Press Briefing

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

Event Press Briefing
Location New Executive Bldg., Malacanang

USEC. IGNACIO: Good noon MPC; kasama na natin si Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

SEC. PANELO: Good noon MPC members. Before we start, Secretary Ramon Lopez wanted to add some more to the accomplishments mentioned by yours truly in the statement made.

Sabi niya, on the third year of PRRD, the record level BOI approved investment in each year tumaas. It generated jobs for our people and deepened industrialization and manufacturing capacities and upscaled exports. More direct and relevant training, mentoring micro financing and marketing assistance were made available at the grassroots to empower and bring back hope to more micro, SMES nationwide.

Tapos may dinagdag pa siya. He said—ang haba nung accomplishment oh, tingnan mo oh, di matapos-tapos eh.

There was also according to him an intensification of monitoring of prices of basic necessities and prime commodities especially during the challenging times in 2018, to ensure they are within suggested retail prices. More products critical to safety and consumer protection like steel, cement, glass were added to the list stricter monetary compliance to products standards.

Tapos, I asked him, what is our economic agenda for the next three years? How do we sustain the upstream economic growth; what legislative priority bills do we have in mind to further accelerate our economy? Ito ang sagot niya – kasi ito rin iyong tinatanong ng iba sa inyo, kaya tinanong ko siya -“More economic reforms to further strengthen the growth momentum, such as infrastructure development and tax reform, liberalization policies in foreign equity restrictions to attract more investments; revision of the Public Service Act and the Retail Trade Act and the Foreign Investment Act; policy and support programs to develop a competitive industrial sector that supports a progressive, domestic and export agenda; intensify support to MSES and provide more entrepreneurship and livelihood support to the local communities to the grassroots – to the various sectors, out of school youth, OFWs, former rebels, agrarian reform and drug rehabilitation beneficiaries to teach them how to fish; consumer protection, price stability and product standards compliance.”

Now, there has been many request doon sa inisyu nating statement, because according to them, iyong diyaryo kukonti lang nagbabasa, mas marami daw nakikinig, nagwa-watch dito sa ating MPC. That is what they are saying ha. Kaya ang dami kong na-receive nung—apparently, may nagbasa ng accounts. Sabi niya, ‘can you read the accomplishments of the President, para naman we will know all of us here.’ So, I think, I have to read them. Pagbigyan natin—at saka para makita ng mga critics, hindi ko naman maintindihan, parang hindi ninyo nakikita. Ako hirap na hirap na—iyong staff ko maghanap lang ng mga accomplishment bawat isa.

So, let me just read the accomplishments of the President, for the listening delight and pleasure of the critics and detractors, baka you haven’t realized kung gaano kadami na ang ginawa ni Presidente.

Kasi yesterday was the anniversary… 3rd anniversary of the President as the 16th President of the Philippines and as we say res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself; his accomplishments speaks for themselves. Halfway through his term as President of the Republic, the President has attained countless and incomparable feats including but not limited to, one, reducing the rate of criminality to an incredibly low figure; dismantling the illegal drug industry and apparatus with the voluntary surrender of more than a million drug personalities and rehabilitating the victims thereof; initiating strategies and measures to thwart the local communist rebellion from spreading and crushing attempts of terrorism originating from different parts of the globe.

While the President has given priority to the improvement of peace and order in the country, he laid the foundation that will propel the nation to progress and reach new heights with an unprecedented political will, genuine empathy as well as relentless resolve to uplift the general welfare of the people, he signed long pending bills into laws.

There were so many pending bills na hindi napipirmahan kahit nung mga nakaraang administrasyon. What are these: Free tuition in the state universities and colleges; free irrigation to farmers; free internet access in public places; institutionalization of feeding programs for public schools students; universal healthcare program; free medicines and financial support to indigent patients. Going back to this, hindi ba sinabi ni Presidente—magkano binigay niya sa PGH, 100 million a month. Can you imagine 100 million pesos a month and sa Veterans 50 million yata. Wala pang gumagawang Presidente niyan; kaya ang daming nakikinabang.

And then, mandatory PhilHealth coverage for persons with disabilities; huge and unparalleled subsidies in favor of government hospitals, iyon nga ang binanggit natin; increase of SSS pensions for seniors, hindi ba nagkaroon pa ng controversy doon pero he still went ahead; and then the improvements of the wages of government employees, he doubled the salaries of the soldiers as well as the policemen, the jail officers, the fireman. Iyong mga teachers natin naka-abang na rin diyan, dadagdagan na rin.

And then, we have prohibition on illegal labor sub-contracting resulting in the regularization of hundreds of thousands of workers. Oh, hindi ba, hindi ba ito ang naging problema ng ilang taon na, hindi na magawan ng paraan, si Presidente lang ang nakagawa ng paraan nito; and then, for the first time meron tayong establishment of work from home arrangements.

All right, ano pa. Marami pang pinirmahan si Presidente, he signed into laws and proposed measures aimed at reducing poverty, what are these: Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program; iyong Magna Carta for the Poor, to uplift the standard of living of those belonging to the unprivileged class of our society. Ano pa, oh ito habang—even as I speak, the President has directed and has been… there has been distribution of certificates of land ownership award, CLOAs, to thousands of agrarian reforms beneficiaries and farmers. Eh kita ninyo sa Boracay eh, sa likod lang, eh sino ba ang nakinabang doon, di iyong mga natives natin.

