Panelo to Carpio: Can he read China gov’t’s mind?
MANILA, Philippines — “Can he read the mind of the Chinese government?”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo posed this question on Thursday after Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that China would try to reclaim Scarborough Shoal before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
“Was he saying that as a matter of observation or he is saying that as a matter because he has access to the Chinese government?” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“Can he read the mind of the Chinese government? We don’t know…?” he added.
Panelo then reiterated Duterte’s stand on the maritime dispute between the two countries and stressed that the President had vowed to protect Philippine sovereignty.
“Gaya ng sinasabi ni Presidente: ‘I will not allow during my incumbency any assault on our sovereignty’,” the Palace official said.
(Just like the President is saying: I will not allow during my incumbency any assault on our sovereignty.)
“’That arbitral ruling is final binding and not subject to appeal.’ ‘Yon ang sabi niya eh (That’s what he said),” he added.
Panelo was referring to the Philippines’ historic win against China before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands in 2016 which invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line that covers almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte raised the Philippines’ win during a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visited China in August.
Carpio had also claimed that after China finishes their reclamation and island-building, “they will say, ‘Let’s sign the Code of Conduct, nobody builds anything anymore,’ and it will legitimize what they have created, their artificial islands.”
But Panelo disputed the senior magistrate, stressing: “He’s very fond of engaging in speculations. What is important is [that] China is being pressured in a sense dahil (because) the President, when he went to Beijing said that he will raise that issue to the President of China.”
“That the code of conduct should now be crafted and the President of China…acceded,” Panelo added./ac
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