By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: The World News

Despite previously linking the now Olympic gold medallist Hidilyn Diaz in a supposed conspiracy to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said the weightlifter's historic win in the elusive Olympic gold “makes Filipinos proud.”

Back in May 2019, Panelo, who was then the presidential spokesperson, was among dozens named the disclosed six matrices which allegedly showed links between several individuals and groups he accused of plotting to "discredit this administration."

But when Diaz emerged victorious in the women's 55-kilogram in Tokyo Olympics on Monday, Panelo said that the four-time Olympian's achievement “serves as an inspiration to all Filipino athletes.”

“Her feat makes us Filipinos proud. Her getting the gold is a testament to the Filipino race’s talent and indefatigable spirit,” Panelo said in a statement.

“It serves as an inspiration to all Filipino athletes that getting gold in the Olympics is no longer a dream but a reality. Congratulations Hidilyn Diaz !!!” he added.

Diaz broke the country's 97-year drought and won the first-ever gold medal for the Philippines after after an overall lift of 224 kilograms — an Olympic record. 

Panelo, however, could not explain why Diaz were listed in one of the six matrices and reiterated that he himself did not made the matrices. 

He added that he was just asked to present it “as is” in accordance to the government’s “constitutional duty to inform the public of what’s happening”. 

Panelo further defended the matrix and stressed that the President has basis to release it and that it underwent “proper validation.”

The former Malacañang spokesman unseemly blamed the media organizations for what he called its “wrong analysis” about the supposed coordinated media plot to discredit President Duterte. 

Back on track, Diaz who was then preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said she was shocked and fears for her safety– on top of that are online trolls who were also going after her.  

"I am shocked. I am concerned for my security as well as that of my parents. My mother is terrified because (journalists) are interviewing her and she has no idea why, " Diaz said in an interview with GMA.