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21 Feb, 15 tweets, 5 min read
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador #Panelo insisted that those criticizing President Rodrigo Roa #Duterte’s demand for the United States (US) to pay the #Philippines for hosting American troops should allow the chief executive to “strategize” since it was part of his job.
While acknowledging critics’ right to free speech, Panelo said their sentiments would give the US the impression that there is disunity among Filipinos.

Panelo reiterated that President #Duterte is the chief architect of foreign policy as mandated by the #Constitution
and that President #Duterte can enter into treaties and to make these treaties effective before it goes to Congress for its concurrence.
“Pero during the time na nakikipag-negotiate siya e, prudence and common sense require na yung mga nandiyan sa Senado o yung nandito sa gobyerno ay sumuporta muna kayo kasi nga yung Presidente dumidiskarte, manuevering nga e,” Panelo said in his Counterpoint program.
(But during the time he is into negotiation, prudence and common sense require that those in the Senate and those in the government support the President while he is strategizing, he’s maneuvering),” Panelo said in his Counterpoint program.
Panelo said President #Duterte is only upholding national interest in asking a higher amount of compensation.

“Huwag niyo muna guluhin, huwag niyo muna siraan. Kasi nga pag ginagawa po ninyo ‘yun, siyempre nakakarating dahil ina-announce mo.
‘Yun namang mga peryodista natin siyempre ibabalita rin naman ‘yan. Pag nalaman nila na di tayo nagkakaisa dito, gagamitin nila (Don’t mess it up, don’t destroy it. Because if you do that. Of course, it reaches other countries because journalists report them.
If they find out we’re not united, they’ll use it against us),” he added.

Panelo hit back at a #ManilaStandard editorial for describing his statement that one needs to be elected President before criticizing the administration’s foreign policy initiatives as “silly & childish.”
“If you are really insisting that this President is wrong,o edi ikaw mag Presidente. Kaya lang natin sinasabi na tumahimik muna kayo kasi nga nagnenegotiate e(then you should be President. That’s why we’re asking critics to stay quiet first is because we’re negotiating),”he said.
Panelo said since the US is providing the #Philippines with a smaller military aid compared to other Asian countries, it is only natural for the President to demand more.
“Ang gusto ni Presidente tratuhin tayo ng equal. Tratuhin tayo fairly, pareho ng pagtrato niya dun sa mga ibang bansa na ginagamit ang kanilang mga lugar at binbayaran nila ng wasto. Tayo ang binibigay sa atin, tira," Panelo said.
(What the President wants is that we are treated fairly, just like how he treats other countries whose land is being used and paid for fairly. What they’re giving us is loose change),” Panelo said.
Last Feb. 12, Pres. #Duterte said the US should “pay” the #Philippines first before he reconsiders another suspension of the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement(VFA),a defense deal which gives American troops the privilege to visit the Philippines without visa & passport.
President Duterte ordered the termination of the VFA in February last year after the US revoked the visa of Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa.

He suspended the termination of the VFA in June 2020 due to “political and other developments in the region.”
Last month, the government suspended the termination of the agreement anew while negotiations are ongoing.

(c) PNA/Palace Photos

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More from @PHNews01

22 Feb
President Rodrigo Roa #Duterte has thumbed down the proposal to hold pilot face-to-face (F2F) classes in low-risk areas next month but is open to conduct them by August after the government kicks off its vaccination drive this month, Malacañan said on Monday. Image
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President #Duterte called him on Sunday night to inform him about his decision to reject in-person classes until after vaccination program starts.
“Nagdesisyon na po ang Presidente,wala pa rin po tayong face-to-face classes sa bansa.Tumawag po kagabi ang Presidente sa akin at ang sabi niya ayaw po niya malagay sa panganib o alanganin ang buhay ng ating magaaral at mga guro habang wala pa pong nababakunahan sa bansa”he said.
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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President’s preference not to shift to MGCQ unless there is a vaccine rollout was raised during the ongoing Cabinet meeting.
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21 Feb
President #Duterte decision on VFA hinges on Filipinos’ welfare

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will decide on the fate of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the national interest and welfare of #Filipinos in mind.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said whatever decision the President will come up with should be respected.

The VFA with the United States is a deal to allow the presence of military forces in the #Philippines for military exercises with local troops and humanitarian missions.
An important clause states that US military courts will have jurisdiction over crimes committed by its members as long as they are part of official duties.

Go said President #Duterte, as chief architect of foreign policy, has the prerogative to make decisions for the country.
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21 Feb
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Malacañan on Sunday assured the public that immediate relief and assistance will be given to those affected by Tropical Storm #Auring (international name “Dujuan”).
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To date, Roque said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has relief stockpiles and standby funds amounting to PHP1,204,692,327 in its Central Office, Field Offices and National Resource Operations Center.
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