MANILA Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday tagged as a 'hoax' a social media meme, which suggested that he was siding with China in relation to the Recto Bank (Reed Bank) incident in the West Philippine Sea.
The fake viral social media meme quoted Panelo as urging the public not to immediately believe the claims made by Filipino fishermen that a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed their boat and abandoned them at sea.
H'wag nating paniwalaan agad ang mga kwento nila. Pwedeng sinisiraan lang ang mga Chinese. Pwedeng nagha-hallucinate lang 'tong mga ito. Ingat kayo sa mga sinasabi ninyo kasi pwedeng kasuhan ang mga mangingisdang ito (Let's not believe their story. There is a chance they're discrediting the Chinese. There is a chance they're only hallucinating. Be careful what you say because these fishermen could face charges), Panelo was quoted saying in the social media card.
Panelo said he never made such a statement implying that the Filipino fishermen were hallucinating.
I strongly dismiss the attached social media card, where I have been purportedly quoted, as hoax, Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo further said the meme puts him, as well as the Office of the President, in a bad light.
We are placed in a position which suggests that we are siding with the Chinese anent the incident of collision in the West Philippine Sea, Panelo said.
There is no official record that would show that I have issued such a statement. Once again, this is a crude and malicious attempt fabricated by the enemies of the State to discredit the administration, he added.
Panelo, meanwhile, stood pat on his initial statement that the Palace will await the results of the investigation of both Philippine and Chinese authorities before making pronouncements.
We stand by our initial statement until proven otherwise. We reiterate our earlier remarks that since there are contrary claims on the recent Recto Bank incident, we have to wait for a proper determination of facts to enable us to respond to the matter appropriately, Panelo said.
In a Palace briefing on Monday, Panelo said the Palace will take note of the findings of both investigations being conducted by Filipino and Chinese authorities.
Both findings will be considered. Let's wait for the facts considering that our initial facts as relayed to us are being disputed, he said.
Panelo said if the Philippines and China have different results of their respective investigations, an arbiter or judge will step in to determine who is telling the truth. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency