Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte’s designated spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, stated that the incoming administration guarantees justice for the 58 victims involved in the grisly massacre, which was allegedly led by the Ampatuan family members.
Panelo also took the chance to defend himself against critics who spoke of his ineligibility to be the incoming President’s spokesman during the vote canvassing at Batasang Pambasa due to his involvement in the trial where he defends the Ampatuans.
Panelo stressed that it is a lawyer's professional obligation to defend his client, innocent or not.
“Hindi ka puwedeng mamili eh. Basta nakalagay sa Saligang Batas na may karapatan ang lahat ng akusado. Pinagpapalagay kang inosente,” he said. ("You can't choose, the constitution guarantees every accused person's right to legal counsel and the due process of law. You are presumed innocent")
Due to personal reasons, Panelo also stated that he is no longer in the position to protect the Ampatuans in the said case.
During the later part of the election campaign, Atty. Panelo played the role of president-elect Rody Duterte's lawyer and spokesperson during Senator Antonio Trillanes' propagandic assault towards Duterte claiming that he had ill-gotten wealth.
Salvador Panelo was also the defense lawyer of Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Denise Cornejo- the woman who allegedly conspired to extort money from actor Vhong Navarro.