Panelo says he can also speak on foreign policy
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday pointed out that there is nothing wrong with him speaking about the government’s foreign policy.
Panelo issued this statement as he denied there were conflicting statements between him and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
“Contrary to what some senators claim, there has never been any inconsistency between the functions of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS) as regards matters on Philippine foreign policy,” Panelo said in a statement.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a Senate hearing Tuesday that Panelo has been issuing statements about Philippine foreign policy.
But Panelo said it is also his mandate to speak about foreign policy.
“Consistent with its mandate,” he said, “DFA remains to be the lead agency that advises and assists the President in planning, organizing, directing, coordinating and evaluating the total national effort in the field of foreign relations.”
He said, “it handles the day-to-day operations of our country’s affairs with the international community, as well as its members.”
Panelo, however, likewisr stated: “It is the mandate of the OPS to, among others, inform the public of the statements of the President in order to forestall any misunderstanding or misinterpretation, be they malicious or otherwise.”
“This is of particular import when a matter, which may cover any issue, relates to and concerns the President,” he explained.
He said “media reporters, especially members of the Malacañang Press Corps, recognize this as they regularly inquire with our office about the thoughts of the President on almost every critical issue, knowing that he acts not only as the Chief Executive but also as the Head of State who has control over all departments, bureaus, and offices.”
“Thus, we find it amusing that the DFA and our office are being pitted against each other when in truth and in fact our offices have always acted in a complementary way,” he said.
“Ultimately, it is the President who is the chief architect of Philippine foreign policy, and both the DFA and our office take cues from the orders, instructions and directives of the President,” he added.
“More often than not,” he said the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson “defers to the DFA Secretary when issues touching on foreign policy are raised by persistent reporters, specially when they can not access the latter.”
“It is only when the DFA Secretary has already made a pronouncement on a matter affecting the external affairs of the State that the PS echoes the same or when prior consultation has been made by the PS with the DFA Secretary or when there is a direct instruction from the President to make a statement or to make a clarification on the same,” he added.
Edited by GSG
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