Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said he is ready to face President Rodrigo Duterte in a debate on the West Philippine Sea issue (WPS), specifically over the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that many insist favored the Philippines over China.
“I gladly accept the challenge anytime at the President’s convenience,” Carpio said.
The President was also dared to be stick to his word that he will “resign immediately” if anyone can prove that he lied when he said that Carpio was involved in the move to pull out Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea, which resulted in Chinese Navy ships taking over Scarborough Shoal.
Duterte on Wednesday expressed his intent to launch an investigation into the Philippines’ withdrawal of its ships in the highly-contested West Philippine Sea amid the 2012 standoff with China.
In his taped public address, Duterte said he wants to personally ask Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario why they let the Philippines withdraw the Philippine vessels in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal in 2012.
“Albert withdrew the ships. Albert, why did you order the withdrawal of ships? Who gave you the permission? Now, if you can’t answer me, son of a b***, do not put the blame on me,” Duterte said partly in Filipino.
Duterte ensured that he would make time to probe Carpio and del Rosario.
“Our ships were no longer there when I became the president. Only China ships are there,” he said. “One day, you will be tasked to answer for that. Your order to withdraw ships should be investigated.”
Duterte said he wants to know if his predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino III, allowed del Rosario to withdraw the Philippine ships in Scarborough Shoal.
“Albert called maybe the ship, ordered it to withdraw. The mystery question here is: Was it approved by President Aquino? He’s the president at that time,” he said partly in Filipino.
On April 28, Duterte blamed the former officials of the Aquino administration, particularly Carpio and del Rosario, for losing the Scarborough Shoal. SOVEREIGNPH