Panelo stands by the validity of alleged ouster plot matrix, clarifies copy came from OP

Published May 3, 2019, 6:47 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Genalyn Kabiling

The matrix on the alleged ouster plot against President Duterte came from the Office of the President and went through proper vetting prior to its release, Malacañang clarified on Friday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo explained that the President was “a man of intellect” who would not order the release of any information if there was no validation.

“Knowing the President, however, as a man of intellect and a probing and thinking Chief Executive, he will not order the release of any information without proper vetting,” he said.

“This is clear when I said during the April 22 briefing that the President will not order the release of anything if he has not validated the same,” he added.

A day after admitting he received a copy of the matrix from an unknown text sender, Panelo now claimed that the source of the document was the President himself. He said the sender “must be one of the staff in the Office of the President.”

Before the Palace official received the text message, the President talked to Panelo about the alleged ouster plot and told him to tackle the issue in his April 22 press briefing at the Palace. The ouster plot against Duterte supposedly involved media practitioners and other personalities.

“Let us be clear on this once and for all: The source of the matrix is the President, who called me with the instruction to touch and discuss it during the press briefing on April 22,” Panelo said.

He said the matrix was then forwarded to his phone “obviously upon the instruction of the President” although the mobile number was not listed on his phone directory.

“Regardless from whatever number it was sent, I can assure that the matrix sent to me came from the President. The sender must be one of the staff in the Office of the President,” he said.

“Considering as well the fact that the President did not correct or rectify what was released only means that it was the matrix being referred to by the President,” he added.

Last Thursday, Panelo revealed that he received a copy of the oust-Duterte matrix from an anonymous sender through text message. He assumed the matrix mentioned by the President and the copy he received via text was the same since Duterte did not dispute the information disclosed in last week’s press conference.

In his statement Friday, Panelo however strongly denied that he backtracked from his earlier announcement that the matrix came from the President.

He said it was “extremely ludicrous” that some members of the media “tweaked” his statements in the May 2 press briefing that put the impression that he was backtracking from his statement.

Panelo also justified his decision to use the matrix posted online by the Manila Times to get a clearer photo. He claimed that the copy of the matrix he received though text as well as that of the matrix published by the newspaper was “one and the same.”

“Our office has access to a clearer matrix that can also be obtained online apart from what was published in the Manila Times, and we decided to use that one instead of printing the one sent to my phone which was unclear,” he said.

Unfazed by alleged attempt to undermine the matrix, Panelo said they have a duty to inform the public about the alleged plot to unseat the President.

“It appears that there is a desperate move to taint the legitimacy of the subject matrix. We will let them be,” he said.

“As for us, it is our duty to inform the public, for they have the right to know, that there are plans to overthrow the President and that we will protect him and this Administration to make good our vow to the electorate of delivering genuine and meaningful change to the citizenry,” he said.