He has consistently pushed Congress to legislate for the return of the coco levy fund, na hindi rin nagagalaw iyan ever since, in favor of coconut farmers through a trust fund. Now, ano pang ginawa ni Presidente sa mga overseas workers, he has repatriated thousands of overseas Filipino workers affected by amnesty programs implemented by several countries.

For the returning OFWs, ano bang ginawa niya? They were provided with training and livelihood assistance for their reintegration; an Overseas Filipino Bank, oh never naman nangyari ito ngayon lang sa term ni Presidente. There is now an Overseas Filipino Bank that has been established to provide efficient remittance services, low service rates and profitable offers to OFWs.

Ano pa? The President made the Philippines one of the strongest economies in growth/leaders in the region. How? He changed the business climate that prompted in flocks of foreign investments thereby ushering the golden age of infrastructure in the country with his build, build, build program.

Under his leadership, the Philippines earned the highest credit in our economic history with a BBB+ upgrade from global debt watchers Standard and Poor’s. The President also similarly intensified revenue collection of the government to new record highs including – o heto, palagi nating sinasabi ‘to – the collection of six billion pesos from Philippine Airlines, ‘di ba? Never naman nagbayad ang PAL and yet sinabi lang ni Presidente, “ah ganun, ayaw n’yo magbayad ng landing fees o sige bukas hindi na kayo mag-landing diyan.” And the following day, nagbayad sila.

And then, mayroon pa. ‘Yung landmark settlement ng… remember ‘yung Mighty Cigarette? Magkano pa nakuha natin doon? Forty billion, my goodness! Sino bang Presidente ang nakagawa noon? Kasi they refused to pay excise taxes eh ‘di nakakuha tayo ng I think forty five billion pa nga yata. In addition, the President as head of state, eto, has pursued an independent foreign policy by means of – oh ‘di ba dati subservient sa Amerikano – eh ngayon? Ngayon—

Q: (inaudible)

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi. Ngayon, we are friends to all, enemies to none.

Q: Especially friendly to…?

SEC. PANELO: Sa lahat ng bansa. We are friendly to all countries that will give us benefit. Now, notable effects of which are the return of… Oh, hindi ba, sino ba ang nakakuha ng Balangiga Bells? Sa State of the SONA bumanat lang siya, binalik kaagad sa atin. ‘Yung Canada, anim na taon, oh ‘di ba? Isang banat niya lang bumalik na.

While improving at the same time our relations with Russia, China and those belonging to the Southeast Asian Region, during this time he also strengthened local domestic regions such as ‘yung pag-sign ng Bangsamoro Organic Law, ‘di ba? Walang nangyari diyan, nung naakaraan hindi naman nagawa ‘yan eh. Kaya ngayon iyong Mindanao hindi na an island of promise, it’s an island of fulfillment.

Q: (inaudible)

SEC. PANELO: Now, tingnan mo ang problema natin sa tanim-bala, sino ba naka-ano n’un? Walang nagawa ‘yung previous administration diyan. Tapos kaagad ang tanim-bala doon sa airport, ‘yung mga scam sa airport each after initial [unclear] sa opisina niya. O ano pa? ‘Di ba ‘yung Freedom of Information never na naipasa, o gumawa nga siya ng Executive Order, ‘di parang napahiya ngayon ang Kongreso doon. Tapos, ano pa? He created—o ito hindi pa rin nangyari ‘to, he created that task force for you people, sa media. Oh, ‘di ba? Ano pa? Hindi ba ‘yung red tape ngayon sa gobyerno, mas mabilis ngayon. Ngayon, medyo ‘pag nagpunta ka doon ‘pag sinabi mo lang, “Sabi ni Presidente Duterte bilisan n’yo.” Mabilis pa sa alas kuwatro. Ano pa? Smoking ban. Smoking ban— sabi nila, ‘hindi puwede ‘yan sa Davao lang ‘yan.’ Anong hindi puwede sa Pilipinas? Ayan, ginawa na niya.

What else? ‘Yung gambling casino? ‘Di ba siya ang nag-froze. Hindi ngayon maikalat ‘yung gambling casino samantalang nung mga nakaraang administrasyon eh… kaya wala na ngayong construction of new casinos.

Ano pa? Heto ang matitindi, sino bang Presidente who fired many incumbent military officials and Cabinet members just like that? Si Presidente lang ‘yun! Pati mga kaibigan niya huh. Kaibigan na matalik ito huh. Kaibigan na matalik, mga tumulong sa kaniya, wala sa kaniya ‘yun eh.

Tapos ano pa? Heto maipagmamalaki ng Office of the President, ito lang Presidenteng ito ang sumagot sa lahat ng liham, all letters na dumarating sa opisina ko, sa opisina ng iba. Sinasagot iyan immediately, referred to all— kaya ang daming—alam n’yo sa totoo lang ang daming nagpapasalamat kung lumalabas ako out of town. I don’t even remember them na natulungan pala sila. Ibig sabihin, ngayon lang sila nakakuha ng Malacanang na sumasagot at tumutulong sa kanila.

What else? Marami eh. Mayroon pa nga nag-launch pa nga ng hotline, ‘di ba, ‘yung 911? ‘Yung citizen’s complaint, 8888.

And heto pa – of course, kami ang medyo nahirapan dito – it has reduced government spending by prohibiting the use of luxury cars. Nakita mo naman puro lang kami Innova; hindi kami puwede sa business class, economy. Kapag less than four hours, economy. Hindi lang ‘yun economy, ‘yung pinaka mas mababa pa sa economy. Kung medyo four hours, premium economy. Ngayon, kung gusto mo ng business class magbayad ka, kaya ayan ang ginagawa naming iba. Kung gusto naming makapagpahinga, dadagdagan namin ‘yung ibinayad ng gobyerno. Ayaw ni Presidente ‘yun. Ano pa? May nakita na ba kayong portrait ni Presidente dito?

