Carpio on 2022 elections: Elect leaders who will stand up to China
MANILA, Philippines—Filipino voters in 2022 must elect leaders who will “assert and preserve” the country’s rights in the West Philippine Sea, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Monday (June 8).
“We have to make this an election issue in 2022,” the retired justice said at an online forum.
The country’s next batch of leaders should assert the arbitral ruling that declared China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea as invalid and support the Filipino fishermen’s rights in Scarborough Shoal, he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticized for setting aside the landmark 2016 arbitral ruling against Beijing’s mythical nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.
China refused to recognize the ruling, continuing its aggression in the disputed waters and building artificial islands to house military facilities.
Duterte avoided directly confronting Beijing over the maritime dispute in exchange for investments and loans.
Carpio said the current administration simply “does not want to displease China.”
“Malaysia government and Vietnamese government are now willing to sign an agreement with the Philippine government that in the Spratlys, there are no geologic features that generate an EEZ, all territorial seas,” he said.
“That would be in consonance with the ruling if we sign that agreement. We will fortify the ruling by signing that. But our own government does not want to sign that because that will displease China,” Carpio said.
It was also important to have a government that fights for sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea because the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (Unclos) pays attention only to governments, Carpio said.
“Our fishermen can talk to our government and other people of the world. Only governments are heard before the Unclos,” he said.
“That is the limitation that we are facing,” Carpio said.
The Philippines, he said, has also yet to file for an extended continental shelf claim in a part of Luzon facing the South China Sea.
The government, however, does not want to provoke China, he said.
“We should vote for a government that will preserve our rights in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said.
Edited by TSB
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