Fishermen said abandoned by Chinese did not ask to meet Duterte: Panelo
Malacanang on Monday said they did not receive any request from the fishermen who were abandoned by a Chinese ship it allegedly rammed their vessel that they want to meet President Rodrigo Duterte.
Last January 16, it was reported Duterte is set to meet with the captain of fishing vessel Gem-Vir 1.
“As far as I know I did not hear any request and there is no invitation,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.
He said there is a possibility but Duterte is still waiting for the facts to come in.
Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol said he is the one who invited the captain and the cook. It was reported the captain declined this.
Asked if Cabinet secretaries are allowed to do that, Panelo said maybe Pinol only wants to arrange a meeting.
“There is nothing wrong with it if you want to arrange meeting between the President and some people feeling aggrieved on whatever matter,” he said.
“Maybe Secretary Pinol is just an intermediary,” he added.
But Panelo said the Philippines “can never be slaves to anyone” as a response to a question of the boat captain over Duterte's silence on the issue.
“The President will have to wait for all the facts to set in before he makes a declaration or any move,” he said.
On special Cabinet meeting on Recto Bank issue, Panelo said the schedule was not cancelled since there is no such meeting set.
“In the first place, there is no special Cabinet meeting on the Recto Bank. Who said that there is? There is special- rather, regular cluster Cabinet meeting. Now, whether that will be taken or not, we don’t know their agenda,” he said.
He added that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea may only have “miscommunication” with the reporter whom he told that the event was cancelled.
“They thought it’s a Cabinet meeting,” said Panelo.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Sunday said there will be a joint cluster meeting between the Department of Defense and Department of Finance that may “likely” discuss the incident.
He said the outcome of the meeting will be reported to Duterte. Ella Dionisio/DMS