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Malacañang refuted the remarks of Sen. Joel Villanueva saying that the “government is in a state of confusion” over the handling of Duterte administration to the Recto Bank issue.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that “the Executive’s standpoint has been clear and unequivocal: The issue of sovereignty is non-negotiable. Foremost in our mind is to serve and protect the interest of the Filipino people, including the 22 affected fishermen.”

According to Panelo, unless and until the basis of their position has been refuted by contrary evidence, their initial position on the matter stands.

Panelo added that the Palace believes that a fair and impartial investigation is now in order for the government to appreciate the facts of the incident and evaluate its proper course of action on the matter.

The Palace spokesman also asserted that while they understand the sentiments of the Filipino people, but as a government, it must be rational rather than emotional.

Panelo also scored “the hysterical outcry of a number of pseudo-nationalists who have politicised and exploited this latest incident to lambast PRRD anew” adding that “their pretended nationalism is calculated to trigger public fury and gain media mileage.”

“When one makes an appropriate description of a circumstance previously mislabeled, one calls that a clarification. What the members of the Cabinet did was simply to clarify the issue as the circumstances previously unknown surrounding the Recto Bank incident begin to unravel. If after the clarification, the reader cannot still comprehend, then it is his mind which is in a state of confusion as he cannot grasp a simple correction of terminology, or worse he could be intellectually challenged,” Panelo further explained.