Carpio on WPS debate with Duterte: ‘I’m sad he withdrew, but that’s his privilege’
MANILA, Philippines — Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said he was saddened by President Rodrigo Duterte’s withdrawal from a debate on the West Philippine Sea dispute between the Philippines and China, saying that it would’ve been the “best opportunity” to explain the issue with the public.
“Well, I was looking forward to a debate with him, because this is the best opportunity to explain the issue with the public,” said Carpio.
He added that the debate could’ve been a good platform to inform people of the said issue, as Filipinos would be glued to their televisions once the debate starts.
“I’m sad that he withdrew but that’s his privilege,” said Carpio.
Regarding Duterte’s name-calling, Carpio said he would rather debate with the President on the issues and the merits “because name-calling doesn’t mean anything.”
“They can call you anything, but nobody can discuss the merits unless you know the merits,” said Carpio.
Carpio likewise reiterated that Duterte should resign after he debunked the President’s claims that he was involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea.
“I can prove it, the entire cabinet of President Aquino, will testify that I never participated in any of the discussions, so I can prove it,” said Carpio.
“If he’s true to his word of honor, he should resign,” the former justice dared.
He explained that at the time, he never participated in any of the cabinet meetings regarding WPS because it wasn’t his job as a member of the judiciary.
“All I knew about the stand-off was what I read in the papers, I had no inside information what was happening, I did not know about the negotiations to withdraw. I was in the Supreme Court, I was just reading the events as published in the papers,” explained Carpio.
“So I really had nothing to do with it,” he stressed.
On Wednesday, May 6, Duterte challenged Carpio to a debate, particularly about the WPS and on the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Days later, however, Duterte backed out of the debate after Carpio accepted his challenge and assigned his spokesperson, Harry Roque to represent him instead.
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