Q: Mayroon sa baba.

SEC. PANELO: Saan? Siguro hindi sumusunod, pero sa akin wala. Lahat ng mga opisina ayaw niya. Kapag nakita ni Presidente ‘yun, naku magagalit ‘yun. Kasi gusto niya ano lang… ‘yung mga bayani. Isa pa ha, alam bang napansin ko kay Presidente? Ito lang ang Presidente na binibira na, sinisiraan na, hindi nagpa-file ng kaso laban doon sa mga naninira sa kaniya. Tapos here comes si Ressa sasabihin niya, “I’m being harassed, intimidated.” Eh nag-violate ka pagkatapos sinasama mo ‘yung pagka-peryodista mo.

In other worlds, much has been done on the past three years and the Filipino people can expect the same significant achievements if not more in the remainder of the President’s term. And even as the majority of the Filipinos sit and watch in awe of the accomplishments, the best is yet to come. Now we can respond to your questions.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, you mentioned that one of the highlights of the President’s achievement is the pushing for independent foreign policy. How true is Malacanang to this policy especially after the incident last June 9 at Recto Bank?

SEC. PANELO: Alam n’yo ‘yung sa Recto Bank, gaya ng sinasabi na ni Presidente, you cannot just recklessly respond to that by kung ano ang gusto nila – banatan natin ang China. Hindi pa nga natin alam kung ‘yung vessel na ‘yun ay state-owned. Eh kung private vessel ng Chinese ‘yun? O biro mo, can you imagine bumabanat tayo nang bumabanat na hindi natin alam.

In other words, ang Presidente eh very careful pagdating diyan, kasi—‘di ba palagi nilang sinasabi ‘eh bakit naman ‘yung Vietnam, bakit naman ‘yung Malaysia, they assert themselves.’ So anong nangyayari? ‘Di ba nagkakabanatan sila, nagkakapatayan sila doon? Iyon ba ang gusto natin? Is that what we want? ‘Pag nagkaroon ng conflict doon, magkakaroon ng mga patay sa atin; and the President will not allow that. ‘Di ba sabi niya, ‘pag may pinatay kayo, gigiyerahin ko kayo.’ Oh eh ‘di lahat tayo naapektuhan.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Pero sir, hindi ba nagiging selective ‘yung pagpapatupad natin ng independent foreign policy because we’re saying that the President is very careful in giving his statements about China but is seems that we’re— but he was assertive during the time of US President Barack Obama. Bakit hindi kayang ganun din maging ka-assertive in this case?

SEC. PANELO: Iyong panahon ni Barrack Obama, ang reaction niya doon dahil binabanatan siya. Hindi ba, kaya siya nag-react kasi binanatan siya ni Obama nang hindi—binastos siya in other words. Nabastos siya eh, kasi it was an international conference tapos kung bumira siya parang hindi ako head of state, kaya siya nagalit.

Eh ito naman, iba naman. There is an incident. We need to know the facts of the case. Eh abogado ito eh, hindi ka basta bumabanat. Kagaya nga ngayon, anong lumalabas ngayon sa mga imbestigasyon doon? Eh lumalabas parang ordinaryong nautical incident o navigation incident.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So sa pagkakataong ito, sir, hindi rin po ba nabastos iyong mga Filipino fishermen noong iniwan sila doon sa Recto Bank without any help coming from the Chinese?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, iyong pag-iwan sa kanila, kinundena na kaagad natin iyon. Kaya mali iyong akusasyon na pinabayaan natin; kinundena nga kaagad natin eh o nang walang kaabug-abog, binanatan natin eh. We condemned the Chinese vessel’s captain and the crew for abandoning our fishermen, and we will hold them accountable kaya nga tayo nag-iimbestiga para alam na natin kung sino. And ganoon din naman ang Chinese government, ‘di ba?

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So considering this issue an independent foreign policy, do you stick, sir, doon sa statement mo na 9 out 0f 10 iyong grade ni Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: Yes. Definitely, yes. By the way, mayroon nang feedback. Sumagot na ang China.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Ang sabi nila—

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, doon sa—‘di ba, una, nag-offer sila ng joint investigation.

Q: [OFF MIC]

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, nag-offer sila ng joint investigation ‘di ba tapos in-accept ni Presidente, tapos may third party. Ang sabi naman nila, huwag na iyong third party; kailangan tayo lang ang mag-usap doon. Iyan ang recent.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, kanino nanggaling iyong statement?

SEC. PANELO: Ambassador Chito Sta. Romana talked with the foreign ministry. Nagbigay siya ng report.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: And kailan po dumating iyong report, sir? Sa inyo po direkta ibinigay?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, ako, nalaman ko lang kahapon eh.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: How, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko na malaman kung sino ang nag-text sa amin ni—hindi, ako yata ang nag-text kay Ambassador Zhao, “What’s the latest?” Ang sagot niya naman sa akin, sabi niya, ‘May report na, hindi mo alam? June 24 pa iyan ah.’ So tinanong ko naman si—tamang-tama naman noong magtatanong pa lang ako, nag-text naman si ano… basta may nag-text na ito ang report ni Ambassador Sta. Romana. And then he was calling me, pero hindi kami nagkausap. Pero nakita ko na iyong report niya.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: And what was the context of the report, sir?

