Panelo on release of note verbale vs China: Take the word of public officials
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Wednesday thumbed down the release of the note verbale filed against China, urging the public to just “take the word of the public officials.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that the protest will not be made public.
Locsin’s pronouncement raised doubts on the existence of the protest after Panelo, in a Palace briefing on Monday, said government has already filed a note verbale against China only to clarify a day later that such protest is just “on its way.”
“Naghahanap lang nang mapupuna iyong mga iyon. They should take the word of the public officials – sinabi na naibigay eh,” Panelo said in an interview over dwFM.
In a tweet, opposition senatorial bet and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said a “secret protest” on China’s deployment of hundreds of its fishing vessels near the Manila-occupied Pag-asa Island is “useless.”
Yesterday, I said we cannot trust Sec. Panelo's claim that a diplomatic protest was filed. True enough, no such protest was ever filed. Which means he lied. Now they say they 'will' file a protest, but won't publicize.
A secret protest is useless. https://t.co/GZ9V696MbWADVERTISEMENT
— Pilo Hilbay (@fthilbay) April 2, 2019
Panelo, who is also the chief legal counsel of President Rodrigo Duterte, explained that he was just quoting the Western Command when he initially said the Department of Foreign Affairs has already filed a note verbale.
“Ang sabi ko, iyong unang statement ko sang-ayon sa Western Command. Siguro they were assured na magpapadala na ng protesta kaya sinabi niyang okay na. Sinabi naman ni Locsin, on the way na – oh di nagpadala na nga,” he said.
The Palace official, however, said the government has already made its position “very clear.”
“Hindi kayo pupuwede diyan, umalis kayo diyan sapagkat you’re encroaching on our territory. Ganoon lang kasimple,” he said. /muf
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