Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location Press Briefing Room, New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Good afternoon, Malacañang Press Corps. Let’s now have Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. Good morning, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Good morning, MPC.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, anong directive ni Presidente sa China? May bago po ba?

SEC. PANELO: Well alam ninyo, from the very start when I issued a statement, it still stands. We are waiting for the final results of the investigation being conducted by the Chinese government, and that applies to us also; because also—we are also conducting our own investigations. Eh ang problema, maraming ‘hot’ – hindi magkapaghintay. Hintayin na lang natin iyong—that’s why the President is not saying anything kasi he wants, as a lawyer, abogado ito eh. Kaming mga abogado, we wait for the facts to come in – all the facts.

Alam mo ‘yan, iyong nangyari kasi doon… parang ano ‘yan eh, it’s a maritime case or an ordinary case involving adversarial claims – mayroong version iyong isa, mayroon ding version iyong isa. So we have to know the facts, and then we can determine… malaman natin kung ano talagang dapat gawin. Until such time, eh premature lahat iyong mga statements ng iba; ang iba, kesyo magpadala ng ganito; ang iba naman ganiyan. Masyadong premature, let’s wait.

CHONA YU/RADIO INQUIRER: Sir, hanggang sa ngayon wala pang sina-submit na result ng investigation iyong different government agencies ng Philippines like Coast Guard, Defense?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo ongoing, kasi like for instance iyong imbestigasyon, doon pa lang sa Filipino fishermen, iyon palang mga sworn statements na nakuha natin. Kukunin mo rin ang statement noong mga tumulong, kung sinong mga nandoon sa vicinity. Eh ganoon din ang Chinese government. ‘Di ba kaya sabi nila, “We are thoroughly and seriously investigating the incident.” So, we’ll have to wait.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Secretary, iyong nilabas na pahayag ng China regarding doon sa Recto Bank incident, iyong sinasabi nila na ‘besieged’ iyong Chinese boat or Chinese ship noong mga Filipino ships, hindi ninyo pa ba iyon tinuturing na results ng investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang version noong kapitan nila.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay…

SEC. PANELO: Eh siyempre, the Chinese government will investigate kung totoo ‘yan o hindi, hindi ba. Eh kaniya-kaniya ngang version, that’s precisely why sabi nga ni Ambassador Zhao, “We are further studying.” Eh tama naman ang—dapat talaga ang approach mo rito, let’s see the facts.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: So, you’re expecting a fair probe on China?

SEC. PANELO: Oh definitely. Both—on both sides, and then ‘pag… let’s exchange kung anong findings natin, malaman natin ang totoo. Ganyan talaga, you—when there is a conflict; we have to know the facts.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Okay. But Sec., what is the Malacañang’s take on calls to immediately downgrade iyong Philippines ties with China because of the supposed act of abandoning iyong mga Filipino fishermen?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon nga ang sinasabi natin, huwag na muna tayong mag-jump into conclusions. Tingnan natin exactly – ano ba talaga nangyari? Sa totoo lang, lahat tayo we’re just observers. Hindi pa natin alam eh, kasi the facts are not yet in, all the facts. You have to investigate – at the time of the incident, sino bang mga nandoon; anong oras nangyari iyon. Like for instance, as a lawyer, maghahanap ako – mayroon ba kayong picture, photographs. Eh may mga telepono naman kayo, sino ba mga nandoon, I want to talk to them – ganyan dapat ang probing.

ACE ROMERO/PHILIPPINE STAR: Salamat, Sec.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, sabi po noong kapitan noong Filipino fishing boat eh hindi totoo na the Filipino fishermen besieged the Chinese—

SEC. PANELO: Exactly! ‘Yan nga ang sinasabi natin, there are two versions. So we have to determine exactly kung ano ang totoo sa dalawang version. We have to cautiously walk on this. Hindi pupuwede iyong bigla-bigla tayong magsasalita ng ganito, eh ni wala pa tayong facts.

