MANILA- Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo laughed off on Thursday Solicitor General Jose Calida’s encounter with a reporter, saying it was only a “joke” of the government’s top lawyer.
Calida on Monday singled out ABS-CBN reporter Mike Navallo, who covers the justice beat, after the former filed a petition to void the media company’s franchise at the Supreme Court.
“Baka naman repartee lang ‘yun, parang pakwela niya lang yun. Parang ako din yun pag minsan...Joke lang ‘yun,” Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, told reporters.
(Maybe that’s just a repartee, like a funny remark. Sometimes I do that too. That was only a joke)
Calida on Monday asked whether Navallo was a lawyer and quipped: "Lagi mo akong binabanatan. Abogado ka rin pala e."
(You always criticize me. You're a lawyer, too.)
“Ganun lang ‘yun, baka lang he woke up on the wrong side of the pillow,” Panelo said.
Reporters covering the Justice beat meanwhile criticized Calida’s actions on Wednesday, saying it is an “affront to our constitutional right to report.”
“We believe that such veiled threats to reporters, especially when coming from a government official, have no space in a democracy,” the Justice and Court Reporters Association said.