Carpio, Panelo chitchat at IBP convention in Iloilo: How to invade China?

MANILA, Philippines – After the exchange of stinging words, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio found themselves engaging in a “small talk” Thursday morning at a conference in Iloilo City.

Incidentally crossing paths during breakfast at a hotel, Carpio said he and Panelo had a small talk that included “how to invade China.”


Carpio and Panelo – fraternity brothers in the Sigma Rho Fraternity – were in Iloilo City for the 17th Integrated Bar of the Philippines National Convention. Carpio and Panelo were among the guests who stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo.

“We just happened to meet at breakfast since we’re staying in same hotel. He is a fraternity brod, and we engage in the usual small talk, like what he said – how to invade China,” Carpio said in a text message to

Sought for clarification, Panelo noted he said in jest.

“How to invade China is a joke, we both made it up to make the reporters who will ask us to laugh. We just exchanged pleasantries. We are friends and fraternity brods in the Sigma Rho Fraternity in UP Law,” he said in a text message.

READ: Panelo, Carpio all smiles after word war on China loan

In an interview in Iloilo, Panelo said he was a senior of Carpio in the Sigma Rho Fraternity. He said he belonged to Class of 1971 while Carpio belonged to Class 1975.

“We’re frat brods. Barkada ko ‘yon (We are part of a group of friends),” Panelo told the INQUIRER at the sidelines of the IBP gathering.

Panelo was not among the speakers at the convention but was among those who attended the talk of Carpio on “Defending Philippine Rights in the West Philippine Sea” Thursday afternoon.

He did not comment after Carpio’s talk, which lasted for more than an hour.


“I already heard it before,” Panelo said.

He denied calling Carpio “unpatriotic” but added that Carpio “unwittingly…seems to be teaching the Chinese what to do.”

The word war between Panelo and Carpio started after the senior Supreme Court magistrate said that China could seize gas in the resource-rich Reed Bank (Recto Bank) in the West Philippine Sea if the Philippines would be unable to pay the $62-million borrowed under the Chico River Pump Irrigation Loan Agreement.

Panelo then called Carpio “unpatriotic” for supposedly laying “loopholes” in the country’s loan agreement with China.

READ: ‘Unpatriotic’ Carpio putting ‘loopholes’ in China deal – Palace

In a separate interview with the INQUIRER in Iloilo, Carpio said: “We are friends. We belong to the same fraternity. He agreed that these are patrimonial assets.”

He then downplayed Panelo’s calling him “unpatriotic.”

“I said: ‘Haha.’ I don’t comment on those things,” Carpio said. /kga

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TAGS: Antonio Carpio, China, Local news, Nation, national news, news, Philippine news updates, Politics, Salvador, South China sea, West Philippine Sea
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