Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Building (NEB) in Malacañang

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

SEC. PANELO: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the Malacañang Press Corps. I’m ready, if you are.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Good afternoon, sir. Sa isyu ng passport na umano ay natangay ng isang pribadong kompanya ang data na kasama po nito. Unang-unang tanong namin, iyon ho bang UGEC ay dumaan sa bidding para makuha iyong kontrata with APO?

SEC. PANELO: Kung dumaan sa bidding?

HENRY/DZRH: Oho.

SEC. PANELO: Ang lumalabas sa mga nakita kong dokumento may joint venture daw sila.

HENRY/DZRH: Meaning, kailangan—‘pag ka ho ba ganoon ang transaksiyon sa gobyerno kailangan pa o hindi na kailangan ng bidding?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi depende, kung ano ang nakalagay sa batas. Kung ano ang nakalagay doon, puwedeng joint venture; kung nakalagay sa batas hindi pupuwede—na kailangan may bidding, eh ‘di may bidding pa rin—pero teka muna, may tanong ako sa iyo. Sino ang nagsabing natangay ng isang private company iyong database?

HENRY/DZRH: Iyon ho iyong lumalabas sa pahayag ni Secretary—

SEC. PANELO: Was it identified kung anong company?

HENRY/DZRH: UGEC.

Q:  Hindi.

SEC. PANELO: So hindi pa natin alam pala exactly kung anong company. So let’s investigate first.

HENRY/DZRH: Okay. Pero si SFA ho ang nagsabi?

SEC. PANELO: Pero kasi may mga naririnig ako he was misinformed kaya—oh, yeah. So perhaps we should first wait for an investigation on the matter para mas klaro iyong issues.

HENRY/DZRH: Opo. Totoo ho ba noong 2017 ayon kay Secretary Yasay, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, ipinapa-rescind na nila iyong kontrata with UGEC?

SEC. PANELO: That’s what he said; whether that’s covered by a particular document or not, I do not know.

HENRY/DZRH: Opo, nakonsulta ba kayo noong panahon na iyon bilang Chief Presidential Legal Counsel?

SEC. PANELO: Sa rescission? Oh, wala siyang tinatanong sa akin kung ire-rescind.

HENRY/DZRH: So hindi po kayo nakonsulta?

SEC. PANELO: Kinonsulta niya ako sa ibang bagay pero hindi iyong rescission.

HENRY/DZRH: So anong position ho ninyo roon noong panahon na iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pinatingnan niya lang sa akin iyong joint venture. Eh sabi ko naman, you have to give me all the documents first. Eh kulang iyong mga dokumento kaya hindi ako makagawa ng conclusive opinion on the matter. Mayroon akong initial pero based lang on mga documents. So we’ve been asking them to give us all the documents relative to that matter. Pero kulang pa eh.

HENRY/DZRH: Kanino po sa—

SEC. PANELO: Sa PCOO, sa UGEC, saan pa? Sa DFA.

HENRY/DZRH: Kanina po sa pakikipag-usap ko kay Chairman and CEO Michael Dalumpines ng APO Printing, sinabi niya na hanggang ngayon ay nakakontrata pa iyong UGEC at hindi puwedeng i-terminate sapagkat dumaan ito sa proseso at in-approve ito ng NEDA.

SEC. PANELO: Eh siguro iyon ang kaniyang opinion, pero kami kasi unless you give us all the documents and look at those documents in relation to the laws relative to the matter, hindi natin malalaman kung tama iyong sinasabi niya o hindi.

HENRY/DZRH: Okay. On the part of Malacañang, so kumbinsido kayo na delikado kung iyong data po ng may hawak ng passport ay nakuha ng isang pribadong sektor at nawawala?

SEC. PANELO: Una nga eh, hindi pa natin sigurado kung nawawala nga o hindi kasi may nagsabing nandiyan, may nagsasabi namang hindi. So I’d rather not make any comment unless facts have been given to my office.

HENRY/DZRH: Last on my part. Any directives from the President about this?

