Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said he offered to brief President Rodrigo Duterte on the West Philippine Sea before the latter took office in June 2016.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, file | Sen. Bong Go/Released
Carpio willing to brief Duterte on West Philippine Sea
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - October 31, 2019 - 3:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is still willing to brief President Rodrigo Duterte on the West Philippine Sea issue.

In an interview with ANC's "Headstart" Thursday morning, Carpio said he offered to brief the president on the issue even before he took office in June 2016.

Asked if he is still willing to do so, Carpio said, "Anytime they want me to."

Carpio has expressed support for the call of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to bring the Philippines' arbitral victory over the West Philippine Sea before the United Nations General Assembly.

Both Carpio and Del Rosario were part of the Philippine delegation in the country's arbitration against China.

"The locus of world opinion is the UN General Assembly, and if you want to influence world opinion, you start there," Carpio told ANC.

The retired justice pointed out that world opinion matters to China because it needs export and import to survive.

While the Duterte administration is not keen on bringing forward the arbitral award before the UNGA, the next government might.

"It has to be done by the government but if this doesn't want it there's the next government that can possibly do it so we're not looking at this government only," Carpio said.

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration issued the landmark ruling in July 2016, barely a month after Duterte assumed office. The president now has three years left in his term.

In a separate interview with CNN Philippines' "The Source," Carpio cited his advocacy on the West Philippine Sea as one of his legacies while in the Supreme Court for the past 18 years.

"I've also went beyond my duty by defending the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea so I think that's part of the appreciation of our countrymen," Carpio told CNN Philippines.

Carpio stressed that the Philippines must assert the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea.

The former SC justice had previously enumerated ways of enforcing the arbitral award without going to war, contradicting the claims of Duterte.

For Carpio, the proposed joint oil and gas exploration between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea is a solution to the maritime dispute.

"If this pushes through... then we would have found the solution to a South China Sea-wide settlement of the maritime dispute and I think that's huge because the maritime dispute in the South China Sea is considered as the most intractable maritime dispute in the world today," he said.

According to Carpio, China implicitly recognized the Philippines sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea upon signing the memorandum of agreement on the joint exploration last year.

The proposed joint exploration is a win-win solution as China gets 40% while the Philippines gets 60% besides the preservation of the country's sovereign rights, Carpio said.

"We cannot really expect China to expressly admit in writing that they lost to us and they waived any claim to our sovereign areas but it amounts to the same thing. We have to give China face-saving exit because the Chinese government has been telling their people that they own the South China Sea," Carpio said.

ANTONIO CARPIO CHINA JOINT EXPLORATION PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES RODRIGO DUTERTE SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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