SEC. PANELO: Iyon na nga. Iyong joint investigation, ang feeling nila, kung mayroon tayong mga separate investigation, then let’s meet. Kailangan mag-create ka ng task force, sa’yo at sa amin. And then, we exchange our findings, and then we decide kung anong gagawin na natin dito.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, just a clarification: Meaning, hindi pumapayag iyong China na magkaroon ng third party facilitator?

SEC. PANELO: Para sa kanila, hindi na kailangan iyon kasi kung magkakasundo na kayo, bakit pa kayo magti-third party. Oo nga naman.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: But what if hindi nagbangga iyong facts na nakuha ng Philippines and ng China?

SEC. PANELO: Siguro ipipilit na natin, ‘Hindi na tayo nagkakasundo, mag-third party tayo,’ di ba. Pero sa ngayon, since okay naman sa kanila …’di ba sabi nila, there’s nothing na hindi natin pagkakasunduan. Kasi ang idi-decide mo lang naman, aksidente ba o sinadya? Number one, sino ba ang may kasalanan? Number two, iyong pag-iwan nila, sino ang accountable doon? Akong compensation doon? Iyon lang naman eh.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, uulitin lang: The Philippines will insist on a third party investigator kapag hindi nagkatugma iyong results ng kanilang investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, kasi kung hindi tayo magkakatugma, papaano mari-resolve. Some independent body, it doesn’t have to be a country; independent body. Pero ako sa tingin ko, kung iyon lang naman ang isyu, kadali lang naman malaman whether it was an accident or not eh. Sa imbestigasyon ng dalawa, they can already determine. Pagdating naman sa accountability, palagay ko napakadali rin iyon. Eh kung aksidente tapos may dipirensiya, kumbaga hindi ka naging maingat kaya ka nagkaroon ng aksidente, oh di you’re liable.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Pero, sir, don’t you think that more than the question of whether it is an accident or not, iyong issue ng abandonment iyong isa sa mga dapat i-settle dito?

SEC. PANELO: Yes, precisely, isa nga iyon. One, iyon nga ang sinasabi ko, nature; number two, kung sino ang may kasalanan; number three, iyon na nga iyong abandonment. Sino ngayon ang mananagot doon? Bakit mo …kailangan you will be accountable to that. Iyon nga ang kinondemn natin from the very start eh kasi iyon ang klaro eh. Now, they’re trying to justify ‘di ba. Sinasabi nila, ‘eh kasi natakot kami.’ Oh bakit kayo natatakot, nakakita lang kayo ng mga bangka, may nakasakay ba doon? Is it justified or not? Sa atin, hindi.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, balik lang po doon sa fishing deal between the Philippines and China. Because the public wants to know kung anong klaseng deal po ito. Mayroon po bang pinirmahan na mga dokumento or is it more of a verbal agreement between the—

SEC. PANELO: Palagay ko walang pinirmahan. Parang ano lang iyon eh, parang nag-usap lang sila. Alam ko kung minsan, ang mga heads of state, may mga word of honor iyong mga iyon eh. Hindi na kailangan na … kumbaga, kita mo, walang—dati-rati ‘di ba, hindi tayo pinapayagan sa Scarborough. They were being shooed away. Nagkakaroon ng mga prakaso. Pero after that, wala na.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Would that be a legally binding agreement, sir, kung napag-usapan lang ng dalawang presidente?

SEC. PANELO: Bakit naman hindi? Ano namang masama doon?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Sir, what was the legal basis for—

SEC. PANELO: The legal basis?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Yes, for the—

SEC. PANELO: To serve and to protect the Filipino people under the Constitution. Article 2, Section 4, it says, “The prime duty of a government is to protect and to serve the people.” The President is doing that. Nakikita niya na kung ipu-pursue mo iyong gusto mo aggressively at sinabihan ka na nga, ‘Baka magkaroon tayo ng problema diyan,’ oh di ina-avoid na niya, dinadala niya sa, ‘Oh di mag-usap tayo.’

Kasi sabi ni President Xi noon, and I was there, he said, ‘Let’s talk about our trade relations, people-to-people, iyong puwede nating pagkasunduan at pagtulungan. Saka na natin iyan, iyang medyo masigalot na usaping iyan.’ Wala namang masama doon.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So, sir, there’s no document to speak of. So how can the public scrutinize itong mga provisions—

SEC. PANELO: Sinasabi na nga niya exactly. Hindi ba sinasabi na exactly ni Presidente kung anong usapan nila. He already said that. Dinetalye na nga kung anong sinabi ni President Xi, anong sinabi niya, ano ang response at ano ang naging epekto.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Don’t you think the President could have been more specific about this?

SEC. PANELO: Specific na nga siya ‘di ba. Sabi niya, “Oh ano, mag-fish kayo diyan, dito naman kami. Walang pakialaman,” hindi ba.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Last na lang, sir. Kasi Bayan Muna is questioning kung bakit ngayon lang, after three years, doon lang ni-reveal ni President Duterte iyong supposed agreement considering na this is a very important for the public?

SEC. PANELO: Bakit ngayon lang? Eh bakit hindi sila nagtanong?

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: For transparency reason, sir, don’t you think the President should have revealed this very important agreement to the public?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, matagal nang sinasabi namin iyan. Kahit ako, sinasabi ko na iyan. Nagkakaroon ng usapan kaya nga okay na doon sa Scarborough eh. Hindi ba? Kahit si Secretary Alan Cayetano noong siya pa ang secretary, sinasabi niya na iyon na nagkaroong ng usapan.