SEC. PANELO: The President of course doesn’t want this birth certificates being lost… ‘di ano na iyon, even without him saying it, hindi dapat mangyari iyon. But hindi pa nga natin alam exactly kung nandiyan o wala. Kasi may nagsasabi nandiyan, may nagsasabing wala. Ano ba talaga? So let’s wait.

ROSE NOVENARIO/HATAW: Sir, good afternoon. Sir, tingin ninyo ba safe iyong ganoon na ‘di ba parang concerns ng personal data ng ating mamamayan eh dapat ba nating ipagkatiwala ito sa isang pribadong kumpanya lalo na kung ganito kasensitibong dokumento like passport?

SEC. PANELO: First, we are assuming na ipinagkatiwala natin sa pribadong kumpanya, hindi pa nga natin alam iyon eh. That’s precisely why I’m saying, I need the facts bago kami gumawa ng komentaryo. Puro ano lang eh, nag-e-speculate, sabi ng ganito, sabi ng ganiyan. Hindi pa malaman eh, I want the formal communication coming from them and giving me the facts.

ROSE/HATAW: So sir, halimbawa, mayroon bang panawagan iyong—ay hindi, mayroon bang assurance ang gobyerno na may kakayahan ang pamahalaan na gawin itong passport na ito ng walang foreign company or walang private company intervention?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung kakayahan, palaging mayroon ang gobyerno.

ROSE/HATAW: Okay sir, thank you.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, clarification. Kasi based from my understanding doon sa mga nabasa ko, including the statement of Secretary Yasay, it was the French company which apparently ran off dito sa mga documents na ito kasi the contract was existing during that time when the previous administration entered the contract with APO and UGEC. So is it true na it’s the French na kinontrata naman ng BSP to print that passport?

SEC. PANELO: Again, I will repeat what I said: I do not know the facts as they claimed. According to Mr. Yasay ito iyong kontrata between a foreign… Hindi ko pa nakikita iyan eh. I need documents showing all those claims to be validated by a formal document para makagawa tayo ng tamang sagot.

CELERINA/MANILA SHIMBUN: Pero sir, is the Palace conducting its own investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, in fact ‘di ba there was a directive already to conduct an investigation. We will make a definitive conclusion or finding once all those documents are submitted to us.

CELERINA/MANILA SHIMBUN: Is there a timeframe to—

SEC. PANELO: Immediately, dapat kasi iyong mga ganitong bagay hindi dapat ito pinatatagal.

CELERINA/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, is it the NBI or ito lang the NPC which is conducting the investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, wala pa. Wala pa ang NBI. Puwede lang naman internal, kahit DFA puwede na rin silang mag-imbestiga on its own eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sino po sa Palace specifically is going to investigate this outside of the Data Privacy Commission—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi sa ngayon DFA, DFA kasi turf ng DFA iyon eh, dahil nangyari sa kanila. It has to have… to conduct its own internal organization [investigation].

JOSEPH/GMA7: Not Malacañang sir? Clarification?

SEC. PANELO: Not at this time.

JOSEPH/GMA7: DFA first ‘no? Okay.

SEC. PANELO: But as soon as we—kasi kami mayroon kaming mga request to give us documents, so independently we will conduct our own probe.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Your office?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH/GMA7: The Chief Legal Counsel?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay. Sir, alright—so right now, it appears that the French company has in possession the data ‘no?

SEC. PANELO: No, right now it appears that somebody is claiming that a foreign company was contracted. The foreign company did this and did that, puro nga claim eh. I haven’t seen the documents. They have to show me documents that will validate what they are saying; until such time mahirap magkomentaryo.

JOSEPH/GMA7: But I’ll try sir. Sir, if over two were possesses the—

SEC. PANELO: What?

JOSEPH/GMA7: The French company, sir, possesses the data, can we… the government… can the government compel it to release the data because it belongs to the state?

SEC. PANELO: Well, certainly. That data belongs to this government, hindi naman pupuwede na kukunin ng iba iyan.

JOSEPH/GMA7: And how is this going to be sir? The compelling of…

SEC. PANELO: Eh lipat na nga tayo—tingnan muna natin kung nasa kanila nga.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Just the process sir. You said, we can. So how?

