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‘Dream on,’ UK group told

About foreign investments. He’s wrong with his claim. Our economic managers are definitely saying that we have good investments.

Francis Wakefield



Wishful thinking!

This was how the Palace junked the claim by a London-based think tank that more foreign investors may come in the Philippines should Vice President Leni Robredo replace President Rodrigo Duterte.

“First and foremost, that is wishful thinking,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and spokesman Salvador Panelo declared in a broadcast interview.

Panelo said that such a pronouncement from Capital Economics is tantamount to interference to the country’s internal affairs.

“They are once again interfering in our sovereignty and to our countrymen who overwhelmingly voted for him. They are meddling in our government’s policy,” Panelo added.

The presidential spokesman stressed that the Philippines has a good foreign investments record under the leadership of Mr. Duterte — debunking claims by Capital Economics senior Asia economist Gareth Leather.

“About foreign investments. He’s wrong with his claim. Our economic managers are definitely saying that we have good investments, most especially in foreign investments,” Panelo said.

He cautioned Robredo to be watchful of those who are feeding her with advises.

“That’s why we are telling VP Leni to be careful with accepting a piece of advice from others, which you think can help you, but truth is would just destroy her,” he added.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that foreign direct investments registered a net inflow of $543 million in July 2019.

For the first seven months of 2019, long-term equity net inflows totaled $4.1 billion.

In a report titled “Duterte health worries, Sri Lanka election” and published on 15 November, Leather claimed that there was a downtrend in foreign investments since Duterte assumed presidency in 2016.

Leather said while Robredo has scant knowledge about economic policies, “a change in president would probably be welcomed by investors.”

Dangerous grounds

Relatedly, Panelo said the Vice President could be treading on dangerous grounds if she will reveal state secrets to foreign individuals and entities, as well as welcoming those who have trampled on the country’s sovereignty.

Panelo made the remark after the President stated that disclosing classified information will cause the removal of the Robredo as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

He explained the President’s statement was predicated on the Vice President demanding access to all documents inclusive of classified data related to the government’s program on the illegal drug trade, including its funding and high-value targets.

Panelo also cited Robredo’s move inviting even United Nations personalities who have described the country as “murderous.”

He said even the prosecutor of the rejected Rome Statute International Criminal Court that has no jurisdiction over the country has been welcomed by Robredo.

“She may not realize it but she could be treading on dangerous grounds. It could be an overreach of the granted authority, hence the reminder. Any appointment made by the appointing authority must be exercised strictly in accord with law and never diametrically opposed to the interest and security of the State,” Panelo said.

“Revealing state secrets to foreign individuals and entities, as well as welcoming those who have trampled the country’s sovereignty, would be damaging to the welfare of the Filipino people, not to mention that under Article 229 of the Revised Penal Code, such revelation of privileged information is a crime, which has perpetual special disqualification from office, among its penalties,” he added.

ICAD chairman and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Undersecretary Aaron Aquino questioned Robredo’s motive in asking for the list of high-value targets of the government in the campaign against illegal drugs.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra echoed Panelo’s statements, stressing that revealing state secrets to unauthorized persons is betrayal of public trust.

“Needless to say, disclosing sensitive and classified information to unauthorized persons is betrayal of trust, and is therefore a proper and reasonable basis for revocation of one’s appointment,” said Guevarra, who is a member of ICAD.

With Alvin Murcia

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