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Duterte still ‘open to reconciliation’ with Reds, says Panelo

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte, despite the suspended peace talks with the country’s communist groups, is still “open to reconciliation,” according to Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo. “Definitely the President always — his mind is always open to reconciliation. As he said, hindi pupuwedeng tayong mga Pilipino ang nagpapatayan (it should not be that Filipinos are killing fellow Filipinos),” Mr. Panelo said in a press briefing at the Palace on Tuesday, Oct. 16. He stressed, however, that resuming the peace negotiation is not yet possible at this time as members of the communist panel have failed to abide by agreed terms in previous talks. He said the President feels there is no sincerity on the part of the communist leaders. On the possible destabilization plot in December, Mr. Panelo said, “Most likely. But you know, hindi naman ako magtataka na palaging mayroon (I am not surprised that there is always a) plot, because that is precisely the rationale of the creation of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to oust the present government… Eh 50 years na nilang pinaplano pero so far nabibigo naman sila (They have been planning in the last 50 years, so far, they have failed).” — Arjay L. Balinbin

Panelo defends melee in Go COC filing

MALACAÑANG ON Tuesday defended former special assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence T. Go for violating the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) ‘four-companion only’ rule when he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) last Monday, accompanied by President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself and other top administration members. Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo, in a press briefing at the Palace, initially blamed the Comelec saying it should have “anticipated” such situations. Mr. Panelo then backtracked, “…eh biglang dumating ang Presidente (well, the President suddenly arrived). So I think, you cannot blame any side.” He also denied that Mr. Duterte was “using the government resources” when he escorted his former aide to the Comelec. He said the President, “as a citizen of this country, has the right to endorse and to make a choice kung sinong tutulungan niya (as to whom he will support).” — Arjay L. Balinbin

De Lima asks judge to inhibit from her case

THE CAMP of Senator Leila M. De Lima has asked Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 Judge Lorna Navarro-Domingo to inhibit herself from the drug case against the legislator due to her “manifest bias, partiality and acts of prejudgment” during the trial. In a motion for prohibition submitted on Monday, Ms. De Lima’s camp cited the instances wherein Ms. Domingo prematurely ruled against the senator on the motions filed during the course of the trial. These actions, according to the senator’s camp, have violated Ms. De Lima’s right to due process. The motion will be submitted for consideration and resolution on Oct. 23. Ms. De Lima has previously sought the inhibition of another Muntinlupa RTC judge, Juanita Guerrero of Branch 54, last year, citing partiality as well. Earlier this year, Ms. Guerrero has inhibited herself from the case. — Camille A. Aguinaldo