SEC. PANELO: The process there is to demand return kung nasa kanila.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Okay.

SEC. PANELO: Eh ‘di kapag hindi idedemanda mo sila, ganoon lang iyon.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Sa Court ‘no sir?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Mandamus, anong mga klaseng petition iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Mag-file ka ng recovery ng mga dokumentong nakuha… baka idemanda pa natin sila ng theft. But right now, hindi pa nga natin alam kung sino ang may hawak, anong kontrata, wala eh. Puro, he said this, he said that. Wala eh, I need documents.

JOSEPH/GMA7: Alright, sir. Thank you for that.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, even if we don’t have the facts yet at hand. What’s the government—

SEC. PANELO: Even if we don’t what?

JULIE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Even if we don’t have the facts yet at hand. What’s the government’s reassurance to the people that it is prepared for say a worst case scenario that the data was indeed stolen?

SEC. PANELO: We are assuring them. Definitely we will not allow any delay on the issuance of passports or putting stringent requirements that will burden our people into getting their passports.

JULIE/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: How about sir, what concerns of identity theft. Ano po ang puwedeng maging reassurance ng government? Do you have any reminders to say, halimbawa financial institutions or nag-i-issue ng IDs?

SEC. PANELO: With respect to the security siyempre iyong initial department there will be DFA. They have to learn from whatever lessons they have. Kasi right now nga hindi naman natin alam kung totoong nawala nga o hindi eh, baka nandiyan lang iyon.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Sir, sorry, a clarification. You have mentioned that it should be the DFA which should investigate. But there was a statement by Secretary Locsin that it’s not their duty to conduct an investigation but it’s the DOJ or the Senate if the Senate wishes to—

SEC. PANELO: Who said that?

CELERINA/MANILA SHIMBUN: Si Secretary Locsin po sa twitter niya.

SEC. PANELO: No, baka naman na misquote mo lang siya. Siyempre as department head he will have to conduct his own investigation on the matter kasi siya ang head ng department eh. Para malaman niya kung sinong mga nagkamali, may omission, may failure on the part of the staff.

CELERINA/MANILA SHIMBUN: So the Palace is now asking the—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi siyempre iba pa iyong sinasabi niya sa Kongreso, iba naman iyon.

CELERINA/MANILA SHIMBUN: So the Senate—the Palace is now asking the DFA to conduct its investigation?

SEC. PANELO: We don’t have to ask. I think that’s the duty of the head of any department to conduct any internal investigation on the matters that has called the attention of the people relative to any… what appears to be either an omission, a failure, a mistake or an anomaly.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS.: Sir, this is a statement from Secretary Locsin doon sa kaniyang twitter din. Sabi niya, ‘because previous contractor got pissed when we terminated it, made off with data. We did nothing about it or couldn’t because we were in the wrong.’ That sounds contrary to what you’re saying. Kumbaga, it seems to imply na wala tayong magagawa.

SEC. PANELO: Well, I suppose—I think it’s Secretary Locsin should be responding to that question with respect to ‘they are in the wrong.’ I do not know why they were in the wrong. This statement, we have to ask him: why do you think you were in the wrong or the DFA was in the wrong?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, parang—kasi matagal na ito. Before pa nag-confirm si Secretary Locsin, may mga passport renewal na nire-require sila ng DFA to submit iyon nga – birth certificates. So as we speak, wala pa tayong hawak na documents considering time is of essence dahil it’s a digital world, any second this could be sold sa black market ng mga data, information. So how long or how fast can we take hold of that missing database ng mga—

SEC. PANELO:  Well, today we are writing the DFA regarding that matter; we also writing PCOO relative to the same; we are writing also UGEC ganundin. So, gagalaw iyan.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  So, can we actually do something like… iyong foreign entity na iyon can we ask our foreign counterpart na may saklaw doon sa entity na iyon to hold this foreign entity na i-secure at hindi maibenta elsewhere iyong data.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi, kasi nga gaya ng sinabi nag-i-speculate pa tayo tungkol sa foreign entity, hindi ko nga alam exactly kung ano iyong foreign entity na iyon eh. I have to see a document na magka-kontrata natin iyong foreign company, anong napag-usapan  nila, kailan terminated iyon, ano under the terms and conditions of the contract, ano ba ang nakalagay doon. We have to know that first.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  And lastly, also you mentioned na you will not allow another burden sa mga—

SEC. PANELO:  Well, definitely, we will not.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  So can we take your word, na hindi na kailangan iyong mga magre-renew ng passport na magdala ng birth certificate ngayon?