Kasi you know, after that conversation, I think si Secretary Cayetano, kausap na niya iyong … “Ano ba ang gagawin natin dito?” He reported to that eh; and I also mentioned that several times.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So for the record, sir, the Palace has already revealed that there is this deal between China and the Philippines for a modus vivendi—

SEC. PANELO: Iyan ang modus vivendi. Kumbaga, magbigayan muna tayo. Pero hindi ibig sabihin na we will not invoke that pagdating ng panahon.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: So as far as question ng transparency—

SEC. PANELO: Eh ngayon naman—teka muna. Iyon namang invocation, sabi ko nga doon sa inyo, sa ANC kanina, kasi tinatanong ako ni Christian Esguerra, “Kailan i-invoke iyan?” Sabi ko, ‘siguro at the end of his term.’ But you know, there’s nothing to invoke kung nakuha na natin iyong gusto natin. Kasi under the arbitral ruling, mayroon siyang specific ruling na ito ang atin, hindi sila puwedeng pumasok. Eh kung pumayag na sila, nakuha na sa usapan, oh ano pa ang i-invoke? ‘Di wala na.

PIA GUTIERREZ/ABS-CBN: Last na lang, sir. So iyong question of transparency, sir. You said that the Palace has been very transparent that there’s a modus vivendi between China and the Philippines since 2016, tama po ba?

SEC. PANELO: Oo. Ever since naman—kagaya nga ng paliwanag ko, matagal nang sinasabi ni Secretary Alan iyon eh, sa kaniyang mga speeches. Kahit sa akin, tina-touch ko rin iyon sa mga interview na nag-usap na iyan eh, napag-usapan na iyan.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Sec, balikan ko lang po iyong Recto Bank probe. Pero ano iyong preference natin sa investigation, joint probe ba o may involvement ng third party?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, di ba sinabi ni Presidente, okay sa akin lahat iyan, basta gusto ko matapos na iyan at malaman na natin kung sino ang accountable diyan. Wala siyang problema, okay lang sa kanya walang third party, gusto mo maghiwalay tayo ng imbestigasyon, mag-share tayo ng ano. And then let’s resolve.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: So kalian kaya mag-uumpisa itong…?

SEC. PANELO: Since tinanggap na nila, hindi ba ang suggestion nga nila mag-create na ng task force, sa parte natin saka sa parte nila and then mag-meet na.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Kailan po kaya—

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang hindi ko alam.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Pero di ba may advantages din iyong third party, binanggit ni President Duterte iyon di ba kung may findings ka, sasabihin nung kabila, biased—

SEC. PANELO: Iyon naman ay kung meron. Eh kung wala? Kumbaga saka na, later na siguro iyon.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL. STAR: Pero iyon nga, sabi ninyo, we will insist on it, pag hindi mag tama—

SEC. PANELO: Kung hindi magkasundo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So sir, okay game. So as thing stand now, we are going to do simultaneous separate investigation, correct? And then we meet after we finished—

SEC. PANELO: Iyon ang tinatawag na joint, kasi mag-aano na kayo eh… magkakasama na kayo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Talking about our investigation. Are we done with ours?

SEC. PANELO: Di ba sabi ni Presidente, meron na siyang initial report at yung final report inaantay niya.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Who’s going to reconcile the reports of the MARINA and the Coast Guard—

SEC. PANELO: Which one?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Dalawa iyan kasi sir di ba. Coast Guard and MARINA, tapos ibinigay sa DOTR, because they see this as a parang traffic incident or parang—

SEC. PANELO: Meron siyempre iyong final report iyon. I don’t know who will reconcile it. But ang importante, there will be a final report on the incident.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You have seen the report of the Coast Guard?

SEC. PANELO: Tallying all, siyempre culled from all whatever investigation.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: There’s two.

SEC. PANELO: Kaya nga, siguro magkakasundo na sila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You have seen the report yourself?

SEC. PANELO: I have not. Ang basis ko lang iyong sinabi ni Presidente.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And then after we finish, we wait for China to finish theirs?

SEC. PANELO: Hmm. Eh magkakaroon nga ng—pag natapos na, di ba magke-create na ng task force each, and then magsasalubong na sila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, answer lang iyong criticism na baka naman mamaya magmando-mando tayo ng nangyari para it would be—

SEC. PANELO: Ah, hindi, puwede ba sa atin iyon. Alam mo naman ang mga Filipino, hindi naman tayo—mga Filipino nga ano… magagaling diyan pagdating sa negotiation eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon lang mga dates ano—

SEC. PANELO: Saka gaya ng—I will repeat what I said, napakadali lang naman ng isyu eh: one, aksidente ba o hindi?; number two, sino ang accountable? Kung hindi aksidente, di siyempre kung may negligence ka di ikaw; number three, oh ba’t mo iniwan? Sino ngayon ang—ano ang gagawin mo ngay0n sa iniwan ninyo? Hindi naman pupuwede iyong basta mag-a-apologize lang kayo sa amin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hindi puwede iyon, sir, na may apology lang?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Hindi pupuwede iyon. Siyempre—but I trust the assurance by the Ambassador of China when he said na they will not allow that. Kung merong irresponsible behavior, they will impose sanction; trabaho talaga nila iyon. Kasi kung ang may kasalanan iyong Chinese vessel, eh nasa jurisdiction nila iyon, ng gobyerno nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, sa dates lang. Iyon pong communication ni Ambassador Sta. Romana sa inyo informing you and the Palace—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Kahapon ko lang natanggap iyong tungkol doon; pero iyong report yata parang 24 niya sinabmit.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Because Ambassador Sta. Romana talks to his counterpart?

