Panelo hits Lacson back

August 19, 2019

PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has  denounced remarks questioning if he was a Chinese Embassy servant, following an online post of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

“I take strong exception to the remarks of Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson that I am speaking on behalf of the Chinese Embassy when I shared to the media its ambassador’s reaction in connection with fears about the location of some Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) with Chinese employees near our military bases,” Panelo said.

Earlier in the day, Panelo said he received a text message from Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua hinting China could retaliate in kind and accuse overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) of being spies for the Philippines, after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenaza warned POGOs could become espionage centers.

“Ambassador Zhao sent me a text. He said, ‘What if we also think that your overseas workers are also spying on us. What can you say about that?’” Panelo had said.

Following Panelo’s earlier statement, Lacson in a post on his Twitter account asked: “Presidential Spokesperson or Chinese Embassy Spokesman?”

Panelo said there was “nothing wrong” with sharing the text message from Zhao as it was made to provide context and respond to a media query.