Sabi nga ng isang editorial ng—may nabasa ako kahapon eh. Eh wala pa ngang facts eh, ang daming nagsasalita kasi. ‘Antayin na lang natin iyong facts from the Chinese government, from the Philippine government then tingnan natin kung ano talaga nangyari – then we can make our own stand on how to go about it.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, the boat captain wants to ask President Duterte to make the captain of the Chinese boat liable dahil sinasabi nila kasi parang pinapatay daw—

SEC. PANELO: Eh premature nga lahat nga eh, hindi pa nga natin alam. When the facts are all in and we are convinced of what really transpired, then we can do something about it. Kung anong—

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir iyong sa abandonment, it’s premature given na Filipino—hindi nga Chinese ang nag-rescue sa kanila eh, Vietnamese ‘di ba? So, premature pa rin po ba doon?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, because there’s—may—‘yan ang unang reaction natin ‘di ba, inabandon. Pero they’re saying, “No, we did not.” Sinasabi nila na, “We stayed a while until we were sure.” So in other words, may version na naman. So parang may conflict ang dalawang versions. We have to determine, ano ba talagang nangyari.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Paano ho natin gagawin iyon sir, kasi—

SEC. PANELO: O hindi ba iniimbestigahan nga noong Chinese government.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Yeah. I mean—what I mean sir, siyempre the Chinese are going to say one thing and the Filipino fishermen are going to say one thing. Papaano po natin ide-determine kung alin iyong version ng truth?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, kaya nga mayroong tinatawag na hukom eh na nagde-determine. Sa isang kaso na dalawa ang version, there is one arbiter or judge that will determine who is telling the truth.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sino iyon sir, in this case?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa nga natin alam, kayo naman. Aantayin nga natin iyong official findings ng both sides, saka tayo mag-decide.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Last on my part, sir. Si President Duterte ba, is there any chance that he might meet the fishermen? Kasi kahapon parang… the fishermen are saying na parang imi-meet dapat nila si President Duterte today. Kung hindi man today, is there any chance na makapag-meet sila?

SEC. PANELO: As far as I know, wala akong narinig na request at wala ring nag-imbita. Kasi nga wala pa eh, malabo pa nga iyong facts eh.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Is there a possibility that the President might be interested?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung you’re speaking of possibilities, then limitless ang possibilities.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Thank you, sir.

CNN PHILIPPINES: Hi sir, good afternoon. Iyong incident has been reported to the International Maritime Organization. Was there a case filed? So what happens from this, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa nga. Wala pa, hija. Kumbaga, probing pa lang on both sides. Investigating…

CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, the Mayor of Occidental Mindoro is filing a resolution asking the President or Malacañang—

SEC. PANELO: Oh, eh ‘di let him file.

CNN PHILIPPINES: —to speed up the investigation. How soon can we have the result of this investigation? Is this considered urgent?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo hija, hindi ganoon kadali ang nag-iimbestiga. We have to wait. We cannot be pressuring both sides to make an immediate finding. Eh siyempre—like for instance, gaya ng—as a lawyer, kung ako mag-iimbestiga, I want to talk with all the fishermen – 12 of them. I want to know exactly saan nangyari iyang lugar, sinong mga nandoon at that precise time; anong mga vessels nandoon… o ‘ayun. I want to talk to the Vietnamese ship that gave help. Ibig ko ring makausap iyong… marami eh. You have to talk also to the captain of the Chinese vessel para malaman natin. Kasi sa ngayon, may version ang ating kapitan; may version din iyong kanilang kapitan. So, papaano? We have to resolve that.

CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir, but there are several cases in the past that when the President asks the investigation to be urgent, mabilis po na nalo-launch iyong investigation. In this case sir, is this considered to be urgent?

SEC. PANELO: Lahat ng kaso ay urgent. ‘Pag may kaso urgent ‘yan, kailangan mag-imbestiga. But you cannot hasten the investigation nang ganun-ganun lang. Mayroon silang mga sinusunod na estilo ng pag-iimbestiga.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, on our end… June 9 po ‘yung event—incident, and now it’s June 17. What do we know so far as a government?

