Panelo insists he did not link Hidilyn Diaz to plot to overthrow Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday insisted he did not say Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz is part of an alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
This even if it was him who made public in 2019 six matrices of what he described as a network of personalities, which included Diaz, that purportedly wants to overthrow the Duterte administration.
In a statement, Panelo again blamed the media for “hastily” concluding that the government tagged Diaz as part of the destabilizers.
He offered this same excuse in 2019 when he was pressed by the media to explain the inclusion of Diaz and star volleyball player and TV host Gretchen Ho in one of the matrices he showed to the media during a Palace briefing.
According to him, the matrices only showed Diaz as she was being followed in social media by a certain Rodel Jayme who uploaded the viral “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos that linked Duterte’s family and close allies to the illicit drug trade.
Back then, he said he could not explain why Diaz and Ho were on the list, adding that he did not make the matrices as he was just asked to present it “as is” with no explanation.
He faulted the media for its “wrong analysis” of the “Oust Duterte” diagram he presented.
“When reporters noted the name of Ms. Diaz in the matrix two years ago and hastily concluded that the government is declaring her to be part of an ouster plot against the President, I immediately issued a statement averring otherwise,” he said Tuesday.
Panelo also denied linking Diaz to illegal drugs, slamming a social media card quoting him as saying that the athlete was part of a drug list.
“It is disturbing to witness certain quarters attempt to cause division among us, Filipinos, at a time when we should be collectively rejoicing for the Philippines — through the hardwork and determination of Ms. Hidilyn Diaz — historically secured its first Olympic gold medal last night,” he said.
“These selfish people, claiming that it is only them who have the right to celebrate our country’s victory, say that supporters of the government should disassociate themselves from the feat even as they stooped so low by creating a social media card which falsely attributed remarks against Ms. Diaz to me.”
“It is truly disheartening that there are people who seek to take the limelight out of Ms. Diaz’s recent triumph and convert it into a political skirmish of who should and should not celebrate our country’s win,” he added.
Panelo was the official mouthpiece of Duterte. Diaz expressed shock over her inclusion in the alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government.
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