Panelo sees "desperate move" to taint legitimacy of "oust Duterte matrix"
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo accused on Friday some members of the media for "tweaking" his statement regarding the supposed source of the "oust Duterte matrix" and the seeming "desperate move" to taint the legitimacy of the matrix.
In a statement, Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, said he stood by his April 22 statement during a press briefing that the matrix, which he showed to the media, came from the Office of the President, "from the President himself," contrary to the reports of some members of the press who "tweaked" his statement during the May 2 press briefing that he did not know the source of the matrix which was just sent to him via a text message by "unknown" number.
"It is extremely ludicrous that some members of the media tweaked my statements made in the course of the press briefing yesterday, May 2, putting the impression that there was a backtracking of my original announcement that the source of the matrix is President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," he said.
He said he never backtracked or flip-flopped from his April 22 statement.
"Let us be clear on this once and for all: The source of the matrix is the President, who called me with the instruction to touch and discuss it during the press briefing on April 22. A matrix was thereafter forwarded to my phone, obviously upon instruction of the President," he said.
"The number of the sender of the diagram is not listed in my phone directory. Regardless from whatever number it was sent, I can assure that the matrix sent to me came from the President. The sender must be one of the staff in the Office of the President. Considering as well the fact that the President did not correct or rectify what was released only means that it was the matrix being referred to by the President," Panelo explained.
During the May 2 briefing, the media pressed Panelo as to where the matrix that he showed during the press briefing came from, he repeatedly said, "I don't know," adding the number was not registered in his phone directory.
He did not mention that the matrix sent to him via text came from the Office of the President.
Panelo also insisted that the matrix that was first published by The Manila Times, a company owned by Dante Ang, Duterte's special envoy for international public relations, and the one sent to him was "one and the same."
"Our office has access to a clearer matrix that can also be obtained online apart from what was published in the Manila Times, and we decided to use that one instead of printing the one sent to my phone which was unclear," he said.
As to the issue on the verification process, Panelo reiterated he was not part of the team which obtained the information that led to the crafting of the matrix "and thus, talking about and explaining the same would only amount to hearsay."
"It appears that there is a desperate move to taint the legitimacy of the subject matrix. We will let them be. As for us, it is our duty to inform the public, for they have the right to know, that there are plans to overthrow the President and that we will protect him and this Administration to make good our vow to the electorate of delivering genuine and meaningful change to the citizenry," he added.
The matrix contain the names of some organizations and individuals, such as journalists and lawyers, who were alleged conspiring to oust Duterte. Celerina Monte/DMS