SEC. PANELO:  Depende. Kung, one, if it’s true na nawala, eh di siyempre kung wala kang data base, di you have to produce a data base again. Pero hindi naman lahat maapektuhan, kasi iyong mga kagaya natin, iyong recent na nabigyan, hindi na kailangan iyon. Iyong mga previously, iyong manual yata.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Hindi ang kasama iyong green, tapos iyong machine readable na maroon starting after 2009. So, iyong mga magre-renew after, iyong mga kasama doon ay hindi na required, hindi ninyo papayagan na i-require pa ng DFA na magdala ng birth certificate?

SEC. PANELO:  What I know is kung  kasama ka na doon sa latest na processing, hindi ka na kailangang mag-produce, ang masasama lang iyong mga manual issued na passport.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  So kung kasama ako, puwede kung i-invoke iyong pangalan mo?

SEC. PANELO:  Na ano?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO:  Na hindi, sinabi ni Secretary Panelo. Sabihin ko na hindi na kailangan.

SEC. PANELO:  Unang-una, hindi pa nga natin alam kung totoong nawala. Iyon nga eh, nag-i-speculate tayo. I need to know exactly: nawala ba o hindi. So, I’m waiting for the DFA to tell us.

USEC. IGNACIO:  Sir, may patanong lang from Paris, France. Kung pati raw po iyong data ng mga nag-renew at nag-apply ng passport sa embahada sa France at other embassies ay may possibility din na kasama sa diumano’y natangay ng dating contractor na gumagawa ng passport?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi pa natin alam iyon eh kung kasama sila o kung natangay nga o hindi.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  Sir, pinapatanong lang ni Rose Coz: Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed last Friday that President Duterte will join a big rally on January 18 in Cotabato City to appeal to people to vote “yes” for the Bangsamoro Organic Law.  Do you think this will be an effective way to convince the people. Is the Palace confident that majority of the affected people in Mindanao will ratify BOL, why sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Number one, hindi ko alam kung pupunta nga siya doon, January 18. Number two, is it effective? Eh depende iyon. Depende sa reception ng taong pupuntahan mo. But, ultimately, it will be the people’s call, whether they want it or not. What is important and certain is that the President will abide by whatever the will of the sovereign people in that part of this country is.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  But do you think it would help if the President himself would appeal and convince the people.

SEC. PANELO:  Well, certainly the voice of President is always a powerful influence on whatever matter he gives his voice into.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  Do you think there is a need for the President to again call for the support of this people who will be affected to vote for BOL?

SEC. PANELO:  Do I think?

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  Palace think that?

SEC. PANELO:  Depende kay Presidente iyon. If he feels na there is a need then he will campaign for that. If he feels that it will win even without his calling for voters to support it, then he will not.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  Pero, sir right now, it’s like less than a week or almost a week before a plebiscite will be held. So, hindi n’yo pa ba nakikita na kailangan na ni Presidenteng pumunta doon, considering that there are some local officials who are really opposing the BOL, like in Cotabato.

SEC. PANELO:  The President is a best judge of what will be the outcome of this plebiscite. He will make a move, if he thinks he should. He would sit and just watch if he feels hindi kailangan.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, regarding po doon kay Bacolod PNP Chief Ebreo. Ano po iyong mga events or iyong reason ni Presidente Duterte to lead him to sack Ebreo and the four other police officials because of drugs daw.