SEC. PANELO: According to Secretary Lorenzana, he has sworn statements coming from the fishermen, iyon ang binigay niyang info. He wants—according to him wala pa tayong—hindi pa natin nakakausap iyong Vietnamese vessel crew or captain. Tinitingnan pa nila kung mayroon tayong puwedeng makuhang photographs or video or whatever.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So sir, the DND is investigating this?

SEC. PANELO: As far as I know, yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. And then also China is doing its own investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And then, how do we reconcile the two versions?

SEC. PANELO: O eh ‘di…

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Under what forum or regime or…?

SEC. PANELO: O eh siguro we will have to create whatever. Basta wala pa eh, puro tayo nag-i-speculate. We want first the final findings of both sides. Tingnan natin, for all you know baka pareho ang sasabihin nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, when we have—when both sides have their final findings, saan tayo magmi-meet?

SEC. PANELO: Depende kung anong findings.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Papaano, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Depende nga kung ano ang findings. Kung ang findings nila pareho ng atin, o ‘di tapos na kaagad ang kaso.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kung magkaiba, sir?

SEC. PANELO: O kung magkaiba, eh ‘di pag-uusapan natin bakit magkaiba. Bakit—sinong mas tama. O siguro, we need to resolve that to an objective arbiter.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Or puwede ba sir sa Bilateral Consultative Mechanism?

SEC. PANELO: Puwede lahat ‘yan. Basta importante, let the facts set in.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Puwede rin ba sir sa PCA? Sa Permanent Court of Arbitration?

SEC. PANELO: Ah, ‘yan ang hindi ko alam. I’ll leave that to Secretary Locsin, kasi that’s his turf.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ah, okay. Sir, alright. So the Chinese has already admitted in their statement sir ‘no na iyon pong partikular na bangka na ‘yan or fishing ship ay galing sa Guangdong, and it is involved in a light purse seine operation. Meaning, they are fishing in Reed Bank – that’s as far as—

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang sabi nila. Problema, hindi naman ‘yan ang final ano nila eh, statement. That is the version of the captain of the Chinese vessel.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And the Chinese government, sir, adopting it.

SEC. PANELO: No, not necessarily. Kasi sinasabi ni Ambassador Zhao, “We are still investigating further.” Ang sabi niya ‘further investigating.’

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yes, sir. But that—does that not establish sir that they are fishing in our—

SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily, because they are actually saying the version of the Chinese vessel. Hindi pa nga natin—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: They’re not fishing there?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang version nga… iyon ang ginagawa nila. Pero since sinabi ni Ambassador Zhao na iniimbestigahan pa nila ‘further,’ o eh ‘di antayin natin ang kanilang—kasi press release lang iyon eh. Ang kailangan natin iyong official response to our diplomatic protest—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Which we do not have yet, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Wala pa, kasi nga iniimbestigahan pa rin nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir sabi po ni Justice Carpio is that this is a violation of the UNCLOS.

SEC. PANELO: Premature! Premature pa nga kasi hindi pa natin alam ang facts. Ang alam natin—initially hindi ba alam natin iniwan, tapos they’re disclaiming it. O ‘di… may problema na naman tayo. Hindi natin alam eh, buti sana kung inamin nilang iniwan o… that’s a violation. Antayin muna natin, he will be right kung totoo iyong talagang iniwan iyong mga Pilipino sa barko.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So sir, suffice to say that iyon pong mga demands to maybe ask China to apologize is also premature?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi nga, wala pang facts eh. We have to know the facts first. Tama si Presidente, you cannot be responding kaagad nang—you have to know the facts. As a lawyer, iyon ang training ng isang abogado. And for that matter kahit hindi ka lawyer, kailangan bago ka magsalita ng isang bagay eh tingnan mo muna ano ba ang nangyari talaga.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is that what he told you sir, iyon pong…

SEC. PANELO: That is the position of the President ever since. Kahit na anong incident, palaging ganoon – let me know the facts first. Kahit na anong incident, whether internal or international.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, to respond lang sir. So iyon pong mga criticism that the President has been silent, what do you say to that?

