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Panelo denies contradictory response on ’setting aside’ arbitral ruling: Nag-uusap kami ni Pangulo

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By Prince Golez

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday refuted the statement of Vice President Leni Robredo that he and President Rodrigo Duterte should talk first before saying anything to the media.

Robredo claimed that Duterte’s and Panelo’s remarks about the country’s planned joint oil and gas exploration deal with China seem to say two opposite things.

“Firstly, we talk before I issue a statement. Secondly, the problem with them is that they do not listen to official statements issued by this office,” Panelo told reporters.

“You remember when we were in China, I particularly read the transcript containing the language of the President how he conveyed the message of the arbitral ruling. In fact, that was read again by Mr. Locsin in the Senate, it’s the same message,” he added.

Panelo reiterated that Duterte only meant he would “lay aside for a while” the 2016 arbitral court ruling favoring the Philippine claim over the West Philippine Sea so the 60-40 joint sea exploration deal, in favor of Manila, would push through.

“They are always finding fault to what the President says. When he makes an official statement that is the statement. Now, he speaks of a setting aside, what he really meant was just lay it aside for a while, as he said repeatedly there was an agreement to peacefully negotiate, but we have to talk with other concerns that are mutually beneficial to both countries.

“They are always finding fault to the language of the President, they are not listening to what he has made officially in many statements he made after the visit,” the chief presidential legal counsel said.

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