Panelo declines Inquirer.net's apology
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo rejected on Friday the apology made by the Inquirer.net over what he called as "malicious" reporting regarding the case of rapist and murderer former mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna.
In a statement, Inquirer.net said it apologizes for reporting on its social media platform that Panelo wrote a letter to Bureau of Pardons and Parole executive director Reynaldo Bayang recommending executive clemency for Sanchez.
"Inquirer.net posted Secretary Panelo’s clarification upon receipt of his statement on the matter. The updated reports stated that he merely referred the request of Sanchez’s family to Bayang," the online news agency said.
But Panelo said, "the apology of Inquirer.net therefore as worded is unacceptable. It is not sufficient for us not to pursue our intended libel suit against them."
He said it was unfortunate that Inquirer.net first needed a "clarification" before it could rectify and update its reports.
"Truth be told, I did not clarify anything for there was no need for the same. It being very clear that what I made was a simple referral of a citizen's concern to the appropriate agency. It was not a recommendation. Neither was it an endorsement," he explained.
Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, said his rejoinder to the Inquirer.net’s malicious reporting was not a clarification of what the act of referring a letter meant.
"I did not have to clarify. Inquirer.net knew what the said act is and the word 'referral' meant. It maliciously twisted their meaning to put me in a bad light and besmirch my reputation," he said.
He said his "lecture" on the meaning of the English words "referral", "recommendation", "indorsement" and "endorsement" were intended to show to the public why there was malice and criminal intent in the news article.
"I could only hope that this would serve as a warning to all journalists, editors and publications that although freedom of the press is guaranteed by the Constitution. They should still ensure that the words they use in reporting are accurate pursuant to their duty to deliver news that is only truthful and unbiased," he said.
Aside from the Inquirer.net, Panelo also threatened to file libel complaint against Rappler. Celerina Monte/DMS