SEC. PANELO: He is not silent, he is waiting for the facts to set in before he make any declaration.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: As a matter of policy sir, how much are we willing to do to protect the Filipinos?

SEC. PANELO: Oh as a matter of policy, we always say that we will not allow any assault on our sovereignty – that’s the policy. That is unchanged.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Uhum… And it’s not because—this is non-negotiable?

SEC. PANELO: Which one? Of course! You cannot… Sovereignty is never a subject of negotiation.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And, sovereign rights?

SEC. PANELO: Of course. It goes without saying.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Thank you, sir.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, in case we find out that those fishermen, Chinese fishermen were really fishing in our EEZ, what will we do?

SEC. PANELO: That’s speculation.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: No. What will we do?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, speculation pa rin ‘yan. Alam ninyo, mahirap magsalita ng tapos. Hindi pa natin alam eh. Kasi sigurado ang headline, oh ganito na naman… Eh ‘yan ang nagiging problema natin eh. Let’s wait for the facts, and then ‘pag mayroon na kaming ginawa at you feel na mali, oh that’s the time.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: I just want to hear from you, sir. Are Chinese fishermen allowed to fish in Recto Bank? Are they?

SEC. PANELO: Eh masyado namang obvious iyong tanong mo, ang sagot siyempre hindi.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Okay. Of course, thank you.

SEC. PANELO: Pero hindi pa natin alam kung nagpi-fish sila doon. Iyon na nga ang sinasabi ko sa inyo, hindi pa natin alam. Iyon ang—kasi mayroon ngang conflict na mga version eh.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: But you’re saying that they should not be there, that’s correct?

SEC. PANELO: Eh basta’t teritoryo natin, nandoon sila – mali iyon siyempre.
ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Alright, thank you.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Good morning, Secretary. Sir you mentioned the government is cautiously looking into the incident and we are still determining the facts since there are two versions of the Recto Bank incident. Then why did the DFA already file a diplomatic protest kung dini-determine pa pala natin iyong facts, bakit agad tayong nag-file ng—

SEC. PANELO: Iyong protest nila, tungkol doon sa abandonment ‘di ba? Iyon ang pagkakaalam ko, na in-abandon kaya may reaction tayo.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So established fact na ito sir, we believe na talagang in-abandon sila?

SEC. PANELO: Eh, ang kasi dini-dispute eh. Iyon ang problema. They are disputing that, na hindi raw nila in-abandon.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So ba’t nga tayo nag-file, sir?

SEC. PANELO: O eh bakit naman hindi kung iyon naman ang paniniwala ng side natin. Eh wala namang—dinispute lang ‘yan noong after na nag-file tayo, di ba.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Yes, sir. Pero hindi po ba dapat ‘pag diplomatic protest, based on facts?

SEC. PANELO: As far as they are concerned, iyon ang facts na natanggap nila at naniwala sila noon.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Hindi—dapat nag-imbestiga muna ang gobyerno, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, there are many phases of investigation: mayroong initial investigation at mayroong final. Iyong initial kung minsan, baka nami-mislead ka lang.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So our diplomatic—

SEC. PANELO: Kasi ang problema, kung hindi naman tayo nagreklamo, ito na naman iyong kritiko, “Ba’t hindi kayo nagrereklamo? Ba’t ‘di kayo nagpoprotesta?” Ngayong nagprotesta… at may bagong bersiyon, ito na naman kayo. Hayaan na muna natin. Let’s just wait. Let the facts set in and the President will respond to the same.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So you are saying Secretary that the diplomatic protest filed by the DFA is based on initial investigation of the—

SEC. PANELO: Why don’t you ask Secretary Locsin? He made the diplomatic protest. I didn’t.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Are you not regularly apprised regarding this, sir?