SEC. PANELO: I think so, yes.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, just a few more notes on the medyo macro level sa EEZ. Sir, since there is already parang a consent from the Philippines to allow China to fish in our—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman consent, di ba ang sinasabi ni Presidente kumbaga wag na muna nating gambalain iyong pagpi-fish ng bawat isa sa atin. Iyon lang naman, parang iyon ang usapan nila eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Does that extend to other countries?

SEC. PANELO: Eh ang China lang naman ang nagke-claim ng sa kanila iyong buong South China Sea, iyong iba naman hindi eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So no to poaching from Vietnam, Indonesia, other countries?

SEC. PANELO: It’s not a question of ‘no,’ they are not even going there. So what is there to prevent, if they are even going.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Eh nandoon, sir noong ano?

SEC. PANELO: Alin, saan?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Di ba sabi ni Secretary Piñol na parang they should not have been there, talking about the Vietnamese boats?

SEC. PANELO: Eh kasi—sabi ko nga, for all you know innocent passage lang iyon, dumaraan lang iyon, hindi ba. Eh puwede namang dumaan talaga sa lahat ng body of waters eh.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, iyon lang pong… you were there during the 2016 bilateral ‘no. Ito iyong kinukuwento ni Presidente na nakausap niya si President Xi. Could you be able to recall the way President Xi praised yung response niya to the President saying na I wanna dig all, but President Xi allegedly said—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, hindi ko na maalala iyon. Matagal na eh. Kailangan I’ll go back to the transcript.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Would you know, sir, if President Xi specifically mentioned the word ‘war’?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko na—I don’t think merong—but you know. Somebody doesn’t have to mention war if you really mean war. There are many ways, sabihin mo lang na baka may trouble diyan, di ano pa ba ang ibig sabihin noon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, sir the trouble is our interpretation?

SEC. PANELO: Ang alin?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: The word ‘trouble.’

SEC. PANELO: Eh ano ba ang ibig mong sabihin na may trouble. If you are looking for trouble, sabi nga ni Elvis Presley, you came to the right place. Iyon ang sinasabi siguro ng China sa atin.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, sir, I just wanna be specific. There was no mention from President Xi of the word ‘war’ during the meeting?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko na matandaan kung ano ang sinabi niya. Basta iyon ang—I’m quoting the President as he related to all of us.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Kasi, sir, iyong trouble could also mean—President Xi could say it could be trouble for them also, domestically.

SEC. PANELO: Pareho, ke trouble with them, trouble with us, trouble pa rin iyon.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: But sir, kasi iyong contention is the basis of allowing China to fish was that kind of a specter that hangs over us. Because you know, if we move then this will happen, tama?

SEC. PANELO: The basis is this President doesn’t want to risk the lives of our countrymen in disputed waters. Ayaw na niyang makarating doon, na makaabot pa sa bingit ng panganib. Kaya diplomat ang dating niya, nakikipag-negotiate siya, nakikipag-kaibigan. Hindi ba pag magkakaibigan, iba na ang relasyon ninyo, nagbibigayan na lang kayo, ‘sige na nga.’ Oh di ba? Pero kung hostile ka, oh eh di siyempre palaban kayo pareho, talagang magbabanggaan kayo.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And that will be… iyon pong scenario ninyo na parang mauubos tayo, ganyan, and that will be preceded by—

SEC. PANELO: Kasi alam mo, gaya nga ng sinasabi ko sa inyo—di ba sinasabi nila, bakit ba ang hilig ninyo na gamitin iyong war, hindi makikipag-war sa atin ang China. Ang tanong ko naman: Bakit nakakasiguro ka ba na hindi? Hindi natin alam iyon. Bakit mo pa aantayin makarating doon, eh puwede namang gawan ng paraan na hindi na makarating doon.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Hi, sir. Sir, whether China or the Chinese vessel was fishing at the Recto Bank is no longer a part of the investigation, correct sir?

SEC. PANELO: Kasama ‘yun. Lahat siyempre kasi magtatanong, “ano bang ginagawa mo doon?”

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: Although the President has declared that, “hayaan na lang natin sila in fishing.”

SEC. PANELO: Hindi naman, kasama pa rin ‘yun. Kasi you really have to know why it was there. If they’re really fishing or not kasi sabi nila hindi sila magpi-fish doon, ‘di ba?

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD: All right. Thank you, sir.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, you said na hindi natin alam kung ‘yung China ay hindi tayo gigiyerahin. So we are not sure China whether they will—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Ang sinasabi ko, sinasabi kasi ng mga kritiko ‘bakit ba sinasabi n’yo na gigiyera ang China sa atin ‘pag maging aggressive tayo.’ Kaya ang sagot ko naman doon, ‘o paano mo naman alam na hindi tayo gigiyerahin?’ Bakit tayo maghihintay na giyerahin pa tayo?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: So, hindi siya true friend?

SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily. Alam mo, kahit na magkakaibigan tandaan mo, ikaw ba— tayo lahat ay magkakaibigan, ‘pag ‘yung kaibigan natin inabuso tayo hindi na ba nawawala na rin ‘yung friendship? Mas matindi pa ang away ng magkakaibigan. They become the worse of enemies. The best of friends will become the worst of enemies ‘pag inabuso ng bawat isa ang isa.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, going back doon sa fishing agreement, just to establish the facts. So ito ay walang documentation, it’s only a verbal agreement?

SEC. PANELO: No, iyan ang napagkasunduan ng dalawa and subsequent to that, nakipag-usap na si Secretary Cayeteno at that time doon sa kaniyang counterpart.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, as a lawyer sir, can you enlighten or educate me or us, how could a verbal agreement could become legally binding?

SEC. PANELO: Bakit naman?

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: For example, when China – we assume violation of the verbal agreement – how can we invoke something out of… from the air?

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, kahit sa batas, kahit na verbal eh valid and binding iyon basta mayroong mutual consent ang dalawang partido. Kaya nga agreement eh.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: And we trust that President Xi will hold onto that verbal agreement?

SEC. PANELO: Eh sa ngayon hindi naman niya ginagalaw ang Reed Bank, ‘di ba? Gaya ng pangako niya.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Sir, last point. Do you think the words of the President with regards on how he describes the Recto Bank as a simple maritime incident will not on way or the other affect the result of the investigation of the PCG, Coast Guard and MARINA?

SEC. PANELO: My educated guess is he said that because of the initial report. Kasi si Presidente abogado, hindi magsasalita nang walang basis ‘yan. Maybe that was the initial report, it was a navigation incident. May initial report na siya eh. Hindi ba sinabi niya, “Tinatago nga eh, may baraha ako,” sinasabi niya.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Ayun nga kasi nagbigay na ng ganiyang pahayag ang Pangulo and we are waiting for the final result of the probe. Hindi ba parang ‘yung fear kasi na baka sa pananalita ng Pangulo ay baka—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Siyempre, iyong MARINA will not release a result which is adversarial—

SEC. PANELO: Alam mo, ‘yung result will be coming in from the facts on the ground. Kung magbibigay ka sa akin ng facts na obviously mali, kahit ordinaryong tao kokontrahin ka. Hindi naman ganun ka-simple ‘yun. Kailangan competent evidence ‘yung basis mo at kapani-paniwala.

REYMUND TINAZA/BOMBO RADYO: Thank you, sir.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Secretary, ‘yung—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi mo ako ginising ah.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Bukas.

[laughter]

SEC. PANELO: Hindi. Ginisiging niya ako sa telepono.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Ang sarap ng tulog mo eh, hindi na kita inabala.

SEC. PANELO: Si Chona, si Chona ang nag gising sa akin kahapon.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Ah, si Chona nanggising.

SEC. PANELO: Si Chona ginising ako ang tagal ng usapan namin.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Sec, ‘yung—

SEC. PANELO: ‘Naging banner headline nga eh, ‘yung mga usapan namin.

HENRY URI/DZRH: ‘Yung gisingan n’yo ni Chona?

SEC. PANELO: Oo, ginising ako eh.

[laughter]

HENRY URI/DZRH: Anyway, ‘yung joint oil exploration sa West Philippine Sea, malabo na ba ito, Secretary?

SEC. PANELO: ‘Di ba sabi ni Presidente parang ayaw ng pumayag? Dati, 60/40, ewan ko na ngayon kung ano ng gusto nila.

HENRY URI/DZRH: So, meaning malabo na talaga?

SEC. PANELO: Not necessarily dahil lahat naman ‘yan puwedeng pag-usapan.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Kung hindi ito malabo, kailan ito— may aasahan pa ba tayo rito?

SEC. PANELO: Bakit naman hindi? Sabi nga nga, ‘pag magkakaibigan mag-usap tayo bakit ayaw mo. Dahil sa gusto mo nun, gusto mo. Baka may reason siya… pag-usapan natin.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Pero payag ba tayo doon sa 60-40, Secretary?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ba iyon yata ang hiningi ni—hindi ko alam kung hiningi iyon o whatever. Hindi ko nga alam kung alin iyong 60, alin iyong 40.

ENRY URI/DZRH: So do you think mangyayari pa ito within this administration?

SEC. PANELO: Puwede iyan, lahat iyan puwede. Eh nag-uusap, magkaibigan nga eh. Magkakaibigan, supposed to be magkakaibigan eh di tingnan natin.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Walang initiative na dahil lang doon sa banta ni President Xi Jinping, wala na tayong initiative; hindi na tayo gagalaw para mag-explore ng langis?

SEC. PANELO: Ano bang hindi, eh di ba katakut-takot na nga ang galaw natin. Kita mo we’re receiving benefits, wala namang hinihingi sa atin ang China. Sabi nga kahit isang palito hindi humingi ang China doon sa mga binigay.

HENRY URI/DZRH: Hindi, what I mean iyong exploration doon sa langis—

SEC. PANELO: Ah hindi. Iyong exploration pag-uusapan pa iyan. Siyempre formal, sa table pag-uusapan natin. Magdo-joint ba tayo o what?

HENRY URI/DZRH: So hindi tayo gagalaw hanggang hindi sila sumasang-ayon?

SEC. PANELO: Ng alin?

HENRY URI/DZRH: Na mag-explore tayo ng langis? Iyon ang malinaw doon?

SEC. PANELO: What do you mean hindi gagalaw?

HENRY URI/DZRH: Walang exploration na mangyayari as part of our initiative.

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una, wala tayong resources. Ikaw naman, kaya nga tayo… the reason why we need joint ventures and joint agreements with other countries is because wala tayong kapasidad. That’s the reason why.