SEC. PANELO:  Then there must be a basis why the President has relieved this Chief. I suppose intelligence information has reached him. That is why he made his move.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  So, he has his own intelligence sources, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Not only his own. We have the PNP, we have the CIDG, we have the PDEA. All these agencies ordinarily provide the information relative to those involved in the illegal drug industry.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Sir, si Ebreo and the four other police officials, tanggal ba sila sa posisyon nila o tanggal sila sa serbisyo and were they given due process before the decision of the President?

SEC. PANELO:  Ang alam ko lang, ni-relieve siya sa as Chief of Police. Iyon pa lang, eh meron namang—there is an administrative process for that. So right now, he has been relieved as Chief of Police of Bacolod.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  So dadaan pa po sila sa proseso.

SEC. PANELO:  Well, definitely, palagi namang ganoon eh.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, supposedly pupunta si Ebreo and the four other police officials here in Malacañang, 2 pm?

SEC. PANELO:  No info on that. Parang ngayong ko lang narinig.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Wala sa schedule ni Presidente, sir?

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi ko nakita, wala sa schedule.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Hi sir, good morning. Sir, may we have your reaction about the Pulse Asia survey saying that Filipinos trust US more than China. This is despite the statements of the President na more on pro-China statements?

SEC. PANELO:  I think some time ago I have already responded to that question. There was a similar survey on that and I said that it’s understandable for Filipino’s to feel that way. Because ngayon pa lang eh. We have been used to the States being our ally, so mas sanay tayo sa Amerika. But siguro as we go along at nakita na iyong sincerity ng China with respect to agreements between the two countries, eh baka mabago iyong kanilang pananaw.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  But doesn’t this reflect, sir, iyong influence ni Presidente when it comes to persuading people?

SEC. PANELO:  Not necessarily, it takes some time for people to accept certain changes that they are not used to it.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir on other issue. Meron lang sir lumabas doon sa search engine, I think ng Google, na since 2012 meron daw pong request iyong government to remove 80 items, articles and videos critical of the government, specifically, President Duterte. Given that Malacañang has been very  vocal about press freedom and all, why is there a need for the executive department to request the removal of articles and videos critical of the government?

SEC. PANELO:  Parang first time kong narinig iyon ah. Sino ang source mo diyan?

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, nasa item po ng—article ng News 5, sir.

SEC. PANELO:  News 5?

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Yes sir.

SEC. PANELO:  Tanungin natin iyong News 5 saan nanggaling.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Ako nga iyon eh.

SEC. PANELO:  Ikaw pala iyan eh. Ano ba ang source mo?

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, sa search engine ng Google. Based on the studies of Google since 2012, meron daw 25 requests.

SEC. PANELO:  Coming from whom?

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  From the executive and judiciary department.

SEC. PANELO:  Which particular… kailangan you have to pinpoint para alam natin.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Okay, sir, I will forward the article.

SEC. PANELO:  Hindi iyong article mo malabo rin eh, kasi executive and—

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  No, sir merong mga figures, I will forward it to you.

SEC. PANELO:  Yeah, but is there a particular department, person.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:  Sir, wala engine lang.

SEC. PANELO:  We will be clutching at straws kapag ganoon, hindi natin alam. We cannot confront a particular agency, department or person. Parang general iyong ano niya eh, kaya ngayon ko lang narinig.

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  Sir there was a petition for mandamus that was filed by Congressman Andaya for the DBM to release the fourth tranche of the increase of salary ng government workers—

SEC. PANELO:  Nag-file na ba siya?

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  Kanina po.

SEC. PANELO: Saan siya nag-file?

CELERINA MONTE/MLA SHIMBUN:  So, Secretary Diokno during an earlier briefing. He insisted that without the 2019 GAA that would not be granted. Is Malacañang supporting the position of Secretary Diokno?

SEC. PANELO: Let’s put it this way: Since there is already a mandamus petition before the Court it becomes sub judice, we will let the court decide it. It will necessarily ask the respondent Ben Diokno to respond and then when the issue is meet and they will resolve.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL.:  Sir, what then can you tell government workers expecting this salary hike na supposedly effective January 1. What is Malacañang’s explanation for why this is not being released yet?

