Panelo retracts statement, saying narco-list didn't come from foreign govt's wiretapping
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo retracted on Thursday from his earlier statement that the government's list of narco-politicians was a product of the wiretapping made by some foreign countries of the criminals in the Philippines.
In a press briefing, Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, said it seemed that his earlier discussion about wiretapping "created a firestorm."
"It's the policy of the government to comply with the law. Wiretapping is illegal in this country, so that's it," he said.
"Now what I was saying was that, if in the course of cooperation between countries like combat terrorism and illegal drug industry information will suddenly thrown into our lap without us asking it ? it's there already - and the information points to a terrorist or a drug lord, then if it is a matter of national security, I don’t think that there's something wrong with that to use the information as a lead," he explained.
Asked if the foreign governments were wiretapping the Filipinos, he said, "I don't know that. That's why with respect to the narco-list, I'm not aware that they provided us."
In a press briefing last Tuesday, Panelo admitted that the sources of information regarding the narco-politicians came from foreign governments, which have the capability to conduct surveillance.
He even cited that the information came from Israel, Americ, Russia, and China as the Philippines was not capable because of its obsolete equipment.
Some quarters, including Senator Panfilo Lacson, hit Malacanang after Panelo said that foreign governments supplied wiretapped information against the supposed narco-politicians.
Lacson, a former police chief, has said any information from wiretaps without judicial order is "nothing but fruit of a poisonous tree."
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano has said his office would release the names of the narco-politicians to guide Filipinos as to whom they should vote for in the May elections. Celerina Monte/DMS