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In denial? Duterte affirms faith in Panelo: Malaki kita ng abogadong ‘yan, wala ‘yang paki kay Sanchez

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President Rodrigo Duterte fired Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon for alleged corruption in the release of 1,700 heinous crime convicts, including the aborted release of rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez.

But Duterte not only retained Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo, he also went out of his way to vouch for his integrity after being tainted for “referring” the clemency appeal of the family of his former client, Sanchez, to the Board of Pardons and Parole in February
2019.

“I have full faith in Panelo. Hindi ganyan ‘yung tao nagkamali kayo. He has a thriving law practice. Lawyer ‘yang — kumikita ‘yan nang malaki at hindi ‘yan makiusap nang ganun. Lalo na si Sanchez,” said Duterte.

Duterte said it was “natural” for the SAnchez family to turn to Panelo after getting turnded down by BPP in DEcember 2018.

“I cannot sanction anybody here especially a lawyer. I know, alam ko lawyering ‘yan. And if you happen to be sitting as a… Natural maghanap talaga ng tulong ‘yan sa iyo ‘papaano ba ‘to?”

Duterte said Panelo never approached him or whispered for favors to grant clemency to Sanchez who was servng seven life sentences for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and torture and murder of Allan Gomez.

Duterte said Panelo’s meetings with Sanchez’s family was “the consequence of lawyering.”

“Hanap-buhay namin ‘yan na mag-abogado kami noon, may kaso, then he happens to be the lawyer na ngayon naging secretary. Wala mang masama niyang maghingi ng tulong sa iyo,” said Duterte.

“Marami akong ganun. Kung gusto mo, mag-ano ka. But do it in public. If you have something to say, sabi ko you call the media. You state your case and I will answer you. Ganun ako,” he added.

He said there was no conflict of interest because he has no power to decide on the request.

“Eh kung sabihin naghingi ng tulong kasi abogado siya noon, ano bang masama niyan? Ngayon kung sabihin mo, ‘Sige, lakarin natin ‘to. Meron kayong pera? Marami pang naiwan sa jueteng ninyo’. Well, but Panelo is not that kind of guy. Kaya sabi ko I can vouch for his character. I will have to stand by him because it is really the truth and he did what was — or what is right,” he said.

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