Filipinos deserve a president who will defend West Philippine Sea — Carpio

Filipinos deserve a president who will defend West Philippine Sea � Carpio
This combination photo shows President Rodrigo Duterte and retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Presidential Photo / King Rodriguez | The STAR / Michael Varcas, File

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos should demand for a leader who will defend the West Philippine Sea, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Thursday.

Carpio was responding to President Rodrigo Duterte who asked him and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario why the Philippines "lost" the West Philippine Sea.

"Filipinos deserve, and should demand, a President who loves Filipinos first and foremost and who will uncompromisingly defend Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea," Carpio said in a statement.

The retired magistrate also stressed that he was the one who recommended to the Aquino administration to file a South China Sea arbitration case following the 2012 Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal standoff.

Pointing out that the Philippines won a landmark victory with the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated China's nine-dash line claim, Carpio noted that Duterte announced that he was "setting aside" the ruling in favor of seeking loans from Beijing.

"Today, less than 5 percent of those loans and investments have materialized even as President Duterte is already leaving office next year," Carpio said.

Carpio also stressed that Duterte allowed China to fish in the country's exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

"We even import galunggong now from China, the same galunggong that Chinese fishermen take in the West Philippine Sea," he added.

The retired justice also narrated how the Duterte administration remained silent when the Chinese seized Sandy Cay, a sand bar located two nautical miles from Pag-asa Island in Palawan.

'Why did we lose West Philippine Sea?'

In a recorded speech aired Wednesday night, Duterte blamed Carpio and Del Rosario for the current situation in the West Philippine Sea.

"Alam mo, isang tanong lang ako kay (Antonio) Carpio pati kay Albert (Del Rosario). Kung bright kayo, bakit nawala ang West Philippine Sea sa atin? Panahon ninyo ‘yon eh," Duterte said.

(You know, I only have one question for Antonio Carpio and Albert del Rosario. If you are bright, why did we lose the West Philippine Sea? It happened during your term.)

The president also mentioned the 2016 arbitral ruling, which he described as a "binding order."

China, however, continues to reject the ruling and insists on indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

"Ang ating — for China tapos na ‘yon na may desisyon na, ayaw nilang sumunod. Tayo naman, we have the decision but we are at a loss of how to get it — get back physically the West Philippine Sea. Iyan ang problema," the chief executive said.

(For China the decision is final, they do not want to follow. For us, we have the decision but we are at a loss of how to physically get back the West Philippine Sea. That's the problem.)

Duterte, once again, insisted that invoking the arbitral award constitutes going to war with China, an argument that has been debunked by Carpio, Del Rosario and several other experts on maritime law.

"Kaya I have a choice of going to war, mamamatay tayong lahat kasi wala talaga tayong armas na — or I will just send my soldiers to hell which I will never do," Duterte said.

(That's why I have a choice of going to war, we will all die because we do not have weapons.)

— Patricia Lourdes Viray

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 28, 2023 - 12:01pm

The United States Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear powered supercarrier USS John C. Stennis continues underway in the South China Sea.

The US Pacific Command just reported that it has received "cargo" from support ship USNS Rainier in the disputed waters.

September 28, 2023 - 12:01pm

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources conducts an aerial maritime inspection over Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc on Thursday, according to a report of PTV.

PTV says BFAR is checking if the southeast portion of Bajo de Mansinloc remains free from illegal and hazardous floating barriers.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Coast removed the chains surrounding the entrance of Bajo de Masinloc installed by the China Coast Guard. — PTV

September 25, 2023 - 3:02pm

The National Security Council condemns the installation of the floating barriers of the China Coast Guard in Bajo de Masinloc, PTV reports on Monday.

“It ruled categorically that such action by the PRC violated the traditional fishing rights of our fishermen in the shoal who have been fishing there for centuries," NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya says.

"Any State that prevents them from doing artisanal fishing there violates UNCLOS and international law, in general,” he adds.

September 22, 2023 - 2:33pm

PTV reports that BRP Antonio Luna of the Philippine Navy and HMCS Ottawa of the Royal Canadian Navy conducted a joint sail in the West Philippine Sea on Sept. 21.

“The joint sail is part of the Philippine Navy's regular engagements with its partners in the Philippines' maritime zones. Bravo Zulu to all the personnel of both ships and those who planned this activity," Ltc Enrico Gil Ileto, Public Affairs AFP chief says.


July 21, 2023 - 3:49pm

Ahead of the second State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcis Jr, the descendants of the Bai sa Condor and  Anta sa Tebouk, on behalf of the Iranun in the Philippines composed of 16 sultans, formally declares ownership of the  Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoals as patrimony from their ancestors. 

The declaration of ownership is led by Sultan Tomas Reyes Cabili, Jr. as part of the advocacy of the Tomas Ll. Cabili  Foundation (TLC Foundation).

"TLC Foundation is doing this for our country’s sake as a whole on our claim for what is ours. Not just for our Muslim brothers and the Moro Origins of Mindanao (IRANUN), BUT for all the Filipinos - and the next generations to come. All the Philippines’ descendants of the Iranunis unfurling the historical dimension of the Spratlys and the ScarboroughShoals to strengthen the Philippines' claim on them and complement the theoretical frameworks already presented in the United Nations," Cabili says.

July 5, 2023 - 10:47am

Raymond Powell, project lead at the Gordion Knot Center for National Security Innovation, tweets that China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels "maneuvered dangerously close" to two Philippine Coast Guard ships on a resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea last week.

In a tweet, Powell identifies the ships as BRP Malabrigo and BRP Malapascua. He says these were escorting a small-boat resupply mission to the Philippines' outpost aboard BRP Sierra Madre and were met by an armada of CCG and militia ships, as well as a possible navy vessel.

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