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Panelo sorry for hurting Hidilyn Diaz's feelings but not for presenting anti-Duterte matrix

Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday maintained that there is no need to apologize over Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz's inclusion in an oust-Duterte matrix in 2019.

In an interview on ANC, Panelo said he only apologized to Diaz for hurting her feelings.

“Madali mag-apologize kung mali ang ginawa mo, pero kung wala ka namang ginawa... ano bang ginawa ko? I just presented the matrix upon the instructions of the President. Wala naman ako kinalaman [sa matrix],” Panelo said.

(It is easy to apologize if you did something wrong, but what did I do? I just presented the matrix, I had nothing to do with its creation.)

“You cannot apologize for something you have not committed,” he added.

Panelo reiterated that Diaz’s name was just mentioned since a certain Rodel Jayme -- whom the government is accusing of producing videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte and his family to illegal drugs -- is following her social media accounts.

At that time when the matrix was presented, Panelo was the presidential spokesperson, a post he held until April 2020 when it was given back to Harry Roque.

Panelo eventually cleared Diaz and blamed the media for "faulty analysis." The oust-Duterte plot signified in the matrix was not confirmed by both the military and the police.

“When a principal gives you a document, it is assumed that it was done [with presumption of] regularity in performing official duty,” Panelo told ANC.

“I am sorry and I am sad to know na nasaktan si Hidilyn. I am sorry for that, kawawa naman. Hindi naman iyon ang intensiyon nung mga gumawa ng matrix,” he also said.

(I am sorry and sad she was hurt, but it was not the intention of those who came up with the matrix.)

Panelo also maintained that he was not at fault and attributed Diaz’s pain to misinterpretation.

“The message is before you feel pain, tignan mo muna kung tama ang sapantaha mo,” Panelo said when asked on what is the lesson to be learned about the incident.

(Before feeling pained, you should comprehend the situation well.)

“Mali ang interpretasyon, ‘yun ang pinupinto ko. Walang dapat ipag-sorry. Nag-sorry lang ako kasi nasaktan siya, pero wala naman dapat ipag-sorry kasi hindi naman siya sinasama eh. Hindi siya kasama,” Panelo added.

(It was a wrong interpretation, and I said sorry since she was hurt, but I do not have to say sorry since she is not being linked to the ouster plot.)

Diaz, a weightlifter, won the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal since the country joined the prestigious sports event in 1924.

In an interview after her Olympic victory, Diaz mentioned that her inclusion in the matrix was one of the many challenges she overcame en route to her Olympic feat.

Before winning the Philippines’s first Olympic gold medal, Diaz also won a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics and a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games. —KBK, GMA News