Malacañang on Friday slammed former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for saying that President Rodrigo Duterte had a “verbal fishing agreement” with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“There is no truth to the speculation of a purported ‘verbal fishing agreement’ between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping, nor that Chinese vessels were encouraged to stay in West Philippine Sea despite the diplomatic protests and strongly worded statements of Philippine government officials,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
“This is without basis and is quite simply, conjecture,” he said.
Roque made the statement days after Manila filed two more diplomatic protests against the continued presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
Carpio was referring to a statement made by Duterte in 2106 that he had a “verbal agreement” with Xi to allow the Chinese to fish in Philippine waters.
“No such treaty or agreement exists between the Philippines and China,” Roque added.
For his part, Duterte said he will not allow any state to undertake “commercial” fishing in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but would permit “subsistence” fishing.
In a statement on Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it had lodged two more diplomatic protests before with Beijing over the alleged presence of Chinese vessels in the country’s EEZ. SOVEREIGNPH