SEC. PANELO: No. You have to ask the Secretary, kasi siya ang nag—alam niya kung ano iyong ginawa niya.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Okay.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, last week you issued a statement in which—while you said that the Recto Bank incident is still being investigated, you—the Palace slammed the abandonment as I quote: “outrageous, barbaric and uncivilized”

SEC. PANELO: Yes, because that was what the fishermen told us. Now, it appears that they are disputing that… hindi ba?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Who are disputing what, sir?

SEC. PANELO: O hindi ba the Chinese—doon sa press release nila, sinasabi nilang the Captain did not abandon. They waited until they saw that help is there, saka lang sila umalis.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, and then—and just now, you just said that it’s premature to make any statements since the investigation is not yet final and hindi pa na-conclude sir, correct? Pinapatanong lang po ni Henry Uri, does this mean that the Palace is retracting its previous statement na barbaric, uncivilized and outrageous po iyong pag-abandon sa fishermen?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa rin nga ano ‘yan—the statement applies kung iyon nga ang nangyari.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: So meaning sir, we issued that statement na hindi based on facts? Kasi nga iyong sinasabi ninyo—

SEC. PANELO: Aba’y eh iyon ang report sa atin ng mga Pilipino nating crew eh. So we have to initially believe them, until proven otherwise. Eh since mayroong nagdi-dispute, ‘di medyo tingnan natin kung totoo naman iyong contrary claim nila. Oh until such time, our stand remains.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay, sir. So nandoon pa rin iyong galit ng Pilipinas over the abandonment? Hindi iyon nag-wane kahit na kinukuwestiyon ng China?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, titingnan natin. Ngayon kung totoo naman na mali iyong ating paniniwala, o ‘di we have to do something about that also.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, pinapatanong din po ni Kuya Henry—

SEC. PANELO: Ba’t kasi absent siya? Mayroon pa siyang spokesman [laughs].

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Sir, napag-utusan lang po sir. Baka may show po. Sir sabi po ni Henry Uri: Between the testimony of the captain of the ship of the Chinese and the Filipino boat captain, sino po ang mas paniniwalaan—

SEC. PANELO: Depende ‘yan. Alam mo, hindi tayo—ang mangyayari na naman diyan ‘pag may sinabi kang isang bagay ihe-headline. Hindi dapat ganoon. Let’s wait for the facts to set in. ‘Pag nandiyan na, and then saka kayo magtanong, “ano ang gagawin ninyo, sir? Oh, ayan ang facts.” Until such time, eh huwag muna.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: So, you’d rather not choose to take sides?

SEC PANELO: Hindi pa nga kasi wala pa nga. How can we take sides wala pa ngang facts eh?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay, sir. Last na lang po. It seems to me kasi na parang medyo lumambot ‘yung stance ng Palace kasi before we’re so angry, outrageous, barbaric, uncivilized; now we’re saying na, “teka lang, let’s wait for the facts first.”

SEC. PANELO: No. ‘Yung atin, sabi ko nga sa inyo kanina, ganun pa rin ‘yun. Kaya lang medyo dinispute eh. Now, we want to give us proof na mali kami. Pero kung hindi naman— kung wala naman silang pruweba na mali tayo, eh ‘di ganun pa rin ang stand natin, hindi na mababago.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Ganun po ba ‘yun, sir? Kasi kung may nag-dispute sa’yo kumambiyo ka bigla? Ganun ba ‘yun?

SEC PANELO: Kung mayroong nag-dispute at mayroon siyang pruweba, o anong sasabihin? Kung mali tayo? You mean to tell me we’ll insist on our being wrong? Kayo naman.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Hindi, pero sir, kasi ‘yung abandonment, sir ‘di ba nangyari naman sir?

SEC PANELO: Hindi pa nga—they’re questioning that nga na hindi naman daw sila nag-abandon nga.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Okay, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Oh, ‘di prubahan nila na hindi nga sila nag-abandon.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: ‘Yung sa probe na lang, sir sige, may timeline po ba tayo? Like are we giving the Chinese a deadline?

