MANILA - Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday defended a "joke" he made during an interview with international media, saying it was simply an "interplay of words" meant to make the journalists laugh.
"I said to that writer, obviously, you did not get the joke, and even quoting me wrong things. There was an interplay of words, even the spelling was wrong," he told ANC's Headstart.
A report by Preen.ph shared this transcript of the recording of Panelo's interview with Karin Wenger, the South East Asia correspondent of Swiss National Public Radio, with local correspondent, Ana Santos:
Karin Wenger: And one personal question: You play piano, right?
Salvador Panelo: Yeah. I play by ear.
KW: Do you have any—
SP: I compose, I play, and sing and dance. But I’m better in bed.
KW: You’re better in bed?
Ana Santos: Says who?
SP: Says me.
AS: How do you know?
SP: Well, when I was still a bachelor, they said I f*ck like an 18 year old. I f*ck my clothes like an 18-year-old. Because I travel a lot.
KW: You f*ck your clothes?
SP: You didn’t get the joke? I wanted you to laugh.
KW: No. I missed the joke. I’m sorry.
SP: Pres. Arroyo was telling me, because I visited her every once a week when she was incarcerated, and one time I went there and she was with her Assumptionista classmates. Apparently, they were talking about me. “Hi, ma’am.” “Hey Sal, they want to ask you one question.” “What is it, ma’am?” And then I sat down. And they said that “You don’t look your age, you look trim, you look strong. What’s your secret?” And my reply was so fast. I said, “Ma’am, I f*ck…my clothes. Because I travel a lot. And so they all laughed.”
In the interview with ANC's Headstart, Panelo asserted that he did nothing wrong in uttering those words.
He said the writers misconstrued his joke and even misspelled his words.
"It should be, ‘I pack my clothes, P-A-C-K.’ They spelled it incorrectly and apparently they didn’t get the joke...When you pronounce ‘pack’ with an F, that’s the joke," he said.
"That’s a joke. I’ve been saying that joke to a lot of people. They just laugh. It’s just a joke and they quoted me incorrectly, spelled the words incorrectly. They wanted to put me in a bad light as well as the President," he said.
Panelo said he and the writers were "bantering" during the controversial part of the interview, and they were talking about "personal matters" since he has already answered the journalists' questions on the administration.
He added the writers asked him "biased" questions regarding the administration, and had their "assumptions and conclusions."
"I told them, ‘I’m telling you this to make you laugh,’ but apparently these writers are obviously anti-administration. They didn’t write about the essence of the interview," he added.
However, Panelo said officials are used to handling people who are biased against the government.
"We’re used to that. People are already biased against the government. They will always chase the tenor and depth of your language (to put the) government into bad light. For almost a year, they’ve been doing that to us," he said.
"Our conscience is clear. We’re doing our job. We’re enforcing the law," he added.