Carpio accepts Duterte’s West PH Sea debate challenge
MANILA, Philippines — Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge for a debate on the West Philippine Sea issue particularly the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that favored the Philippines over China.
“I gladly accept the challenge anytime at the President’s convenience,” Carpio said.
At the same time, Carpio also dared the President to be true to his word that he will “resign immediately” if anyone can prove that he was lying when he said that the magistrate was involved in the decision to withdraw Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte, in his pre-recorded briefing Wednesday evening called Carpio “ugok” (stupid) for advocating a ruling from an international tribunal which he said is “just paper.”
He also accused Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario of having a hand in the decision to withdraw Navy ships from the West Philippine sea.
“President Duterte should now resign immediately to keep his word of honor. I state under oath that I was never involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea during the 2012 Scarborough standoff,” Carpio said, adding that at that time he was a Supreme Court Associate Justice.
“At that time and all I knew about the withdrawal of Philippine Navy ships was what I read in the newspapers. I call as my witnesses former President Benigno Aquino III and the Defense Secretary, Foreign Affairs Secretary and the Chiefs of the Philippine Navy and the Coast Guard at that time,” he added.
Carpio has been championing the country’s resolve to take sole control of the West Philippine Sea. He was among the contingent that took the case to the Permanent Arbitration Court.
In July 2016, the Permanent Arbitration Court has rejected China’s argument that it had sovereign and historic rights over the disputed sea region located within the so-called nine-dashed line.
It also upheld the Philippines’ exclusive rights over the Scarborough Shoal, also called Panatag Shoal and Bajo de Masinloc, a group of rock formations found well within the Philippines’ 330-kilometer exclusive economic zone.
Beijing’s nine-dashed line claims ownership to 85.7 percent of the sea region which hosts some $5 trillion in global trade passes per year.
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