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Basta we’re going to wait for whatever findings they have. They will give that to us and we will give ours to them.

JULIE AURELIO/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Thank you, sir.

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Okay. Pia and then Joseph. Last two sa China.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, could you tell us why the special Cabinet meeting on the Recto Bank incident was cancelled?

SEC. PANELO: In the first place, there is no special Cabinet meeting on the Recto Bank. Who said that mayroon? Mayroon talagang special—rather, regular ‘yung cluster Cabinet meeting. Now, whether that will be taken or not, hindi natin alam kung anong agenda roon.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Kasi ES Medialdea said that it was cancelled.

SEC. PANELO: Which one?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: The special Cabinet meeting on the incident?

SEC. PANELO: Wala namang Cab—in the first place. Baka—

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: What was there to cancel in the first place, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Wala ngang—wala namang spe—palagay ko, nagkaroon lang ng miscommunication with respect to ‘yung cluster Cabinet. Akala nila Cabinet meeting.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Okay, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Actually, cluster lang at saka regular ‘yun.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, you said that the Palace will be waiting for the results of the investigation. Until then, will Malacanang caution Cabinet secretaries like Secretary Al Cusi from making public statements on the incident? Like, he said yesterday that the ramming of the Chinese boat to the Philippine vessel was unintentional?

SEC. PANELO: I don’t know about that. I have to ask Secretary Al.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: But will the Palace caution Cabinet secretaries from making statements on the incident hangga’t hindi pa lumalabas ‘yung results sa investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko rin alam kung sinabi niya ‘yun. I don’t know—

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: He did, sir.

SEC. PANELO: But I’ll ask him personally.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Do you think sir, that mas maganda huwag muna silang magsalita?

SEC. PANELO: I’ll ask him if he did that, if he said that and why he said so.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: I’m asking you sir if mas okay sir sa mga Cabinet secretaries would not—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko pa nga alam. No, no, no. Again, you want me to speculate—

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: I’m not—

SEC. PANELO: You want me to say something na hindi pa nangyayari.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: I’m not asking you sir to speculate. What I’m asking sir, is do you think that Cabinet secretaries should not talk about the incident?

SEC. PANELO: I’m telling you that if that happens then I’ll give you my answer. Until such time, you will not get an answer from me.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: It’s a completely different question, sir, but still—

SEC. PANELO: That’s my response to you.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Okay, sir. Will the Philippines act on the basis on the results of our own investigations or are we still be waiting for the results with the Chinese investigation before we act?

SEC. PANELO: Both findings will be considered.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Both findings, sir. Alright. Sir, Vice President Leni wants the crew of the Chinese ship to stand trial here in the Philippines. Anong masasabi ng Malacanang?

SEC. PANELO: That’s another speculation. Hindi pa nga natin alam, eh. Ayan ang kasama sa mga premature. Hindi pa natin alam ang facts. So, let’s wait for the facts considering that our initial facts as relayed to us are being disputed.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Last na lang, sir. Sir, how can we assure the Filipinos that the Chinese crew will be held accountable?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa nga natin alam. Ang kulit naman. Hindi pa natin alam kung totoo ‘yung—hindi pa natin alam ang facts. Kapag natapos na ‘yan at nakita nating talagang kasalanan nila oh ‘di siyempre we’ll hold them accountable. In fact, the Chinese government said so through Ambassador Zhao.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: That?

SEC. PANELO: According to them, if they find out that they are at fault then they will be educated and they will be punished for their “irresponsible behavior.” That’s very clear.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Well, on the part of the Philippine government sir, if they be found guilty doon sa nangyari, how can the Philippine government make them accountable?

SEC. PANELO: In accordance with law, we will do that.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Paano, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Kung ano ‘yung batas ‘yun ang susundin natin. Until such time, huwag muna tayong magsalita tungkol doon.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: But there is a mechanism, sir, to make them accountable?

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, there is always—parang ano ‘yan eh, in maritime cases mayroong protocol ‘yan kung papaano how you will file a case, how they will determine kung sino ang at fault.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Thank you, sir.

