Palace hits critics for pushing ‘aggressive, isolationist policy’ vs China
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday took a swipe at critics of the Duterte administration for supposedly pushing an “aggressive, isolationist” policy against China that would be “dangerous” for the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the remark as he defended President Rodrigo Duterte for calling Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio “stupid” after the magistrate slammed the Chief Executive’s handling of the sinking of a Filipino boat near Recto Bank.
READ: Duterte calls Carpio ‘stupid’ in row over Recto Bank incident
“Ang sinasabi ni Presidente, matagal ko na ding sinasabi, eh ang gusto kasi ng mga kritiko is to pursue an aggressive, isolationist policy na very dangerous sa panahon ngayon,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, pointed out that critics are forcing the President to take provocative actions, which, he said, may escalate the tension in the disputed territories.
“Ayaw niya ‘yung pinupwersa siya na gumawa ng hakbang na malalagay sa panganib, sabingit ng panganib ang mga Pilipino. Kasi pinipilit siya diba? Sabi niya, ‘they’re looking for trouble. Gusto talaga nilang isubo ako doon’. ‘Yun ang pinupunto ni Presidente kaya siya nagrereact,” the Palace official said.
Carpio, who has been championing the country’s thrust to take control of the West Philippine Sea, said allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is unconstitutional.
This statement of the Supreme Court magistrate came after Duterte said he would allow Chinese fishermen to fish in the country’s EEZ out of friendship.
Quoting the 1987 Constitution, Carpio said: “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its … exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”
Carpio also pointed out that in 2016, The Hague already ruled with finality that the Philippines has “jurisdiction” over its EEZ in the West Philippines Sea, including the Recto Bank.
China and the Philippines have been locked into a maritime dispute for years now over Beijing’s expansive claim in the West Philippines Sea.
A landmark arbitral ruling in 2016 invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim. But Duterte, who has been criticized for his soft stance towards the Asian powerhouse’s militarization in the disputed areas, has refused to invoke the Philippines’ landmark arbitral victory. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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