Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says he is ready to face former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio in a debate on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue.
President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to face Carpio in a debate, but the chief executive ordered Roque to debate with the former magistrate.
Roque, a lawyer and former congressman, said he is looking forward to debating with Carpio on WPS issues.
“It would be a pleasure to debate against you. I’ll see you at the designated place and time,” Roque was quoted by media reports.
Earlier, Roque said a formal debate would serve as a proper forum to clarify issues surrounding the highly-contested waters.
“The debate [between Duterte and Carpio] has been ongoing as far as the Filipino is concerned. Pero (But) if he (Carpio) wants a formal debate, kahit kailan po iyan welcome naman po ni Presidente iyan (The President welcomes that),” Roque said earlier.
In a taped public address on Wednesday night, Duterte dared Carpio to debate on WPS issue, particularly on the withdrawal of Philippine ships from the Scarborough Shoal in 2012.
Duterte made the challenge, as he insisted that Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario were involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine vessels from Scarborough Shoal.
Duterte also sought an investigation against Carpio and Del Rosario due to their supposed role in China’s continued presence in WPS.
Responding to Duterte’s latest remarks, Carpio accepted Duterte’s challenge and urged the President to resign if his accusations against the former magistrate are proven false.
Carpio also called for Duterte’s resignation, as he stressed that he only had limited knowledge on the withdrawal of Philippine Navy ships from WPS during the 2012 Scarborough standoff with China. SOVEREIGNPH