Siyempre, iyon namang hihingian mong bansa, gusto siyempre, ‘Gagamitin mo iyong aming mga equipment diyan, ang lagay eh, kailangan kikita rin kami.’ Iyon ang pag-uusapan.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, you mentioned na kapag magkaiba iyong findings ng Philippines and China, the Philippines will insist on a third party to resolve the issue. What if China refuses na magkaroon pa rin ng third party? How are we going to resolve the differences?

SEC. PANELO: Unang-una sa tingin ko, hindi magkakaroon ng disagreements, serious disagreements. Kasi sinabi na nila na kailangan ma-resolve na natin ito. Nasisira ang relasyon natin dahil dito eh, kailangan ayusin na natin ito.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: You’re saying, sir, na even—

SEC. PANELO: At saka iyong sinasabi mong insist, hindi tayo mag-i-insist; isa-suggest natin. Kung halimbawa, hindi tayo magkasundo, ‘Puwede ba humanap tayo ng third party.’ Pero sabi nga nila, ‘we don’t need that. There’s nothing that we cannot resolve.’ We have to—gusto rin nilang tapusin na eh. Kumbaga, long playing na ito eh.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Pero, sir, if in case magkaroon ng magkaibang resulta ng investigation—

SEC. PANELO: Nag-i-speculate na naman tayo. Ang hilig natin kasi sa speculation. Hintayin na lang natin. Kapag nagkaroon ng disagreement, oh di sabihin natin, “Anong gagawin natin dito? Maggigiyera na lang tayo o ayusin natin ito?”

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, are we saying na ang possibility is parehas ang resulta ng investigation ng Philippines and China?

SEC. PANELO: If you’re talking again of possibilities, lahat iyan ay posible. Basta hintayin na lang natin dahil maganda na iyong… ‘di ba, maganda na kasi nag-offer sila, tinanggap natin. Tapos mayroon tayong counter, sinabi naman natin, ‘Ito naman iyong amin.’ Oh ‘di ba, umuusad ang usapan, may progress.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, doon ba sa message ng China, sir, was there any mention of a timeline kung kailan nila possibly matatapos iyong investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Wala, walang sinabi.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: How about the Palace side, sir, are you eyeing a particular time na dapat within this—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi, dapat immediately. Since they are suggesting creation of task force, dapat mag-create na tayo ng task force. In fact, I intend to tell the President, pagdating mamaya sa Cabinet, I will tell him—sabihin ko sa kaniya, ‘Ito na ang report, Mr. President.” Siguro we have to create na the—o for all I know baka nag-create na, hindi ko alam.

JOYCE BALANCIO/DZMM: Sir, task force, joint task force? Kumbaga composed of—

SEC. PANELO: Task force natin, task force nila and then magku-combine.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, when will the Palace release the result of the investigation?

SEC. PANELO: Kapag andiyan na iyong final result.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Eh di ba sabi ni President last week that he has the report already?

SEC. PANELO: Tanungin ko siya mamaya sa Cabinet meeting.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: How about, sir, iyong Chinese investigation, will the Palace make it public kung ano iyong resulta ng—

SEC. PANELO: I’m sure ilalabas nila iyan. Kasi magkakaroon nga ng task force ‘di ba, and then they will discuss, they will meet. Ilalabas nila iyon.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, iyong task force, can you expound on that, anong—

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Basta ang nabasa ko sa report, task force from their side, task force from this side. And then they will meet and share their findings, and then resolve all the issues raised.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Pero, sir, ‘di ba mayroon tayong task force on the West Philippine Sea, kay Secretary Esperon?

SEC. PANELO: Baka iba pa iyon. Iba naman iyong task force nila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Ah so separate doon sa existing. It’s a new one.

SEC. PANELO: Oo, magki-create ka ng bago.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, very quick lang. Ano lang po ang magiging focus ng Cabinet meeting later?

SEC. PANELO: Mayroon na ba akong kopya? Wala pa eh. Wala pang binibigay na agenda.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Will you discuss the issue on Recto Bank, sir? EEZ?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi ko alam. Kasi usually dini-discuss lang kung ano iyong nasa listahan. But ako, I will personally, I will ask him kung ano nang gagawin natin doon sa report; kung may ginawa. At saka I will ask also Secretary Locsin, kasi 24 pa na-receive eh.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Do you still expect, sir, Secretary Piñol to attend the Cabinet meeting later?

SEC. PANELO: Oo. Hindi pa naman tinatanggap ang resignation niya; the President has not accepted his resignation. Courtesy resignation lang naman iyon eh.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So hindi pa ina-accept ni Presidente?

SEC. PANELO: Hindi pa. ‘Di ba sinabi ni Presidente, I will ask Mr. Murad kung okay sa kanila.

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Sir, super out of—

SEC. PANELO: Super ano?

JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Off tangent, sir. Sir, mayroon pong report iyong COA, reminder to the OP to use and to have a plan to use the 1.4 billion fund donated by Benpress. Parang nasa Treasury pa rin daw po iyong pera, and COA wants the government to utilize it for projects.

SEC. PANELO: Eh hindi naman ganoon ka-simple kasi iyong paggamit ng pera. ‘Di ba may mga protocols doon, kasi kailangan mayroon ka pang batas. Para gamitin mo iyong isang pera na nasa Treasury, hindi mo naman basta kukunin iyon.

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

SEC. PANELO: Thank you.

##

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

 

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