SEC. PANELO:  The explanation according to Secretary Diokno is that the fourth tranche is supposed to be included in the 2019 budget. And since there is no budget as of 2019 and the 2018 will be a reenacted budget and it’s not there, kaya hindi pa puwede. But I heard the President was saying na he will work for the increase in addition to the fourth tranche di ba, nangako siya eh.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL.:  So, sir sorry. So, you are sharing the position of the Budget Secretary that there needs to be the 2019—the enacted 2019 GAA before the SSL’s fourth tranche could be implemented.

SEC. PANELO:  Yes, kasi nga ano ang magiging basis mo. Where will you get the money for the fourth. But as soon as the budget is enacted, that’s precisely why we were urging graciously the House of Reps to finish as well as the Senate to approve the budget para makapasok na kaagad on the second quarter.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL.:  Because si Congressman Andaya is saying that that reasoning is kumbaga holding hostage daw po iyong salary, iyong salary hike.

SEC. PANELO:  The one holding hostage would be Congress. Not Executive department.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM:  Sir, former Navy Chief Alexander Pama said in a facebook post. He actually expressed concern on the possible Chinese takeover of Hanjin Shipyard sa Subic, sir. He mentioned that aside from financial/economic issues, merong national security issue daw po.

SEC. PANELO:  Anong Hanjin Shipyard, ano iyon?

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM:  Sa Subic, sir. Shipyard sa Subic, sir, possible takeover ng Chinese.

SEC. PANELO:  What do they mean taking over?

Q: inaudible

SEC. PANELO:  They defaulted.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: May national security issue daw po given na possible na magkaroon ng naval and maritime assets ang China doon sa lugar, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, speculation pa lang iyon na they will take over. When a company declares bankruptcy, oh eh di sino naman magkakainteresadong kunin iyon.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So, sir, you don’t see any national security issue as of this time?

SEC. PANELO: We’ll just be speculating. Hindi pa natin alam kung sinong gustong pumasok o sinong gustong mag-takeover.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Follow up, sir. Sir, may statement, I think, from the DTI that two companies will kind of like be the white knight to tide over Hanjin.

SEC. PANELO: What are these companies? Philippine company?

JOSEPH  MORONG/GMA7: Chinese companies, sir – two Chinese. So that’s where, I think, the fear or the worry comes from na eventually na Chinese companies might be able to takeover—not naman take over, but operate a crucial area.

SEC. PANELO: But the one declaring bankruptcy is also a Chinese entity.

JOSEPH  MORONG/GMA7: It’s Korean, sir. Hanjin is Korean.

SEC. PANELO: Korean, oh di foreign pa rin. Eh di ganoon pa rin. Bakit naman hindi tayo concerned sa ibang bansa tapos concerned tayo sa China.

JOSEPH  MORONG/GMA7: So we shouldn’t be concerned?

SEC. PANELO: Sa ngayon nag-i-speculate pa tayo. We have to—puro tsismis eh.

JOSEPH  MORONG/GMA7: No, sir, it’s a statement from the DTI that is saying two Chinese are prepared to—

SEC. PANELO: Interested pero hindi naman sinasabi na they are bidding for it. Nagpaparamdam pa lang sila. From what I gathered, mayroong Pilipinong gustong mag-takeover.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7:  Sino, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Maraming shipping magnate sa Pilipinas na can afford. So let’s wait.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But, sir, kung halimbawa Chinese company nga iyong mag-ano—

SEC. PANELO: Kung Chinese company naman na dati na nating ka-deal at wala namang problema …

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Walang isyu?

SEC. PANELO: Eh di walang isyu. Eh kung hindi natin kilala eh di siyempre we have to vet para malaman natin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sige. Follow up, sir. Sir, mayroon lang report iyong sa AMTI. It’s the—

SEC. PANELO: CIS?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No, no, sir. Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, saying that there’s an increase or there’s a heavy presence of Chinese fishermen in our areas, specifically in Subi and Mischief Reefs. There are a lot of activities there, presence of Chinese fishermen, but sometimes they are not necessarily fishing; they’re just there for presence ‘no.