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Okay. Joseph, Rosalie, and then Nestor.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, remember po ‘yung case naman dati na ‘yung mga Chinese are poaching our mga taklobos, ‘no?

SEC. PANELO: Mga ano?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: ‘Yung mga taklobo po natin. Remember, before we went to China may mga incidents na na-report na ‘yung mga Chinese fishermen ay nangunguha ng mga taklobo natin and we—

SEC. PANELO: Clams? ‘Yung mga clams?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Clams yes, sir. And then si Ambassador Sta. Romana said that China and the Philippines, BFAR also are investigating it. Do we have any update on that case?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. We have to ask the Ambassador kung anong nangyari doon?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The reason why I asked is that because we have several, not naman, incidence of such this nature like this tapos parang we file and then we just forget about it. Is this one of those cases, sir?

SEC. PANELO: No. Let’s ask the ambassador kung anong nangyari sa kaniya. Baka mayroon, hindi lang natin alam.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just to repeat the question. Parang ang terms of avenue ng dispute, do you think the PCA is a proper forum?

SEC. PANELO: What PCA?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The Permanent Court of Arbitration where we won our award that the Reed Bank is within our Special Economic Zone.

SEC. PANELO: I will let the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs respond to that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ito sir, pa-respond lang natin sa Palace because ito po ‘yung sabi nung I think this is the kapitan or the owner. Ang sabi niya, sir, there’s a question—

SEC. PANELO: There’s a what?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: A question sir, and I’d like the Palace to respond and also you. Are we slaves of China?

SEC. PANELO: Anong sabi ng ano? Ng kapitan?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kung slaves daw po ba tayo ng China, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Tinatanong niya?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Uhm.

SEC. PANELO: Sino ang tinatanong niya?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Government, sir.

SEC. PANELO: Baka naman tinatanong niya ‘yung ano—baka it’s a rhetorical question. Siyempre, the response is we can never be slaves to anyone.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Are we slaves to China specifically?

SEC. PANELO: Not to anyone nga eh. That includes every country in the world.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, is it a fair assessment that we are tentative in this—

SEC. PANELO: No.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: No.

SEC. PANELO: We are responsible.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay.

SEC. PANELO: We are cautious, the President is.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Is there so much at stake sa Reed Bank, sir, that’s why we’re kind of treading the water carefully? Because this is a possible—

SEC. PANELO: As I said, the President as a lawyer and as President will have to wait for all the facts to set in before he makes a declaration or any move.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi sir, subject to sa ano ‘di ba potential exploration between the Philippines?

SEC. PANELO: Whatever—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Wala ‘yung factor?

SEC. PANELO: Kasi ang importante ‘yung facts muna. Hindi n’yo pa alam kung ano talaga nangyari.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay, sir

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Okay. Rosalie and the Nestor.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, is the government not considering to put on hold certain agreement with China to show we are seriously concerned about this matter po?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa nga natin alam ang facts eh. Pabalik-balik naman tayo doon. ‘Pag nga alam na natin ang facts at alam natin na tayo ang nasa disadvantage sa nangyaring iyon o ‘di siyempre mayroon tayong mga gagawin to show serious we are in the protection of our sovereignty as well as our countrymen. Until such time, maghintay muna tayo.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Sir, kanina nabanggit n’yo po sir na maraming nagsasalita at marami po ang kumbaga nakikisawsaw sa isyu, sir. Is the President not planning to form a task force para po magkaroon—

SEC. PANELO: Mayroon na nga. Hindi ba mayroon ngang nag-iimbestiga? Ang DND. ‘Yun na nga ‘yun eh.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: So, sila po ang primary na—

SEC. PANELO: Oo.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: —pagmumulan ng Philippine side—

SEC. PANELO: Sila ang nag-iimbestiga.

ROSALIE COZ/UNTV: Okay. Thank you, sir.

