Panelo junks Nograles, Locsin remarks on Duterte-Xi verbal deal: Wala naman sila dun!
By Prince Golez
The understanding of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed verbal agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the West Philippine Sea was incorrect, a Palace official said.
“Ano pa nga ba? Kasi hindi yun ang sinasabi ni Presidente. But, they are entitled to their interpretation. Kung yun ang intindi nila, ano ang magagawa natin,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a media briefing on Thursday.
Panelo stressed he was just echoing Duterte’s position that the Philippine government would not prevent Chinese nationals from fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“Very clear na ang sinabi ni Presidente. Kinuwento niya exactly what transpired. Tapos lami namang nakarinig, sinabi namin na narinig namin yun. Ano pa ang dapat i-clarify. Yung dalawa (Nograles and Locsin) naman wala naman doon,” the chief presidential legal counsel added, referring to the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Xi in 2016.
But, Panelo said Nograles and Locsin, who both agreed that the Duterte-Xi verbal fishing deal was not enforceable and legally binding, are entitled to their own interpretation of the agreement.
“Sabi ko nga yun ang kanilang basa. Bakit ko naman pagpipilitan kung ano yun. Basta ang pagpipilitan ko lang ang position ni Duterte. If that’s how they read and interpret ang sinabi ni Presidente they are entitled to that,” he added.