First question: Are we not worried about the presence of Chinese fishermen there knowing, of course, that they may be part of the PLA?

SEC. PANELO: I’m sure whoever is authorized to oversee that area ay alam nila ang gagawin nila if they feel na may security threat. Dahil kung fishermen lang naman, pareho rin tayo, nagpupunta rin tayo doon sa what they claim to be theirs, pinapabayaan tayong mag-fish. Walang problema kung fishing-fishing lang.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But, of course, you know that they are not … some of them are not regular fishing.

SEC. PANELO: We don’t know that yet. Speculation lang iyon eh. As I’ve said, kung sino iyong nagbabantay doon, alam nila kung may threat o wala; and they will do and respond accordingly.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But as of now, we are not doing our independent investigation whether there is such a heavy presence of—

SEC. PANELO: I’m sure the Department of National Defense is doing that already.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Hi, sir. Sir, nagkomento na po ba si Presidente sa nangyayari sa House with this apparent (signal cut) from his allies there with regard to budget for 2019 and the abolition of the Road Board.

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba mayroon na kaming sinabi tungkol diyan. We urged them graciously to approve it kasi maaapektuhan iyong mga social services, iyong mga infrastructures. At nagsalita na rin siya na hindi totoo iyong sinasabi nilang may insertion si Ben Diokno. Sinabi niya hindi totoo iyan kasi iyong gumagawa ng budget ay precisely iyong nga ang trabaho mo eh.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Pero, sir, what does it say about his influence over his allies in Congress na parang resistant sila?

SEC. PANELO: Nasa kanila iyon. Alam mo naman si Presidente, hindi nakikialam. It’s their call but, ‘di ba sinabi niya doon sa statement na binigay natin, ‘the Filipino people will not accept such delay, inordinate delay na maapektuhan ang kanilang interes.’

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, this only happened under the leadership of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Parang hindi naman masyado before under Speaker Alvarez.

SEC. PANELO: Kaniya-kaniyang diskarte iyon sa loob nila eh. If you talk with the Speaker, sasabihin niya wala siyang alam doon. Baka si Andaya lang at saka si Suarez.

But alam mo, kahit ano pang sabihin natin o nila, I think they will be approving the general budget soon.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, nakapag-usap na po ba si Speaker Arroyo and the President?

SEC. PANELO: They don’t have to. They have their own departments, their own branches to work on. But I will be meeting with the Speaker tomorrow evening.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: For what, sir?

SEC. PANELO: For dinner.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Dinner.

SEC. PANELO: Tsika.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Tsika about—

SEC. PANELO: So if you want to ask through me, I will ask her. Anong gusto mong itanong sa kaniya?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: What’s next for her, sir, after—

SEC. PANELO: Retirement. According to her, retirement.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Pero, sir, may balak ba ang Pangulo na i-appoint siya sa Cabinet?

SEC. PANELO: I’ll ask her. Pero from her body language ‘no, sinasabi niya, I want to retire.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Would she be willing to accept whatever the President would offer?

SEC. PANELO: Baka hindi ‘would she be willing’; would she want to work some more, iyon siguro ang tanong. I’ll ask her.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, doon sa speech ni President Duterte recently lang, he said to the bystanders, “If your bishop passes by, rob them,” and “They have lots of money, kill them.” Nag-react po si Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, and he said that this is a serious matter and the President may not be a good role model to the younger generation. And he even said that the President is like, “speaking like a devil.” And there must be a movement among decent Filipinos to make him stop from saying evil things.

SEC. PANELO: I think we’ve already issued a statement on that. Sabi natin, iyong istilo ni Presidente eh ever since ganoon ang style niya. Ang ibig niya lang sabihin, kayong mga nasa Simbahan, especially the bishops, you’re living in comfort and yet people are wallowing in poverty. Hindi ninyo ginagawa iyong katuruan na binibigay ninyo sa faithful.

At saka isa pa, ‘di ba sabi ni Presidente, ‘Ang hirap naman sa inyo, kayo ang unang bumanat sa akin, ngayong binabanatan ko kayo, nagre-react kayo.’ If you can unleash tirades against the President, then be ready to receive some in return.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: So you’re not concerned naman, sir, doon sa sinasabi nila na he may not be a good model to the younger generation given his style of speaking?

