa administrasyon noon, kung anong nakita mong masama, ayaw mong ilabas? Ngayong nasa labas ka na, gusto mo nang ilabas. That does not speak well with the Vice President.

Another thing, why is she taking so long? Dahil ba kasi may nagpi-prepare nang iba para sa kaniya? Ano iyong report na iyon? Kasi kung may natuklasan ka kaagad, eh di immediately … Palagi naman siyang nagpi-presscon eh di sinabi niya na sana, in fact, pinupuri niya nga iyong isang rehabilitation center, mayroon siyang mga papuri eh.

At saka whatever iyong sinasabi niyang na-discover, open nga eh, may access nga siya sa lahat ng ICAD so walang sikreto doon. At saka it’s against common sense, iyong sinasabi niya, ‘Mayroon ba kayong tinatago?’ Naman VP Leni, eh kung may tinatago, bakit ka pa nu-nombrahan, papapasukin sa loob, para matuklasan mo? Ano ba naman iyan; walang common sense doon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Do you want her to come out with the report at soonest possible time?

SEC. PANELO: Eh dapat nga! Hindi ba sinasabi ko, kung totoong mayroon, bakit hindi niya inilabas noon pa, dahil ba gumagawa … mayroon silang ginagawang multong nililikha nila?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: What do you mean by that, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Oh hindi ba, kung mayroon kang natuklasan na masama, dapat inilalabas mo na. Ngayon, kung gagawa ka pa lang ng di-umanong natuklasan mo, it will really take time to craft.

Matagal. Masyadong … ang tagal-tagal naman!

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Are you insinuating sir, that whatever comes out from that report is a fabricated—

SEC. PANELO: Presumably, otherwise kasi nga … ikaw ba, Joseph, kung nandiyan ka sa loob ng gobyerno, head ka ng agency, natuklasan mo may iregularidad, you will keep your mouth shut? Of course not! Immediately may presscon, ‘I discovered this, Mr. President, this and that.’ Eh ilang araw na iyon tapos next week pa yata, ano ba iyan?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: This government has nothing to hide as far as the drug war is concerned?

SEC. PANELO: Of course, kaya nga siya in-appoint precisely para makita niya iyong loob, kaya nga may access siya sa lahat eh.

In fact, hindi ba, I remember, iyong PNP-OIC was—was it the PNP OIC? Si Aaron Aquino, Director, was offering to brief her on some classified information which she refused?

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Hi sir. Sir, both chambers of Congress have passed a bill, extending the validity of the 2019 national budget. Will the President support it considering that it goes against his EO 91? Na-text ko ito sa inyo, sir, when you were in Korea. The EO sets a cash-based budgeting system which basically dapat lahat naka-appropriations nga, ginagastos during the same year.

SEC. PANELO: Basta ganoon pa rin ang policy ni Presidente. Basta it is in violation of the Constitution, he will veto it – hindi naman nababago iyon.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Kung may EO—you’re the Chief Legal Counsel, you said kung magba-violate ng Constitution, if it’s an EO and then that bill may go against that EO, paano ho ba iyon, sir?

SEC. PANELO: If the EO was made by the President, that means the assumption there is, there is regularity, and therefore in accord with the Constitution.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: And you expect all laws or bills passed to comply with the EO, ganoon ba iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Dapat.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: So the President is not inclined to support the extension?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung in violation of the Constitution, he will not support it.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, doon po sa patuloy na influx o iyong patuloy na pagdami ng mga Chinese nationals sa Pilipinas, hindi ba kayo medyo naaalarma o nababahala dahil some reported are illegal aliens?

SEC. PANELO: Eh iyon namang mga illegal aliens ay ginagawan natin ng karampatang proseso para tanggalin sila sa kanilang pananatili sa ating bayan.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Pero hindi kayo nababahala na parang halos lahat na ng parte ng Pilipinas ang dami ng Chinese? At saka lalo na iyong mga iba’t ibang trabahuhan halos every now and then, ang dami ng mga Chinese, parang ‘raise an alarm’.

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman. Baka talaga lang gusto lang—you must remember na gumagawa nga tayo ng paraan to attract visitors in this country. Mga Koreano nga ‘di ba, number one ang Koreans sa Pilipinas, ang dami na rin nila dito. Basta nakakatulong sa ating bayan, we welcome them. But the moment they violate any law or ordinance, they will be properly prosecuted – either to send them behind bars or to send them back to where they came from.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, related din sa Chinese. Regarding these concerns raised by some senators on the ownership of NGCP na somehow daw China might shutdown daw iyong operation natin just in case. So was there an order from the President to investigate on the matter kung iyong China talaga has the capacity to shutdown our system in the future?

SEC. PANELO: Since that is a national security matter, I will defer to the position of the Department of National Defense, as well as the NICA Director.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero was there an order from the President to investigate?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa – wala pa. Siyempre papakinggan niya muna iyong security officials niya. Security matter iyon eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, the Energy Secretary, I believe, has said that he’s raised this matter in Cabinet meetings before. Can you confirm that to us and give us kung paano pinag-usapan ito? Any instructions from the President—

SEC. PANELO: I’m not privy to that. Hindi ko alam iyon.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero, sir, right now, mayroon ba tayong reason na mabahala regarding that matter?

SEC. PANELO: As I said, we will defer to the position of the DND, as well as NICA. Wala pa akong naririnig sa kanila eh.

MODERATOR: Okay na po?

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, MPC. Thank you, Secretary Panelo.

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