MODERATOR: Okay, Nestor.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: Defense Secretary Lorenzana earlier issued a strong statement regarding the Recto Bank incident based on the account of the Filipino fishermen and this was also the basis of our diplomatic protest with China. And you also issued a statement agreeing with the statement of Lorenzana. Is the government now doubting the account of the Filipino fishermen since there is already a Chinese version?

SEC. PANELO: Not doubting but we want to know the facts since there is a contrary claim.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: But, initially we believed their statement kasi doon nagmula ‘yung outrage, ‘yung barbaric.

SEC. PANELO: Siyempre, ‘yun ang unang sinabi sa atin eh ‘di ba? So, that’s why—kung kinuwentuhan ka ba naman ng iniwan ka doon ng ganun-ganun lang, hindi ba siyempre magre-react ka agad. Pero ‘yung ating inirereklamo nagsabi, “Hoy hindi namin ginawa ‘yun.” Ha, o sige nga, show us.

NESTOR CORRALES/INQUIRER.NET: So anong description ninyo noong ano natin ngayon, sir… noong attitude?

SEC. PANELO: That was an initial outrage based on the initial findings. And the outrage continues until such time that we’re proven wrong.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Sir, clarification lang. Sir, if we’re not doubting the fishermen’s testimony, how do we then describe our attitude towards their statement?

SEC. PANELO: Which one?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: If not doubt, sir, what are we—what is our approach to the statements of the fishermen?

SEC. PANELO: Well, we take it as its face value until proven otherwise by other contradicting testimonials and proof.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Not naman with a grain of salt.

SEC. PANELO: Not really. Kasi iyon ang unang sinabi nila eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: They are the victims here, right?

SEC. PANELO: Oh yeah.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: And why?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean why?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Why can you say that they are the victims here?

SEC. PANELO: That’s what they are saying, biktima sila.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, Secretary Pinol asked these fishermen including the captain, iyong cook ng barko. He wanted them to come here to see the President, to meet the President. Do you know that?

SEC. PANELO: No, you just told me.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Are Cabinets allowed to do that – just invite people ‘come to the Palace to see the President?’

SEC. PANELO: Eh baka naman ano lang ni Secretary Pinol yun. He wants to arrange a meeting between them and the President… to arrange a meeting.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Without you knowing, even the Spokesman—

SEC. PANELO: Wala, wala namang masama doon na if you want to arrange meeting between the President and some people feeling aggrieved on whatever matter, di ba. Kumbaga, nag—anong tawag doon? Tumutulong doon sa pamilya, baka gustong kausapin si Presidente. Kumbaga, nag-i-intermediary lang si Secretary Pinol.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Pero any way, is it possible for the President will go there in Mindoro?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. We’ll ask him, mamaya meron sa Sangley di ba?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Sir pasensiya na, sa isa pang reporter namin. Sir, I think it’s the US that said that such incident or any—may qualifier, armed attack on either civilian or government forces of the Philippines could trigger the MDT?

SEC. PANELO: Si Ambassador Kim, iyon ata ang nabasa ko rin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: What do you think of that sir?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung iyon ang nakalagay sa treaty di iyon ang susundin natin; kung iyon ang agreement.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Pero our assessment is that incident does qualify as an—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa nga natin alam eh, ‘yan na naman tayo—

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: I’m just asking sir— [laughs]

SEC. PANELO: Balik na naman tayo— [laughs]

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: I am just asking.

SEC. PANELO: And I am just responding, similarly.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: But you do agree with the Ambassador ‘no na attack—

SEC. PANELO: That’s what the military agreement between the two country say.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: And we—

SEC. PANELO: That’s elementary Mr. Watson.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Mr. what? [laughs]

SEC. PANELO: Patawa lang ako.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Alright sir. If proven na may ganoong incidents na armed, we are free to invoke and we will invoke the MDT?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kung ano ang dapat/nararapat doon sa agreement na iyon, we will do that.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA: Okay.

USEC. ROCKY IGNACIO: Thank you. MPC, no more questions? Thank you Secretary Panelo.

# # #

SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)

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