SEC. PANELO: No. You know why? Even the priests—tandaan mo, the President has made many adverse remarks questioning the doctrines of the Catholic Church. And then I heard this priest, iyong sa Nazarene, ‘di ba sinasabi niya it does not affect the faithful. Sila na mismo ang nagsasabi, it will not affect the faithful.

Kasi iyong tayo, like in the Black Nazarene, may kaniya-kaniya sila personal experience sa kanilang paniniwala sa Diyos. So kahit anong banat mo diyan, kung naniniwala sila, naniniwala talaga sila.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, whatever happened to the dialogue between President Duterte and the Church leaders? Mayroon po bang pinuntahan iyong pag-uusap na iyon?

SEC. PANELO: Eh nag-umpisa lang ‘di ba noong kasagsagan. After that, wala na. Eh siguro nga kasi, ‘di ba ganiyan naman ang mga Pilipino – kapag may problema, let’s meet and talk. And then after a while, wala na, nakalimutan na naman tapos hanggang pumutok uli – let’s meet and talk.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: No, what I meant, I was referring to those who asked for a dialogue.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: President Duterte also said na tatapusin na niya iyong mga banat niya sa Simbahan.

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi binanatan siya sa … ‘di ba may nag-wish sa kaniya na mamatay ka na sana.

Q: Walang ganoon.

SEC. PANELO: Mayroon. ‘Di ba may wish, death wish. Eh hindi naman ako nagtataka kung may death wish – may kalaban eh.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, si Senate President Tito Sotto said that he is willing to mediate between President Duterte and the Church leaders. Willing ba din si President Duterte na buhayin ulit iyong dialogue …

SEC. PANELO: Si Presidente naman okay lahat iyon. Si Presidente, alam ninyo, si Presidente anything that is beneficial to the nation, palagi siyang gusto. Okay sa kaniya lahat iyon. Napakadaling kausap si Presidente.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: He is willing to revive the talks?

SEC. PANELO: Of course, kung hinihingi ba nila. Wala namang problema kay Presidente iyon. Okay lang nang okay si Presidente eh.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Sir, you said that, “If you unleash tirades against the President, be prepared to receive some tirades from the President.”

SEC. PANELO: Hindi kita marinig.

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: You said earlier, if you release tirades against the President, be prepared to receive tirades from the President.

SEC. PANELO: Oo. In other words, if you can—

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: Yeah, opo. I remember President has previously said na parang he is open to receiving criticism from Filipinos but not foreigners. Those criticizing him are Filipinos, and yet the President is criticizing them. So ano po iyong … where’s the balance?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, ang niri-react ni Presidente, ‘di ba sabi niya, ‘You are using the pulpit to attack me. Hindi pupuwede iyong ginagawa ninyo. So I’ll be using my own office para sagutin ko kayo.’

JULIE AURELIO/PDI: So meaning, sir, the President is only receiving criticism not from the Church?

SEC. PANELO: He is only defending himself from attacks. It’s self-defense.

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay, no more, MPC? Okay na. Secretary?

SEC. PANELO:  Oo nga pala, we have some narratives from the DFA.

On the invitation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will undertake a state visit to the Philippines from 15 to 19 January of this year. President Sirisena will meet with the President on January 16, 2019 in Malacañang Palace. Their bilateral discussions will focus on areas of mutual interest including political, economic, agriculture, cultural and people-to-people engagement.

While in the Philippines, the President of Sri Lanka is also scheduled to meet with officials of the Asian Development Bank and the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños. He also expected to meet the Sri Lankan community in Manila.

The visit of the President of Sri Lanka is of historic significance. It will be first by a Sri Lankan President serving both as head of state and government under Sri Lanka’s 1978 constitution.

Prior to that, Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike who is the only other Sri Lanka leader to visit in 1976, since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries which was in 1961, that was the follow up of that visit.

USEC. IGNACIO: Okay. Thank you, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

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SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

 

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